Two Poems


Stood Up

Unsure where a walk down Town
Beach would lead but letting it, after the release
in the car. Coming

across a dead gull, I lie by it,
beak right, prone mirror,
temple rest,

feel pull and constriction from
a still place, gesterior
resistance to pose,

resistance to the habit of moving.
I give to the structure
I’ve taken

the pulse and bind of the bird,
five stones
in a line between us

protect it from me,
redistributed debris, mind tuned
to the logic of living,

shells I have offered my friends,
projects of semen

—before two approach from the west.
They see
the gull and the spine. They may see

the holes of my knees
lifting / kneeling /
squatting. Now walking east.

A headache comes on like a small song.


Too Cold for Singing

Small angels in the hollybush,
dim-witted but quick
for berries, single-pointed and warm.
They are sharing a word, bright
as god’s knees. Force, force,
the blight it takes to crack
into a redflesh, juice splatter
at the neck and breast, thickthroated
with pulp. These days,
it is a green scrim
or a white scrim, both
rerunning with dark. Fatherangel
gathers in his hands for a feast:
the woken.

Philip Matthews