Matt Schroeder ~ Five Poems

Samo je Početak

Already there is a man
in my mouth waiting
to lay eggs in my throat
& tend to them until
they hatch
to pull any golden thread
that might echo the pipes
I’ve taught the wind to
love so much

already we are destined
for what awaits us as
time plucks the petals

your mother & mine
know this too well

as our fathers are injured
or disappearing in
hospital beds

only the ghost of a sheet
remains	        or a scar
that aches      too often

already my resentment
hardens in my lifelines
narrowing the pathways
that move hopes & dreams
throughout my body

while your anger
slowly lumps into
breast tissue that
bothers you monthly

samo je početak

the possibility lingers
that the golden hour
has moved 	past us

that the war your father fought
& the sickness of my own
pave the way before us
waiting in ambush

a tiger with the scent
of blood in the air
waiting with widened eyes


Maladies in Present-Continuous Tense

Of all things this is what
I’ve chosen to tell you about the world

		-Norman Dubie

in the cool dark
of morning entangled
in sheets I dream
the tongue my mother
gave me has switched
places with my other-mother’s
& there I was	     required
to write ten sentences in English
to prove my inner-understanding
of present-continuous tense

I am writing about my dreams again
because       the state of my nation is
shambling in the eaves of madmen who
are branching off of the same tree &
I am planting Datura in my garden
so as to always have one foot in
the grave I am not saying
I would	simply that
the people I know are dying
& how long before my name
is next on the list of unspeakable
vanishings         &         maladies
are wrapping me in dreams about
being lost in a cityscape	       unable
to find my way home when 
suddenly	        the night is leaking
all over everything	     while the stars
have begun construction with jackhammers
on the foundation of my sanity & if this is losing
then may I bow out with enough grace 
to summon one last glory glory hallelujah
for the temple is crumbling & there is
desert before us as far as the eyes can
will themselves without succumbing to despair

I have & will continue to despair
for the home that once was

I will beg on my knees
for these maladies
to unseat this worry
& instead break
the morning
with sweat


The Dog Has Learned to Talk

the way the sky
has learned the sun
& the clouds a language
of falling water

how wondrous
		       outrageous even
		that our vocal chords
		make the music of
		the people here
that we
with our Cerberus-tongues
might grow another

what else is to be
expected of our lazy kind

	    an over-thick waist
	    & minds in shadow

no	we lap at
whatever music	flows
			        from the mouths
			        around us
echoes in dance of the
upturned roofs of
this ancient cityscape

from whatever howls
for want of connection

we’ve learned to walk
in dance	to point
with our paws

we are of the streets
wild	      &	 glad
for even the slightest
sound of attention		         so let us bow
			   & wretch our vocal chords
		     for some bewildering mimicry
simple requests:

	what is the measure word 
	     for being taken aback?

What shape must we make
with our vocal chords to be
more than a talking dog?


Mother Hurt Like a Typhoon

wake to rain
in the endless
days of typhoon
	    another season
to wonder about the
birds who are finally
singing again

no men brandishing
jackhammers like
machine guns

this morning the pounding
in my skull comes from 
the wonder of suffering
our mothers’ have endured
in the stifling heat of also

tender four letter thing
so easily reduced to three
that must then move through
us like a river splitting its head
in the clouds	    coming down
in streams
		       I am cold
		       from behind
		       but you turn
		       to hold me
		       my sweet
		       big spoon
eyes closed
the black back
of my eyelids
plays fractal
orchestra &
wonder how
far through
us these rivers
run to get away
from their hurt   we-are-our-mothers
		          easy petals pulled as if
		          we might consider our
		          way out of the reality
		          that the hurt they’ve
		          known has carved us
		          river-bed smooth
		          hoping we can ebb
		          into the endless grace
		          of never having to know


As Good As Bread

you are
as good
as bread

I wake in the night
& my mouth waters
for you
	    I smell you
& the entire world

there is nothing
as simple as
how good
you are

& when you rise
my day is better

& when you don’t
calm is the sea
of my joy
you are
	 	       though we inhabit
	 	       a breadless land
	    we will someday
	    return to the hills
where bread is
had at every meal

where being
as good as bread
is understood by all

where your mother
never throws bread
	   even if
there is a new
loaf in hand

my love
you are
as good
as bread

the only one
I ever truly
hunger for


Matt Schroeder is a poet and educator currently existing in the great humidity that is southern China. His poetry can be found in Thin Air Magazine, The Rush, Dovecote Magazine, Poetry Lab Shanghai, The Decadent Review, Fearsome Critters Magazine, and in Art in the Time of COVID-19 from San Fedele Press. When he is not writing, he enjoys making friends with the other strays.