Poems

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ARE THEY ONLY WORDS

(Black Rock Desert poem for Diane di Prima)

Clive gave this poem to Diane di Prima on her eightieth birthday in September 2014.

Are they only words? Skittering and jig-
         sawing in patterns like pretty
shells and pebbles in a child’s fingers?

“The sidewalk is
crumbling into diamonds.”
On the playa
nylon tents rustle in the breeze, pale dust
rises in alkali whirlwinds
and those words kick up a cyclone.

Take inventory. Take inventory.

I’m so alone. The playa’s so alone,
the half moon: so alone. Dust: so alone.

We fell through the crumbling sidewalk
into limitlessness.
Diamond chips glisten
in constellations, Taurus overruns tiny sparklets
of our innate wisdom the Seven Sisters.
Ten-dollar bills drip from the Bull’s horns.

Exact words tunnel through to what’s real,
spread micro-thin
over everything and hold
that skin of the world in place.

Take inventory. Take inventory.

Reach down and pull up what our bones
already know.
Persephone came for six months
and now her visits repeat year-round.

She rises through my body with seeds
and thumb-rubbed gems in her fingers,
dissolves into Sisyphus
who returns as Persephone
who dissolves again. Precious seeds morph
into the boulder
Sisyphus pushes again and again.

“The sidewalk is
crumbling into diamonds
and in the sky a mouth is opening
to take you finally in.”

Are those only words and you dance
coolly on, lips turned
up in porcelain wit?
Words in the wind to you and to us a portal
we fell through into sacred space.

Take inventory. Take inventory.

I’m so lost. The playa’s so lost,
the half moon: so lost. Dust: so lost.

The dry lake’s straw-colored silt
extends
to flat horizons 360 degrees around.
Sight’s unhindered through empty air.

Everything is sacred space.

Overhead in the sidewalk gapes
the mouth that took us in.
Our ultimate muse uses your voice
for a few perfect words.

YOU DON’T KNOW HOW MUCH YOU’RE LOVED

You don’t know how much you’re loved!
You don’t know
how every cell stokes this fire
and pours out slow heat, how my thoughts
round the corners of yours, how without thinking
these mouth muscles
shape your words with you.

You don’t know how much you’re loved.

That hummingbird poised at its hydrangea,
flitting curiously,
the cat at your feet,
how it follows your legs’ motion
and times its leap into your lap,

I look through their eyes.
See with their hearts.

I sneak spies on invisible paws
into feathery currents. My soul
infiltrates the air
along dirt tracks
and under rooftops and through doorway cracks.

Am I jealous of your pen
in hand?
Jealous of your salad pine nuts
and jalapeno chicken?

That cumin spice and nutty flavor
I’ve savored already with my raptor tongue.
I level the crunch with my teeth.

I stretch so much I sense
how your fingers grasp the fork
and how steel caresses your fingers.

You don’t know how much you’re loved.

Do hinges know how much
they’re loved by the door?
Does the wall know how much
it’s adored by rafters?
If sky didn’t have earth, it would be
atoms scattered through space!

I wake and warm to your recent words.
Match their temperature and step buoyant
to the window. My reply
goes out through the pane.

Cool zephyrs wend around trucks
and sooted buildings and greet you,
“Hello, how are you?” “Hello, I’m here.”

You don’t know how much I love you.

This parallel frosting, this goopy vibration
would be too much
if you did, these eyes
looking into your air pedestal
from all sides!
Far too much.

Turn down the volume?
Slow the telepathic flood?
No way.
Not possible to dam
the cistern that unleashes a frothy tsunami
that demolishes walls of the love house
and envelops everything
in sudden balmy oxygen.

Aromic haze fractals out my fingers
up from the one pregnant touch
of inside labia
and skin under foreskin.

You stand and stretch and I
sigh and sway, bounce
and smile at your feet with joy
while the underworld riots.

You don’t know but the breeze
knows
and exults with every twist and glint.
The air carries prints of my heart
as accurate as fresh snow.
This is its job.

Excerpts from Mainline to the Heart

Teardrop In My Eye

Fuck you, Huncke.
Leave me
hung up for junk, waiting

alone in a dark room candles
you lit burn down in.
They unwind curls of smoke
like incense I remember we offered
weeks ago.
It is Nostalgia.

I treat you mean
and I get what’s coming
down on Lonely Street.
I walk amid cold winds,
leaves
rustle
while I blow.
No one to hold my hand.

Tompkins Park ~
a violet night sky looms,
one icy star in it. Is it
Venus?
And on 3 sides
fountains I see thru squinty eyes
squirt white geysers like cocks:
streetlamps seen thru tears.

Wish you were here
& cruise empty benches
for the familiar body.
What’s the use.

Turn a corner, God
I’m relieved! Gone the terror.
No more hairy lump between thighs or
mornings he slunk away
thru dawn’s pale blue light as
as I reach long arms
for hugging.
& grasp a rumpled blanket.

I hoped for joy.
Why did he go?
This affair started with a smile that
opened caverns in his skull
When he gave me a blue china bowl.
For weeks after

we took off

together jiving our way along
for outer space as
only we can. Will we
space out once more.

Have I got heart for it,
Now I’m free I can
go to Chatham Square a vulture,

follow the fading rumors he left
behind with me. & these memories
I would live again.

My Love Returned

The Moon rises
ass heavy: on the wane.
Wish it was full.

I dream &
a huge bat wing arcs over skeleton buildings
and dips to touch ruby pinprick traffic lights
on the street’s horizon in mute salute,

when I take in another block
the black wing blacks out the lights
and I know it is the Vampire,
my love returned
in the city calling me to bed
with faint irresistible siren
over the cool line of telepathic desire
or echoing “could be” to my need

broadcast live out dewy eyes, glib tongue
and come-on slouch for months.

How does she know? How the seasons change
and my veins hold new blood for her to suck now,
new blood I can bleed

over the white & untried bed
and my teeth are white and sharp to eat with.
Now I brim over with come to shoot in her,
I flap my jaw
and smile goofy at strangers
in the fullness of it.
Glad I’ll kill myself
& build a life with her. Glad
I’ll gaze into the wide blue eyes
I cannot fathom.

Not Christine not Huncke
not Martha could take her place.
I loved each and let each loose
the beautiful face no matter or
how strong my yearning ache,
Cut off
at dangerously hot by a circuit breaker
or fanned to blistering flame so
she turned cold shoulders in disgust,

Useless to give my all when it’s already given
to end lying anguished mornings on the same wrinkled sheet,
some yellow belly demon inside calculating
to save me for the One
or can I love at all?

Hear dark silence for the answer
& I’ve torn up the map, all highways
lead to the same dead end where
I see no exit
away from the Horror,
why not embrace it.

Love is possession
and we possess each other on a bone level
I don’t understand but we keep
a dim promise of happiness alive
or magic descends from the ceiling
& days light up now and then like sparkling incense,

I do what I want with her
as nuptial joy lifts toward bliss
that can not come true
and will carry me
thru boredom, fighting, anguish
the same scene repeated endlessly
1966, 1969, 1975 as
over the years
Time binds us tighter together
in orbit around our asteroid or lovely room
where we are each other’s parasite
and no friend in sight,
where we’ll die
within the same few seasons fatally wounded
our better half destroyed

or God insert the drug, body, faith
can bridge to the old dream she devours
& I love a spirit of the Dead.

Excerpts from Squish Boots

Molecule Daisy

Mostly empty space, this molecule,
and I am standing on it.

A skeleton on the median,
fleshless and clean. Its support:
one molecule at pelvis, one at heel,
one at skull. A spray of grass
pokes through the ribcage.

I am doing one good thing,
balance check: going shopping.
A dollar in my pocket.

On a thin sidewalk of yellow leaves
people walk by, not looking.
Maybe if I smile at this one.
Maybe if I look away.

Any twig, flower or bit of dust
could fall out of the sky and
scrunch! I’m one bug squashed
through earth. Sieved by a sieve.

Roam the body: legs move,
insides work, back flat,
balance check. Float on a
miniscus of good feeling.

A gutter-grate rattles: bony
fingers twist at the bars.
A skeleton tries to climb up
from below, with a brown
string and three tomatoes.

Here comes a thought! Kick it
before it pulls me down.
Torn duct tape, holding flat
a printed yellow sign ~ away.
The bank and office building tilt.
Is this a backflip into the street?
Turn head to an angle. There.
Level stays level.

The world’s skin is one molecule
thick and I’ve got it
between my toes. Don’t trip.
Molecule meets molecule.

An upside-down world underneath the street,
balance check. Cherry pits, a working
elbow, burp, old carrot smell. Garbage
eats itself because it feels bad.

Dismembered daisies clutter sidewalks.
He loves me, she loves me not,
she loves me, he loves me not.
The world’s skin is a thin
scatter of yellow petals.

Air goes in the lungs gently.
Don’t breathe it out your back.

Keep below the asphalt! You cemetary
crawling with spiders and bones,
one molecule away. Balance check.

Mosquitos come from the river
with probosci extended. Molecules slurp.
Maybe if I smile at the next
face. Maybe if I say “Hello.”

One toe on the sidewalk, balance
check. One toe on a molecule.
A dollar in my pocket,
going to the market.

Walking on a daisy petal bridge
above a boneyard. Don’t fall in.

Shadow Traffic

Animals and trucks
move around in my body.

You don’t know what they are.
I don’t know what they are.

A gorilla with peaked head,
ship’s anchor with barnacled chains,
yards of cowshit on a flatbed,
a snake ball, getting fuzzy.

Fuzzier. If they were clear
I could shoot bull’s eyes,
or direct traffic over-under
at the cloverleafs.

Shadows rumble through bottom
groin and center chest. They move
through each other without pain.

Each one carries a load.

I don’t know what they are.
You don’t know what they are.

Clear and I could ride
a hayload into the meadow.
Clang out a cherry-red shovel
on the portable anvil.
No one could match the speed.

“We are finding that emotions
at some level enter into most
of what happens during the day.”

I’m walking in a wool and pigment
forest or maybe the city dump,
or a mall getting landscaped.

I don’t know. You don’t know.

Knee deep then neck high
in gray water, from the roof?
Peptides flowing over the top
of the expanding liver?

You don’t know. I don’t know.

I am a clear glass pane
with thoughts and actions
written so clearly
they are not written at all.

Can you see your next act?
You think your next thought
without looking. Without looking
I do my next act.

Animals and trucks
move around in my body.

Featured poem 2

BE A SOLDIER

Be a soldier! Be strong 
as you are this second.
                                     Scope the next place 
your foot lands and push with toes, 
balance in-motion weight to 
                                              even poise. 
Keep focus eye-level and peripheral.  

Always you've been a soldier.

The sky clears of doubt and clouds  
drop away. Scan the arena: war 
                                       the totality. 

Visible because you're about to die.
Visible because my hip's curve 
ramps into energy-crammed worlds. 
Visible because the jigsaw uncamouflaged.

Be a soldier. 
                     At these words you untangle. 
That battle's lost, that one partially won, 
these two pending, another 
                                            entering the field.

You cannot know what will land 
in your soul's garden and crush
any tangerine rose, scatter any lily petals 
strewn white along muddy walkways.

You are alone
                        and no one will help you,
the outcome's in other hands. 
Our battles are always with us. 
You have arms to grapple with. 
You must do dangerous things. 

Avoid steel blades on long handles wielded 
by parades of scythe people,  
                                               abandon strategies 
blurred with glamor, dig out psychic shrapnel. 

Do the next thing.
Speak your truth. 
Buddha up for the non-response.
Armor up for reprisals.
Take care of yourself.

The universe plays your spine like a 
viola and the strings' tension varies
with what's outside. 
                                 Everything subsumes 

into this moment's chord and after the bow 
reaches the end of its stroke 
the echo of the present fills the silence.

Something will happen 
and everything will change.

Seven virgins in the next world 
whisper "I want you" 
                                  and in this world my thighs 
surround and morph into the soft stickiness 
that brings honey to your whistle.

                                           You think this will happen
even though you don't think 
this will happen. 

                            Be a soldier. 
An empty horizon meets the eye. The field's clear

and you slip half-speed into a vibrating stream
that flows slowly through a green landscape 
where vines hang on a trellis and orange flowers 
trail upside-down like trumpets.

A window obloid shows walkways, 
buildings, trees in
                              eerie reds
and something moves across a parking lot.

Your crosshair eyes track figures, a squadron 
in gray-green
                       takes cover and approaches.
One crouches while another sprints.
They change roles and the others close.
Approach and take cover.
                                  
Hey!
On alert!
Weapons!
 

Featured poem 3

YOU NEVER THOUGHT

A poem for Alden Van Buskirk (1938-1961):

You never thought the ropes 
lacing your body would loosen. 
Never thought tension 
           would go slack, never thought 
truck engines rapping at your back 
like gunshots would quiet 
                      and they didn't.
            Steering-wheel leather chewed 
Pollack by my fingernails, by twisting 
through decades of curves.

                Come to freeway’s end 
at tar wriggles across cement.
Punch brakes and pitch abrupt chest forward 
toward a trail like a bedsheet of stones
knobby gray in forest light.

Dreamt this in endless pre-dawn hours.
Blurry movie images flickered on 
                    matte childhood walls,  
boy with fists clenched and lips 
locked on a scream. 
               Tired relief when the sun
slants over chaparral onto off-white sheetrock. 

This is the story I’m born to express.
This is the story I’m born to contest.

I know my torso's reducing 
to its skeleton antennae.
In my chest confidence 
                   siphoned from 
my father, from my mother words and sadness. 

You never thought you'd mine your own poems. 
Never thought chalcedony light 
through cedar and madrone 
                   was for you.

This ongoing exploration.
One breath at a time.
Life is a dis-ease.
You have to cry.
Push with the big toe.
Mango warmth.
Grow into the "Yes.”

You never thought you’d mine 
the diamond core. 
               Unlikely without ancient poets, 
Shakespeare, the Beats, Mayan spirit guide
whispering in my ear, Lami 
cruising supermarkets of the Apocalypse, 
a nightclub ball spinning 
                   sorrow and passion.

This is the story I’m born to express.
This is the story I’m born to contest.

You never thought you’d be pushing 
Sisyphus’s boulder. Pushing, pushing 
                     until goals wear down 
past extinction and push becomes a fact of life.

Everywhere the universe sparkles with 
intricate jewels and flawed diamonds.

A burger wrapper, flattened,
kicks along the gutter.

All those years in training wheels.
Early strides grow into a type, recognize
the rugged template in the mirror
                       but not these features
lined with sierra exhaustion.

Why brush my hair? Why wash my face?
Why rise to another day?

You never thought you’d touch the cauldron 
at earth’s center. While some force 
moves the plastic bedrock.

Sunlight slants down 
and a hollow diamond reaches up.
 

Squish Boots

Squish Boots

Squish-bootsOpen this book and fall into a tumultuous world where each act sings, shouts and cries the full chorus of the unconscious. Matson uses kaleidoscopic images that infiltrate our work-a-day defenses and invite our deepest feelings and truths to surface – like taking a roller caster ride with an old sage/young boy, hair streaming white, knuckles clenched, eyes closed, laughing. And when you open those eyes – there – what do you see?

Conceived, designed, and produced by Gail Ford.

 

 

 

 

Information

published by: Broken Shadow Publications
ISBN: 0-9636156-2-9
LCCN:2001087637
format: perfect bound, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 69
cover price: $15.00
cover graphic: William Blake
cover design: Catherine Dinnean

Contact the author to buy it.

 

Praise for Squish Boots

“Delightful and penetrating at the same time, these poems are a revelation.” ~ Susan Griffin, Author, Bending Home, Poems, Selected and New.

“…a study in consciousness, that amazing border or membrane between the mysterious world of the body and the world outside…”~ Marc Hofstatder, author, House of Peace

“…code words tear away the mask imposed by our society that wants to sterilize all tigerish souls into tepid, civilized behaviour and attitude.” ~ Will Inman, author, End of the Ceaseless Road

“There’s a wealth of feeling behind all this jazzy, sophisticated madness. I laughed and was very moved at the same time. It doesn’t happen very often. ” ~ Ruth Daigon, editor Poets on; author.

“This is a more complex and more sophisticated poetry …It makes one grow as a reader and as a poet…This poetry is best read aloud, to fully hear the lilt and boom of the work.” ~ M.C. Bruce, SWDuckling@AOL.com

 

Excerpts

Molecule Daisy

Mostly empty space, this molecule,
and I am standing on it.

A skeleton on the median,
fleshless and clean. Its support:
one molecule at pelvis, one at heel,
one at skull. A spray of grass
pokes through the ribcage.

I am doing one good thing,
balance check: going shopping.
A dollar in my pocket.

On a thin sidewalk of yellow leaves
people walk by, not looking.
Maybe if I smile at this one.
Maybe if I look away.

Any twig, flower or bit of dust
could fall out of the sky and
scrunch! I’m one bug squashed
through earth. Sieved by a sieve.

Roam the body: legs move,
insides work, back flat,
balance check. Float on a
miniscus of good feeling.

A gutter-grate rattles: bony
fingers twist at the bars.
A skeleton tries to climb up
from below, with a brown
string and three tomatoes.

Here comes a thought! Kick it
before it pulls me down.
Torn duct tape, holding flat
a printed yellow sign ~ away.
The bank and office building tilt.
Is this a backflip into the street?
Turn head to an angle. There.
Level stays level.

The world’s skin is one molecule
thick and I’ve got it
between my toes. Don’t trip.
Molecule meets molecule.

An upside-down world underneath the street,
balance check. Cherry pits, a working
elbow, burp, old carrot smell. Garbage
eats itself because it feels bad.

Dismembered daisies clutter sidewalks.
He loves me, she loves me not,
she loves me, he loves me not.
The world’s skin is a thin
scatter of yellow petals.

Air goes in the lungs gently.
Don’t breathe it out your back.

Keep below the asphalt! You cemetary
crawling with spiders and bones,
one molecule away. Balance check.

Mosquitos come from the river
with probosci extended. Molecules slurp.
Maybe if I smile at the next
face. Maybe if I say “Hello.”

One toe on the sidewalk, balance
check. One toe on a molecule.
A dollar in my pocket,
going to the market.

Walking on a daisy petal bridge
above a boneyard. Don’t fall in.

 

Shadow Traffic

Animals and trucks
move around in my body.

You don’t know what they are.
I don’t know what they are.

A gorilla with peaked head,
ship’s anchor with barnacled chains,
yards of cowshit on a flatbed,
a snake ball, getting fuzzy.

Fuzzier. If they were clear
I could shoot bull’s eyes,
or direct traffic over-under
at the cloverleafs.

Shadows rumble through bottom
groin and center chest. They move
through each other without pain.

Each one carries a load.

I don’t know what they are.
You don’t know what they are.

Clear and I could ride
a hayload into the meadow.
Clang out a cherry-red shovel
on the portable anvil.
No one could match the speed.

“We are finding that emotions
at some level enter into most
of what happens during the day.”

I’m walking in a wool and pigment
forest or maybe the city dump,
or a mall getting landscaped.

I don’t know. You don’t know.

Knee deep then neck high
in gray water, from the roof?
Peptides flowing over the top
of the expanding liver?

You don’t know. I don’t know.

I am a clear glass pane
with thoughts and actions
written so clearly
they are not written at all.

Can you see your next act?
You think your next thought
without looking. Without looking
I do my next act.

Animals and trucks
move around in my body.

On the Inside

On the Inside

On The Inside is a single poem in nine parts.

On-the-InsideInformation

published by: Cherry Valley Editions
ISBN: 0-916156-65-6
format: perfect bound, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 67
cover price: $10.00
graphics by: David Kelso
photograph by: Naomi Schiff

 

Purchase from Amazon

Praise for On The Inside

What I admire as I have in the past is [Matson’s] scope and fullness of significance…an important work. ~ Josephine Miles

[Matson] has produced a romantic poem, but one which a millimeter beneath the surface has a hard and burning core. With electric and jewel-like phrases he creates an everyday nonchalance that is startling and effective. ~ Sam Steward

Excerpt from On The Inside

The whole game is contained in one move.
And in the next. And in each move after.

Not desperate
we can search for outlines of decency
in ourselves and others, discover a decent human

who can do the fitting thing
as a being alive with other beings,
look to fill half-dreamt postures
with clear, rounded flesh, kind eyes
and spread, firm stance on the ground.

I’ve seen my legs lengthen underneath,
a range of feeling expand inside
and I know there’s nothing more beautiful
than a human with faculties alive,

I love the intelligent spark that flies
between eyes of siblings who feel the same
and I despise the scaly hands that prey
on us and make us dangerous.

The beast is inside us. Inside me.

Peel skin off muscle and bone,
turn flesh layers back
and I discover he’s half-grown inside
shooting nerves toward my soul.

Oh throw the beast out. Out.

Sort words apart,
this parasite’s from our own,
out the voice that speaks
in super-resonant tones.

Our head is our property and our proper task
is to know what’s in it, to own what’s ours
and to ask identity of foreign thoughts,
to assess which to defy and which to accept.

It’s our DNA that contains information for life,
our bodies and minds the strength
to stand open-eyed, with nostrils cleared
the strength to follow our noses
and smelling a rat’s nest
to sniff out the biggest stink.

And the rankest stench
comes from my own back,
from festering scabs and sores
on backs of those nearby!
How often have I felt limbs claw,
elbows shove others down and aside
as people scramble for positions on high,
who will soon all be equal in ashes?

Dean sharpens claws, his hawk’s eye
gleams for human prey as he calculates
when to dive into a stoop,
Nadine uses proper words to keep her elite pass valid,
Alvin turns on warmth if you’ve something to give.

The Iceman dies and lives by the score of the game,
X. clamberee to get rich,
Y. screwed her partner for gain,
Z. had in mind a honey voice,
Son listened to a dog.

With hopes on a distant haven
the crouched fighter perfects a modern stance
–and whose soldier is this, whose human?

Head a steel-sprung computer spinning through tapes
and flashing targets on inner gunsights,
legs angled in status of a tripod
and torso fuel source for lasers
that fire through whirlpool eyes.

Throw out over-competition. Out.

Not our definition of life, that it’s dog eat dog,
“Screw them before they screw you,”
not our definition of humans,
that it’s our nature to spew energy
in the clash of figurative swords:
the beast’s.

The beast defines us
away from our bodies, bends our minds
into loops and lamellar forms
that deny the whole body exists.

How can we be his dupes,
how be indecent if our bodies are the known,
shared common denominator of life on earth!

How glory in another’s death
if we’re able fully to imagine our own!

No whiff of niter or gangrene
reached B-52 cabins over Vietnam,
no formaldehyde corrodes noses of stockbrokers
dealing junkfood and healthcare in one portfolio,
nuclear companies’ dividend checks
probably don’t contain much plutonium.
Muggers’ necks don’t bleed at knife point,
rapers’ lips don’t part with screams,
when Oreo had Jerry wrapped around her finger
all she felt was the string.

This woman with petroleum-derived make-up,
artificial hair and no sweat,
would she be object to a male fantasy,
and what’s her choice?

This man with legs and shoulders
shaped to a triangle and no felt hormones,
is he a 20th century machine,
his head wired with whose voice?

Whose man is this? Whose woman?

Are we deluded
in a wish to escape our bodies
and push ourselves into alien shapes,
pick up the beast’s easy formulas
strewn glittering on foot-trodden streets?

Throw him out. Out.

Useless his flat images of jigsaw people,
painful to my body his narrow molds.

Who can fully conceal the feelings
contained within inches of our skin,
who could camouflage the child
runnin scare behin hostil eyes?

We do not hide. We come out human, whole,

not so different in what’s different
between our legs as the same,
with organs, head, four limbs, torso
and living sternum all shared.

Shared too the wish for a pleasant life,
shared the desire
that faces we meet have eyes not splintered
by the beast’s tooth, shared the wish
that we meet and create a net of actual friendship
I hold and am held in and give
back easily my own warm strength.

All shared!
Shared too our weaknesses,
shared the cacophony of voices
within our heads, shared my fear
that a phrase may disarm me
and the beast’s claw pushing at my chest
will twist me into a dumb actor
in the beast’s robot paradise.

Throw him out. Out.

Mainline to the Heart

Mainline to the Heart and other poems (2009)

mainline-newMainline to the Heart was originally published by Diane di Prima’s Poets Press in 1966, with an introduction by John Wieners. The book was confiscated by British Customs in 1968, and released a few months later. The poems had been judged “borderline pornographic”.

Mainline to the Heart and other poems was reissued by Regent Press, Oakland, on March 11, 2009. This new edition of Clive Matson’s early poems includes all of Diane di Prima’s “Poets Press” version — 1,000 copies were sold out in 1966-67 — and adds significant uncollected pieces from the same period.

At once obstreperous and innocent, these poems celebrate a place where emotion, sex, and religion come together with overwhelming intensity. In the fifties and sixties Beat Generation writers were revisiting this edgy, full-blooded romantic tradition and Matson joined the exploration with youthful energy. But the quest was fraught with tension.

To Matson’s heart and mind, the Beatific vision morphs into something as sinister as it is beautiful, sex is utterly consuming yet fosters hostility, emotion is an exhilarating current as dangerous as a tsunami, drugs are glorious and bring one to the brink of death. Writing these poems were a crucial part of a young person’s growth, as demonstrated by the open, accessible style. The poet’s overriding concern is understanding the self and the world. Be-bop and cool riffs, common in the Beats, are truncated or undercut in Matson’s work, to arrive quickly and precisely at the point.

Mainline to the Heart and Other Poems expresses a confluence of personal and historical forces. Clive Matson was coming of age at the same time the culture was at the height of its 1960s explosion. While the poems cast a sobering light on Beat exuberance, Matson’s vibrant imagery makes the personal, visionary, and sexual excitement impossible to deny. Steve Weltner writes, “These poems speak about desire with an exactitude too excruciating to be pornographic. The power of their eroticism has not diminished.”

Regent Press, 6020-A Adeline St., Oakland, CA 94705
Tel. 510.547.7602; Fax 510.547.6357; regentpress@mindspring.com.
Distributed by Ingram, Baker & Taylor

 

ISBN: 978-1587901393
format: perfect bound, 8.5 x 5.5 inches
numbered pages: 90
cover price: $22.00

 

Buy Mainline to the Heart on Amazon

Praise For Mainline to the Heart and Other Poems

When Clive Matson’s Mainline to the Heart fell into my hands back in 1966, I inhaled it feverishly. I imagined I knew – in the now quaintly antique parlance of the day – where the poet was coming from. In essence a helpless and passionate romantic, Matson and his poetry zeroed in dead center on what pop-vernacular sang and was calling “The Big Hurt.” In every direction you looked, the world was in flames. Bursting and raging with a jaundiced innocence, Matson’s poems narrate one intimately harrowing season in hell. So lyrically well-preserved is this hell that, decades later, the touch and scent of its tenderness still hangs in this reader’s nostrils. These pages get it right. With a mentor like Herbert Huncke, junkie raconteur and Beat icon, to inspire him, how could Matson not sing to pitch-memory the funkiest of blues: the death-wish blues? The anger, excitement and longing for love you read about and hear and feel in these pages tell the true story of how we live now and the way some sensitive, aware Americans have lived for a long time. In a voice as strong as any official’s, Clive Matson’s poetry reminds us that love and love and love alone is enough to make us give shots in the dark to ourselves. The fever is still upon us.
~ Al Young, Poet Laureate of California

Our bias towards age (or “maturity”) makes it difficult to account for the bursts of intense illumination sometimes present in twenty-somethings. The riveting poems in Mainline to the Heart were produced well before Clive Matson turned thirty. The late John Wieners described them brilliantly when he wrote, “It is heroin and the blood he draws. It is not peace.” This book is not likely to persuade anyone to become an addict: it is hardly a pretty picture. But Mainline to the Heart is an enormously powerful evocation of a state of mind most people barely know exists. It is no accident that William Burroughs, another heroin addict, produced science fiction. To inject heroin is to inject a kind of science fiction of consciousness. Matson’s immensely disturbed hero tries to go about a “normal” life while fully aware that “We are all insane.” Robert Duncan called this book “butch.” It’s that, but it’s also what Baudelaire called “la conscience dans le Mal,” not consciousness of evil but consciousness in evil. “From the Abyss comes / a message that spells out our shape on Earth.” “I / open to the darkness my home.” “I see no exit / away from the Horror, / why not embrace it.”
~ Jack Foley

I discovered Mainline to the Heart in the stacks of a university library whose buyer for contemporary writing knew where to find nearly all the poetry being published in the States at that time, no matter how obscure the publisher or the writer, and arranged to have it placed on the shelves fast. I read lots poetry there for the first time. Some like Spicer or Olson or O’Hara would become well known, even famous later. Many others would disappear, and I too quickly forgot them myself. But Mainline to the Heart was stronger stuff. It wouldn’t let me forget it.

Almost forty years have passed since I read it last. I do not know how much my reading of it now has been affected by the feelings and thoughts it provoked in me then when I had read little like it and nothing so sexually exacting. Unlike so much writing by Ginsberg, for example, to which it might be superficially compared, it doesn’t pontificate or take on self-important poses. One never senses, as I do now re-reading a lot of the work of the `fifties and `sixties associated, say, with the Beats, that one is witnessing a performance.

“Naked,” like “raw” and other such words, is too easily used. “From the Abyss comes a message that spells out our shape on Earth,” Matson writes in “The Jungle,” and, in “My Love Returned,” “I see no exit away from the Horror.” “Abyss” and “horror” are words that risk their own sort of sentimentality, of course. They can appear to make important what is merely unpleasant. But in Matson’s poems, so many of which are truly exposed, bare of any protection (including that, still, of good taste), the horror is real. Joy is real too, in this work, but horror is more commonplace, in part because these poems speak about desire with an exactitude too excruciating to be pornographic. The power of their eroticism has not diminished, unaffected by time or the vagaries of style. “Love is possession,” Clive Matson writes, “and we possess each other on a bone level.” In these poems, those bones still live.
~ Peter Weltner, author The Risk of His Music

Mainline to the Heart traffics in sex, drugs, and sacrilege. Yet, for all of their decadence and obstreperousness, these are poems of innocence as well as experience. One senses the poet groping, without self-consciousness or shame, for an elusive vocabulary of salvation. When that vocabulary occasionally breaks through, the joy is palpable.
~ Hilary Holladay

In these poems of lust, compulsion, and “greedy warlock magic,” Clive Matson frankly celebrates the rough grace of youth. Somewhere between art that wants to be popular and art that’s proud of giving shocks is art that’s truthful. This volume proves that this poet was grappling with that golden mean at a tender age.
~ D. Patrick Miller, author of Instructions of the Spirit

When I first read Mainline to the Heart, it was a door. I went inside and swapped my MP3 player for an armload of jazz records. I didn’t miss my email account at all, and instead waited patiently for a single letter on paper. Spilling over with love or blithering with “fuck yous,” whatever. As long as it was handwritten, with the pen’s hard indentation on the other side of onion paper just as passionate as the words composed on the front. When the door slammed shut behind me, I didn’t care to go back.
The second time I read Matson’s manuscript, it was a trip on peyote. Telling me only the very essential, and then giving it flight, with wings the color of Indian batik under neon lights, loud and cacophonic as the treasured broken typewriter, and balmy as the aromatic mixture of di Prima’s ever-present stew, cigarette smoke and sweaty women wearing patchouli as anticipation.

The third time was the most miraculous of them all. At his strongest, Matson gets God alone in a room and starts asking questions. If only he hadn’t been hung-over at the time, he might have remembered God’s answers. At his most vulnerable, Matson begs only for love. He’s just like the rest of us.
Yes, the third time I read Mainline to the Heart was the most miraculous. It became a mirror.
– Elz Cuya, founder The Poetry Mission

The language of the poems is of the sixties, reflecting Allen Ginsberg’s transformation of poetic consciousness. The feelings are tough and drug-enhanced, steeped in existential despair. For the sake of art, the poet got himself hooked on junk. It was in the air.

His vision of woman is almost Baudelairean in the demands he places on her, in the evil he attributes to her. A claustrophobic projection of anger, desire and need permeate the poems. But the complex rhythms chronicling the swings in emotion resonate beyond the words to reveal the natural cadences of a poet.
John Wieners’ introduction intuitively grasps the essence of the poems. Is this love? If it is, it’s not peaceful.

For all his youthful nihilism, the Clive Matson I remember from those years had a gentleness of spirit that always kept me his friend.
~ Eila Kokkinen

This is a book of wild songs, of naked paeans to the American street and its tormented hungers: the wailing, chaotic lyricism of youth sung in the key of compulsive sexual frenzy – an orgasmic, rapturous celebration of lust, drugs and life. Clive Matson is an authentic maker: he has told the truth and shamed the devil! Raw, painful, explosive – this is a poetic document well worth having back in print.
~ Steve Kowit

“I’ve a disease called life / and it’s aching, what to / do with it,” Clive Matson appeals in Mainline to the Heart. These poems measure a young man’s relentless will for love, in spite of, and perhaps because of, all its terror and tenderness-love, the ultimate drug: “Can’t it keep me / high every night? / Every day? / Off and on.” The 20-something Matson wrestles with some tough questions in these poems – “words / someone will take as a drug and discover / a friend inside” – and to witness the Clive Matson of today is to witness answers hard-won and heart-won: “From the abyss comes / a message that spells out our shape on Earth.”
~ Marj Hahne

Excerpts from mainline to the heart

Teardrop In My Eye

Fuck you, Huncke.
Leave me
hung up for junk, waiting

alone in a dark room candles
you lit burn down in.
They unwind curls of smoke
like incense I remember we offered
weeks ago.
It is Nostalgia.

I treat you mean
and I get what’s coming
down on Lonely Street.
I walk amid cold winds,
leaves
rustle
while I blow.
No one to hold my hand.

Tompkins Park ~
a violet night sky looms,
one icy star in it. Is it
Venus?
And on 3 sides
fountains I see thru squinty eyes
squirt white geysers like cocks:
streetlamps seen thru tears.

Wish you were here
& cruise empty benches
for the familiar body.
What’s the use.

Turn a corner, God
I’m relieved! Gone the terror.
No more hairy lump between thighs or
mornings he slunk away
thru dawn’s pale blue light as
as I reach long arms
for hugging.
& grasp a rumpled blanket.

I hoped for joy.
Why did he go?
This affair started with a smile that
opened caverns in his skull
When he gave me a blue china bowl.
For weeks after

we took off

together jiving our way along
for outer space as
only we can. Will we
space out once more.

Have I got heart for it,
Now I’m free I can
go to Chatham Square a vulture,

follow the fading rumors he left
behind with me. & these memories
I would live again.

 

My Love Returned

The Moon rises
ass heavy: on the wane.
Wish it was full.

I dream &
a huge bat wing arcs over skeleton buildings
and dips to touch ruby pinprick traffic lights
on the street’s horizon in mute salute,

when I take in another block
the black wing blacks out the lights
and I know it is the Vampire,
my love returned
in the city calling me to bed
with faint irresistible siren
over the cool line of telepathic desire
or echoing “could be” to my need

broadcast live out dewy eyes, glib tongue
and come-on slouch for months.

How does she know? How the seasons change
and my veins hold new blood for her to suck now,
new blood I can bleed

over the white & untried bed
and my teeth are white and sharp to eat with.
Now I brim over with come to shoot in her,
I flap my jaw
and smile goofy at strangers
in the fullness of it.
Glad I’ll kill myself
& build a life with her. Glad
I’ll gaze into the wide blue eyes
I cannot fathom.

Not Christine not Huncke
not Martha could take her place.
I loved each and let each loose
the beautiful face no matter or
how strong my yearning ache,
Cut off
at dangerously hot by a circuit breaker
or fanned to blistering flame so
she turned cold shoulders in disgust,

Useless to give my all when it’s already given
to end lying anguished mornings on the same wrinkled sheet,
some yellow belly demon inside calculating
to save me for the One
or can I love at all?

Hear dark silence for the answer
& I’ve torn up the map, all highways
lead to the same dead end where
I see no exit
away from the Horror,
why not embrace it.

Love is possession
and we possess each other on a bone level
I don’t understand but we keep
a dim promise of happiness alive
or magic descends from the ceiling
& days light up now and then like sparkling incense,

I do what I want with her
as nuptial joy lifts toward bliss
that can not come true
and will carry me
thru boredom, fighting, anguish
the same scene repeated endlessly
1966, 1969, 1975 as
over the years
Time binds us tighter together
in orbit around our asteroid or lovely room
where we are each other’s parasite
and no friend in sight,
where we’ll die
within the same few seasons fatally wounded
our better half destroyed

or God insert the drug, body, faith
can bridge to the old dream she devours
& I love a spirit of the Dead.

Equal in Desire

Equal In Desire

equalinInformation

published by: ManRoot Press
ISBN: 0-914433-43-1
format: perfect bound, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 21
cover price: $10.00
art work by: Renee June
photograph by: Carole Wright

Praise for Equal in Desire

Matson’s work is powerful and tender. He has a clarity which is deceptive: the seeming simplicity that comes from a thoughtful and complex technique. The poems speak direct to the heart. ~ Diane DiPrima, author and poet.

Remarkable! How rare poems like these are. How important..open and delicate. ~ Robert Bly, author and poet.

Excerpts

Star Spawned

Kiss me with lips round as the cratered moon
and hotter than the sun going down.
It will spill dawn across the sky soon:
the sun’s changing and dying as we are, and at death
its older cousins spawned most of our atoms.

But when these molecules smear into the cosmic depth
we won’t be here to feel, or to understand,
so let us feel this moment with our hands.
Let me feel your skin with mine.

Let’s fill this star-trapped time
with love’s play, dream the curves of flesh
are warped space near black holes, sprays of moles
the maps of constellations where so much began.

Let’s spend this star-born time making love.
Pelvis, throw a boned and furry shove
at mine while your eyes roll up
and mine go splayed. Slanted sight
can witness better the horny dance
our atoms make while they’re together.

Equal In Desire

Evening sunlight is a narrow band
that angles through a curtain slit
and bends across your face.

You break its line discarding pants,
smooth hands over breasts and belly
and invite me to come forward.

I do. I put hands on flesh,
cup gland and muscle, feel rib cage
and hipbone as tension climbs.

Calla lilies and cattails are white
and green-brown in a bedside vase.

You pant lightly. Bend your waist
through poses a nymph would take
or princess dreaming of a lover.
Your wrist limp upon the sheet.

I am fighter, cocksman, hunter
on a hillside, proud male
turning to objects that turn him on.
My eyes stare. Hands prowl and reach.

Your pose is mold to my response:
half of me comes out strong.
I dream your closed lids hide lit eyes.
Does your lethargy invite me to proceed?

I listen inward for next moves and I recoil.
I’m tired of these roles!
Light splatters across the ceiling.

(I flinch from memories of
first moves receiving first refusals.
How many times I risked my innards’
“Yes” and was told “No!”

Beauty turns a cold shoulder.
Raises eyebrows: “You’re beneath me.”)

Enough! I’ve proceeded as point person enough!
I rebel against my training:
I want the flow to go the other way.

I want equal attention!
I’m equal in horniness!
My body wants its curves and bones appreciated.
I am not all push and no receive!
I want to love you with my yin and yang!
I’m not all male and no female.

The sky breaks open and pours down
floppy petals and green-brown spikes
that change into each other.

I pull arms along my thighs,
lie back, invite you to come forward.

Come to me now! Give to me.
Turn toward me with lit eyes open.
Put your hand here. And here.

You do. Oh yes. Yes! I smile.
I am athlete, old warrior, invalid,
nubile boy not knowing what to do.
My pose is mold to your response:
another half of you comes out.

Virago with gold rings, nurse,
coquette, suburbanite following desire
through barriers. Proud woman
turning to objects that turn her on.
Your eyes stare. Hands prowl and reach.

Cala lilies fold around cattails,
cattails grow wing-like tips,
envelop lilies’ stamens.

I sop attention till love
pours out my eyes and hands.
I try out new roles and play with old.
Our curves and hardnesses glow.

You sop attention till love
pours out your eyes and hands.
You cruise through old roles and play with new.
Windows are velvet black.

Tension is spiky then slack.
Eyes are soft and hard.
You rub your ass against my belly.
I fold my arms across your breasts.
We slide into each other. Oh yes. Yes!

Early works

Heroin

heroinInformation

published by: Neon Sun
Berkeley, CA
ISBN: B0006EB3VU
format: perfect bound, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 35
cover price: $10.00
drawings by: David Kelso

 

Space Age

This is the second book by the author of Mainline to The Heart, presenting an advance in theme and language which proves him one of the top four or five young poets in the country. Space Age is the poetry of vision, a unique synthesis deriving as much from Bob Dylan as from Whitman, amounting to a breadth uncommon in contemporary poetry.

Information

published by: Croton Press
ISBN: B0006C9U3U
format: perfect bound, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 73
cover price: $10.00
cover illustration: Maggie Cloherty
drawings by: Renie Perkins

Excerpt from Space Age

The crystal here world,
color lights blinking,
the perfect Tarot people,
hashed,
exploded out in frozen poses
against
walls and flower cushions
buzzing…

 

Chalcedony 2

Chalcedony’s Second 10 Songs

chalcedonysecond-1In Chalcedony’s Second Ten Songs the poet broadens the exultant, erotic outburst of her first chapbook. She adds existentialism, science, and much attitude to these conversations – or rather, to these rants – at her lover. Chalcedony (kal-SAID-‘n-ee) has no doubt he needs a lot of educating! She affirms her sacred connection to emotion, and this connection extends, at every turn, to earth, myths, pagan life, love, and death. How else do we know we’re human? And Chalcedony believes we are boundarilessly in love, all of us, and the apparent way we live is illusion – safe, cloying illusion. She melds her devil-may-care range of language with that of Shakespeare and the direct expression of classical Greek poets. Chalcedony invites the reader to become a wild, sensual creature like herself, full of delight and full of fire.

Author Comments

Chalcedony’s open, passionate voice is an outgrowth of Matson’s first book, Mainline to the Heart, published originally in 1966 and reissued by Regent Press in the spring of 2009. Mainline to the Heart is “an enormously powerful evocation of a state of mind most people barely know exists,” states Jack Foley, and Steve Kowit calls the poems “Naked paeans…the wailing, chaotic lyricism of youth sung in the key of compulsive sexual frenzy — an orgasmic, rapturous celebration of lust, drugs, and life.” While a young man Matson immersed himself in the counterculture and in hard drugs, but he emerged later drug-free and with full appreciation of the passion and honesty of the 1960s. These qualities are crucially important, he thinks, for the current era. Coming to terms with my youthful, energetic voice has been a challenge, he admits, adding that his early influences made possible the range of Chalcedony’s voice. Now, six years after starting her poems, they feel like his own.

Information

published by: Minotaur Press
ISBN: 1879457962
format: saddle stitch, 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.1 inches
numbered pages: 35
cover price: $5.00

Buy Chalcedony’s Second Ten Songs on Amazon

Excerpt

Song Fourteen

Do you remember the magic?
Do you remember boots and cells
dancing on muddied trails
and cobblestones beside
free-flowing ravines where hanging
gooseberries and cool updrafts
guide
your warming blood through its arteries?

Do you remember light winking on water?

Do you remember how sacred?

The cherry splits open for you.
Pomegranates align their seeds inside
hidden rinds and for you
through fractured skin
their berries set free ambrosia.

Ripe juice smears our mouths carnelian.

That red honey oozing over cheeks
and jawbone
signals our eyes’ squint
through the inside-out.

Can those slits along doorjambs
and chimney flashing be zippers?

We knew the air would come apart.
We knew celestial skin would curl open.

Ancient stories underpin this present
as you push shoulders through hanging
eucalyptus on a walkway.
Grunt
a dead phonetic now live,
pug nose face and arched brows
the foreground to a pagan forest
ringing bare limestone hills.

Myths slather their passions
into our lives like caviar.
Take a bite,
we’re too luscious to be untouched.
Too scrumptious to be untasted.

Because our atoms remember
popping out of cosmic plasma
twelve billion years ago, because trillions
of trillions accreted brothers and sisters
in nuclear fires,
we yearn. We yearn

because our cells remember
the 360 degree perfect amniotic embrace
in our mother’s womb.

Can your fingers not touch this remnant
hug one quarter inch away?
Your hand not feel the pulse
under its own skin?
Let me do the touching
while you ride a slow explosion.

You with berry juice dripping from cracked lips,
you’re not too hungry to eat.
Not too unmythy to touch back.

Would your purpled fingers still reach
for vine hanging grapes!
None is more ripe
than the juice constrained by your skin.

How many thousand novas planted star bits
in your body! How many pomegranates!

Do you remember how sacred?

Magic palpitates when more stars
line up than we can count
and proclaim, “Yes!”
Unbuckle the jackets
and unfasten snaps from this dangerous
and comforting embrace.

More stars than can fit along
optic nerves and I take in none
until I see the stars in your eyes.

Chalcedony 1

Chalcedony’s First 10 Songs

Chalcedony-first-ten-songsThese poems are a vibrant call to body and spirit and earth through the sensory world. Extravagent, rich and powerful -it’s as if Clive Matson’s early voice lost its anger and returns to embrace sensual life in all its joys and pains.

Author Comments

Chalcedony (“Cal-SAID-‘n-ee”) is a character in one of my unfinished stories. She loves her boyfriend with startling intensity, and she has big problems with him, too. She began writing songs in April 2004, and put pressure on me to get her words on paper. I followed her bidding. This became an intriguing adventure, though it felt odd to be writing someone else’s words.

Journeying into the songs one enters a fluid and energetic universe I didn’t know exists. Does this place emerge from a deepening relationship with my anima? If so, one wonders if a similar universe exists for everyone. The poems do seem to express more and more of what something, maybe my body, holds dear. At times I’ll act purely on knowledge of the poems, because they feel more compelling than so-called reality. Chalcedony’s world seems more interesting, more powerful, and, ultimately, more real.

Back Cover

Chalcedony obsesses on sexual passion and its 10,000 variations. She doesn’t know anything else. And why should she? These poems are a vibrant call to body and spirit and earth through the sensory world. It’s as if Clive Matson’s early voice lost its anger and returns to embrace sensual life in all its joys and pains.

About Mainline to the Heart (1966): “In essence a helpless and passionate romantic, Matson and his poetry zeroed in dead center on what pop-vernacular was calling ‘The Big Hurt.'” ~ Al Young

“Has the author sacrificed anything or everything to arrive at the toughness he celebrates? It seems he has. It is not angelhood any longer.” ~ John Wieners

About Equal in Desire (1982): “Remarkable! How rare poems like these are. How important…open and delicate.” ~ Robert Bly

“Matson’s work is powerful and tender. The poems speak direct to the heart.” ~ Diane di Prima

About Squish Boots (2002): “A study in consciousness, that amazing border or membrane between the mysterious world of the body and the world outside.” ~ Marc Hofstadter

“Delightful and penetrating at the same time, these poems are a revelation.” ~ Susan Griffin

Information

published by: Minotaur Press
P.O. Box 272,
Port Townsend, WA 98368
ISBN: 187-945-770-9
format: saddle stitch, 5.25 x 8.25 inches
numbered pages: 36
cover price: $5.00
plus $1.00 shipping and handling

Buy Chalcedony’s First Ten Songs on Amazon

Excerpts

Song Two

Not one button, not one stray
curled hair? You think you’ve left
nothing here, not
even a skin fleck tickling my nostril?

Cut straw and clover, horse manure
and the ocean’s salt breeze!
What is that odor?

Heavy machine oil
links to notes from a lilting organ that
fly over pumpkin fields and dance syncopated
over red-tiled roofs over my head.

Do I have you in my mouth?
In nasal cavities?
Is that you dripping down walls
through my esophagus?

I breathe you in and out.
I bend faux boundaries with my lungs.

You think you’re a discrete entity?
That’s past.
You’re disseminated over water.
You’re on the airwaves and you’re dotted
across pine and juniper high desert.

You’re inside and outside my body
spread up and down my belly and my legs.

You think you can pull your hand back?
Get in your truck and drive off?
You think you can put your heart
back in your chest
and go?
No.
You’ve left your essence.

I’m eating you with strawberries.
I’m sipping you with black tea.

Your glance left a mark on my eye,
the oil from your skin osmoses
balm through hungry membranes.

Your gesture cutting the air,
that five-finger wave
is still there
hanging from your wrist.

Oh yes those fingers attach to your hand,
your hand to your wrist to your arm
and to your shoulder
as you stride your yard!
How independent you are!

How distant your profile
against distant trees, how foreign
your boot in the dirt, how unique
the metal keys you toss in your hand.

You think you’re as discrete
as the cognac a drunk
hides in his trousers.
But the warm sun
lifts your smell from your neck,

from your pores tagged molecules
jiggle off into wide surging breezes
for places known and unknown.
And to one new place
known very well.

Can you feel your soul escaping?
Your shadow right in front of you
leaps away
from the morning sun
into my pocket.

 

Song Eight

I’m a skinny broad with wild plum breasts
and when we make love
I’m Venus.
These slight bones
arch and so strongly my waist billows
at hips and chest
who would guess
ripe melons in both places?

Who would guess desert-branch
arms so vibrant and blood-filled
the ends burst out ravenous fingers?

Venus rubs her round breasts
on and smears you with kisses
from lips as full and soft as ten servants
could make them working all afternoon
with magic potions and pinches.

My gardenia tongue finds
its sibling stalk in your mouth.

You think these are kitten meows,
these little cries and yelps?
Delicate bird coos?
No, no! These are
Aphrodite’s
full-throated cries
pulsing the granite sides of buildings!
Doubling over trees to the sidewalk
and puffing off their leaves!

And you feel something blow through you,
too! That soft grunt’s a Viking’s roar
at the helm of his mighty ship.

Thor with his hammer!
Zeus on the mountain top!
Howl wolf!
Yap-yap-yap coyote!
Roar lioness!

Who slides under your lids
in the huge spaces of come’s silence
before the hole closes?
The old ones.
The old ones
who carry our humanity into the future.

nbsp;     Those from prehistory
where what the ceiling knows
sings through wedding songs all
night outside the bridal chamber.

Celebrating how the marigold brightens
when a butterfly alights and lets
yellow wings unfold and flex.

Celebrating how blackbirds peck
ambrosia in a field of strawberries.

Celebrating how the flooding stream
groans and slaps itself with pleasure
as boulders roll between its banks.

Shape-change catalysts rub away
our crumby images
and they crumble
away like so much loose, dead skin.

We really are this big
and this fully the archetypes act

while the intelligence behind the big bang
and DNA occupies space between our atoms
and neutrino swarms blow through us
and faces trace giant outlines on cityscapes and hills,
how could we
not
be this big?

Rock levers tilt mountains and trees across sky.
Bright shadows move through vast oceans.

Up the air shaft come raspy echoes
of my cries.
Of Diana’s.
Behind these thin lips more sounds gain
full aperture from the wide mouth of
Aphrodite
coming at you
about to swallow you up.

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