February 5 @ MOTR Pub at 6 pm
1345 Main, Cincinnati
MATT HART is the author of 10 books of poems, , most recently Familiar, an "obliteration" of Walt Whitman's Song of Myself, through a re-translation from the Spanish version by the poet and critic Leon Felipe. In 1993, he co-founded Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, & Light Industrial Safety, for which he served as editor-in-chief until 2019. He lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, co-edits the journal Sordad, and plays in the post-punk band NEVERNEW: www.nevernew.net. Learn more about Matt at www.matthartpoet.com
Matt Hart is a metal tsunami.
Matt Hart is a leaf-blower growling through his hair.
He depresses into ribbons, he reports the city’s dogs.
I, who am not him, and everybody else, hope
he finds what he’s looking for, the correspondence in a peach
or a greeting card with some love in it.
Perhaps he will concuss less.
He thinks he would like to do some good in the world.
Often he leaves a party after only a few minutes
and is completely unrecognizable.
Seldom does he know his own mother.
He thinks maybe he is snow and has been.
He might be half a chicken or the bladder of a crow.
He might a hummingbird’s extendable tongue.
Someone should put him under a microscope
and see how he’s orbited by several broken moons.
One of them punches Matt Hart in the nose.
He probably deserves it. Repeatedly. Possibly
tomorrow he will be in Alaska
or he will be in Cincinnati. And when the parade of him passes
small children will stretch their necks to see.
They will stretch so hard and want so much
that by the end they will come to resemble giraffes,
giraffes in the white-pink plumes
of pigged-roses that come to Matt Hart
where he wakes up in pain.
It is a downtown day.
Letters full of pollen,
the stingers of golden bees.
Matt Hart gets down on his knees.
He kisses his wife Melanie’s hand before work.
It is only the beginning
where he struggles to a cloud.
He drives to the store
and buys beans to make soup.
Everything about this is philosophy.
* * *
A VAST STUTTERING
of lawnmowers and barking.
That wasn’t how I meant to begin.
I meant to begin: city elms and broken ankles,
the matter and the mattering. I meant
to define teleology as an explanation
of things in terms of the purpose
they serve, rather than the cause
or causes by which they arise.
I meant a behemoth of typewriters
and cats, dignitaries, fry cooks.
Somehow the list of impressions
and sensations and colors
of lipsticks and paint cans and robot
butterflies never ends. The re-inventions
of barbecue, of clocks ticking coconuts, and our
spirits flying in and out of our mouths
to get between things. Like John Keats
and Gerard Manley Hopkins, who were alive,
though not at the same time, and yet
the very both of them were stirred
by birds, as I am stirred by noises
disintegrating pointlessness in favor
of meaninglessness, which is a meaning
nevertheless, and the most of our lives.
Today I say you get to be a smoke bomb
or a wolf-face-fragment-fuck-saint-
Ignatius, who was at some point
a bag of skin, a deck of cards, and
an unfortunate misspelling
just like all the rest of us. Complete self-
denial is bullshit we now know, and
allegiance to any authority other than our own
flickering ghostfire is something to be wary of.
Sometimes I think that all there is is
a rosebush of black holes
or a trident spearing a gold tooth
or someone feeling lonely
in love with a poem, and happier
not knowing much about it.
Word of Mouth was founded in 2014 by poets Mark Flanigan and Jim Palmarini, inspired by the late poet and co-conspirator Aralee Strange. Word of Mouth asks poets of all persuasion to show up, mouth off, and listen.