MATT HART RUNNING WITH DAISY, HIS DOG

                                             for Nate Pritts

 

Running with his dog, Matt Hart sucks in

big hunks of frosted air and then forces them back out

like barely visible tufts of pink cotton candy,

 

like apple blossoms twisting in the wind, like

shadowy clouds of flying red ants and

a million or so unfinished projects.

 

He runs as fast as he can (mainly because

he hates to run), then stops to walk and catch,

again, his breath. But Daisy keeps going, going,

 

gone, until jerking at the end of her adjustable lead,

she turns with a look of sympathetic exasperation

saying, C’mon c’mon c’mon, let’s run fast

 

again, grrr! look at that sparrow, that mailbox,

that squirrel, let’s stick our head in this pile of leaves,

this one right here, then fling ’em around, fall down

 

roll over run off with this stick . . . And so it goes.

It’s December and Matt Hart just had another birthday.

36, he thinks, and divides it by three, and doubles it,

 

and starts running again taking a deep breath;

he wonders, as he often does, about the finish line,

the one which is his own yard, his front door, but also

 

the one he’s seen in his mind, never for long and never

for real, but that one, which, when it occurs to him, stops him

in his tracksuit. Sometimes, he thinks Daisy sees it too.

 

Unlike him though, she runs for it as hard as she can,

There it is there it is there it is, let’s go!

But he can’t “let’s go,” can’t get over all

 

the things he doesn’t know: How will it feel

to vanish? Will Daisy get a bone?

Will anybody be waiting there to greet them?

POISON LIQUID LIQUID

Two phone calls come

I miss or I skip them

It’s not as if

the satellites really need me

It’s not as if the rooster

is anybody home      Loneliness

and reasons        I am full of

stomach bugs      Later

the defender, and the tulips

still sleeping       We’re springing

forward, the grass is grown

Can you believe how

impossibly this is living

and you’re a ghost,

or only closest to me,

reading something juicy,

something with its mouth

hanging open

in the doorway, saying

what ails me is what ales me

I have fallen down the stairs now

some number of times,

but nothing’s so surprising

as the spot beyond the lantern,

the place where the wigwam

waits to be history

It is mostly out of the picture

Or another day for me

to make a pitch in pitch darkness,

the night-light on strike,

saying, fuck it, go home

I want to be blown

all out of proportion,

every mythical monster

and a case of Hop Bomber

It’s the final dress rehearsal

and no one’s being serious

This used to make me nervous,

but now it makes me normal

A CLOUD OF DECISIONS TRANSLATES

We own the horizon, so draw it out

in one giant breath full with a rolling green

oxygen tank and some horses

underneath it     It is a landscape

we can walk into a nursing home

eventually     I feel the way

you and everybody must, after all

these long delays like ice cubes melting

The most meaningful things never wind up

in a window, but sometimes they do

in the belly of a buzzard or a girlfriend

I’m so tired of walking into this house

and knowing that it’s not my house

and won’t be my house for several more days

I need a place to wrest this motorcycle

from chance, which is art, so lay down

my pillow on the head of a pin,

crushing all the winged things

to powder for the baby pigs

I think this is what it means to amplify,

but it just as well might mean

I don’t know where I live and should

make amends with the sky

and all my friends who ever

rummaged through my backpack

looking for a hangover or some

fog to rub against themselves

I’ve got plenty of fog      You don’t

even really need to ask for it but

probably should as a matter of empathy

and forgiveness for all the times

I’ve stolen everything,

from your heart to your headstone,

then lost all of it trying not to

in the couch or the forecaster’s

high in the 50s and rain all day

I always take the weather

around me so personally,

when, mostly, nothing’s such a big deal

that we couldn’t just go to a diner

and slam some scrambled eggs,

then look up at the night sky

and wonder