The flesh is always trying
to pull a fast one.
The flesh is always dreaming up
some new scam.
The flesh is always eyeing
Time, to pick his pockets.
I’m the next mark.
The flesh is always weaseling
out of its obligations
like flab from a girdle.
The flesh is whistling
some sappy love song
hoping I’ll cave tearfully,
hoping I’ll take
the fetal position
on the living-room floor
and whimper till dawn comes.

. admin . 05/23/10 . 08:01:50 am . Words . 145639 views .1 comment . Email

sits in the sweaty noire
of her one-bunk Hilton
oblivious to the cackles
and catcalls
of the other prisoners,

wearing a velvet dress
instead of the standard-issue
orange jumpsuit,
as if this will be a night
of suicide or escape.

Her tricep jiggles
when she begins to play
a melody
that causes even the captain
of the guard to drop
his nightstick mid-beating
and fall to his knees
and weep at its humanity.

. admin . 10/02/09 . 11:03:05 pm . Words . 57002 views .Leave a comment . Email

The flesh gnaws at me
like an inverse conscience
its endless tiny teeth
sinking into soft orangey memory

the summer gone like an ex
Indian summer here
like an oh
uttered by a temptress

a temptress of fate, her index finger
and its vermillion nail
pressed to her pursed lips
just now, uttering a hush

warning naughty old me
to keep something
I can’t for-the-life-of-me remember
our little secret.

. admin . 09/24/09 . 07:15:20 pm . Words . 21501 views .Leave a comment . Email

What was the mortician thinking?
Too lazy to hammer the final coffin-nail
that common sense bellowed
then begged weepily to have driven home
like an irrefutable truth.

And wouldn’t you know? The other nails
soon pry loose too, one by one,
as if of their own accord
and the wounded coffin lid fails to restrain
a familiar, pale paw caked with icy crud

from slithering out like a tendril,
feeling about to grasp the unsuspecting hand
of a hireling pallbearer
helping to bear the bier
to the supposed final resting place.

And how predictable! Pallbearers recoil
in horror at the clamminess of flailing palms
and at Maynard’s self-pitying sniveling,
dragged back to life by desire for touch.
Pallbearers flee ungently into that evil night.
For Justin Hakanson

. admin . 09/09/09 . 12:25:11 pm . Words . 26526 views .2 comments . Email

when salt isn’t available
dip into your eldritch supply
of stale brown sugar,
rub it speedily like a fly

between motor-oily palms
until the granules drop
like sand into the crevices
an old wound

a wound that didn’t need
much help in reopening,
the acute tang of which
one can savor even from here.

. admin . 08/23/09 . 01:15:41 pm . Words . 27707 views .Leave a comment . Email

Every dancer, it turns out, is drunk and missteps
out of an abundance of caution not to miss steps,
stumbling badly this way and that, swaying
like palms in a nighttime typhoon.
Hand in hand, they reel like a weary wheel
on fire. Each looks lavender and fuzzy
to the other. Vomiting happens
with impressive frequency. The audience pales
in comparison, greens with seasickness
and womb envy, weeps, blurs, then gives way.

Half-dreamt calls to clamber up
from the cataleptic wreckage of ballerinas
and frowning clowns go unanswered by limbs.
From somewhere deep in the wings backstage
come hollow chatter, libertine laughter
and dysfunction drenched in unsexy reverb.
Cruel chortling from the company director and his bimbos
being confronted by the missus?
Or from the theater itself stifling the sobs
of its own jilted lovers? In either case, skulls throb.

. admin . 08/14/09 . 07:31:23 am . Words . 68996 views .Leave a comment . Email

Someone please hand him a hanky!
We are all ready to weep
like mothers awaiting the execution
of a mass-murdering son.
Even though this guy
thinks he’s God’s gift to the world
and women, we almost pity him
up there pontificating at the podium
snot streaming from his nostrils
brow dripping sweat
so that we ignore the content
of his inarticulate comments
and writhe in our chairs, as if fire ants
were scuttling up our backsides
from our legs-- this for the duration
of remarks which still haven’t reached
a conclusion these many weeks.

For Suzy

. admin . 04/15/09 . 05:41:26 am . Words . 50904 views .2 comments . Email

blacker than the coffee
one must sip
so surreptitiously
from a mug
made of recyclables
after donning it
for to survey
wondrous humanities;

chic enough
to imbue
even bourgeoisies
with competence
to critique
wines and cheeses
and public policy
at socials
with all the authority
of the aficionado.

. admin . 01/22/09 . 07:54:17 pm . Words . 34565 views .Leave a comment . Email

Assisted living
at a castle in the clouds
where aging dreams go
when kids and kin
no longer wish
to run their errands;

where silent sunshine
pinkens everything
and a peace pervades
that can only be shattered
by a lingering uncertainty:
are the toga-clad orderlies
angels or demons?

. admin . 01/10/09 . 05:44:49 pm . Words . 18734 views .Leave a comment . Email

My vision blurs
as if an unskillful cameraman
is twiddling my brain’s
nobs and dials.

Not sure whose turn it is anymore.
Nonetheless I keep my chin
planted on the pool table, guarding
the left corner pocket. I grin

wide enough
and white enough
to expose my dental work
to the maximum possible damage.

. admin . 06/09/08 . 05:23:55 am . Words . 354084 views .Leave a comment . Email

Just before punching-in
for his shift at the theater,
he douses himself
with tire-store scented cologne,
dons his bellhop uniform
with its meaningless badges.

A peaked, pencil-thin mustache,
it is hoped,
will endear him to widows
when he seizes them by the arm
and leads them to seats
in rows upfront
where there’s popcorn
and candy-resin mucking the floor.

But perhaps it will only provoke
the contempt of youths
who'll deem him
a worthy bull's-eye
for their lettuce
and even pricier projectiles.

. admin . 04/23/08 . 07:19:36 am . Words . 16076 views .Leave a comment . Email

straw-hatted weed-chewer
in oily overalls,
pawn shop rifle across his lap,

must mother it like a hen,
nestle on it
til it can hatch . . .

comfy in an aluminum canoe
pole cast out to a murk
where cold fusion happens,

where tadpoles
were never so seemingly alive
teeming like thoughts,

swimming everywhere
like the prospects
of unlimited dollars.

. admin . 09/19/07 . 04:26:32 pm . Words . 206092 views .2 comments . Email

He ascends the tower,
packing a wallop
in his aching joules.
Anxious acolytes
press together
in the morning frost
just to be beneath
the balcony at sunrise
when the fiery saliva
and invective flies
from the sacred pie-hole.
Rhetoric spued
in a vaguely Germanic
un-understandable tongue.

. admin . 06/29/07 . 07:08:15 am . Words . 30105 views .2 comments . Email

Hopes resurrect,
spread ether arms
to measure
the lengthening days, the joy,
into dusks
offer no more
sacrificial apologies,
redeeming the time.

The will of God
stung like honey,
bittered the belly,
but then tranquil . . .
Storm and crow
have flown,
all color returned,
we believe, we know
the eternal version
is on its way.

For Deborah and Amy Hatch

. admin . 05/09/07 . 08:50:01 am . Words . 13466 views .1 comment . Email

Out in the sleepy otherness
of rustic moon colonies
there was the plaintive beauty
of townsfolk
who had detachable heads
and a remarkable kennel
constructed there
for the safekeeping of heads.

How sweet in maturity
to muse and reflect
how in wartime
or during Eastertide
a visitor could open the cages
one by one
and be greeted
by a mob of smiling faces!


For Justin Hakanson and David Reynolds

. admin . 02/20/07 . 05:15:10 pm . Words . 22203 views .1 comment . Email

Her harbor open like a beautifully-lipped mouth,
Her harbor open as if to drink the ocean.

Her harbor caked with castaways, temples behind her brow;
Her capital sinfully furrowed.

The flawless zebras and literate gazelles that sprung
through ten foot grasses.

I put on my shoes of levity and wandered aimlessly
over the domes.

In the perfect, undressable gardens, where invisible fruit
grew on shadows ...

On afternoons that bit off more than they could chew,
where an Adonis begins to lay down on the soft rocks ...

On afternoons in which the soul blows through canyons
and out to sea--the soul sliced by gulls and girls.

Living forever in one's sins, a nagging nostalgia for birth

Lost inside a caravan of deserts. My canteen.
Its last few drops of ambition.

From where I stand on the mountain, an orchard, a valley of Buddhas,
then nothing.

Greece finally attaching itself to my gaze. Horizons jettison.
Warm nights with moons to spare.

In Atlantis, philosophers quilted and gossiped.

Merman: "I caught a tremendous fish." Mermaid bride blushing.

Seraphim appeared, blinding my eyes with their jewelry and teeth.

Drowsy wickedness and chocolate poverty in the streets of Atlantis.

By faith, we could be translated. There is no word for faith in
the tongue of Atlantis. There are twenty words for lust.

The day she sank, people took dangerous-looking orange capsules,
then forgot anything ever happened.

(c)2000 Matthew L. Bowen

. admin . 10/22/06 . 08:41:23 am . Words . 19592 views .Leave a comment . Email

Ersatz' society:
onslaught of saline and silicone,
ah callogen kisses and kitsches--
the unfurrowable botoxed brow,
suction minus the lipo,
vacuum: inner vortices, the soul-shaped hole.

Her equally false priests,
meddlesome fingers, arcana,
black arts & pop-tarts,
ba‘als, j-loes, starlots--
discotheque equaling sacredest space,
new koshers ...

O sheerest of boredoms!
all alone tonight
suckling my brainchildren
on whatever

Out there now: melanchoholics,
black eggs hatching pale-skinned voyeurs
that slither amok, toy stories,
suntanned munitions:
blonde bombshells trolloping
off the assembly lines,
on down the runway, into kennels.
Sunset skies so full o’ brooms & learjets,
applauding thunder, canned laughs,
& further estrangements ...

A tap of the wand, a tip of the hand,
a wind howling through a house of cards
in suburbia, disposable outcomes.

(c)2003 Matthew L. Bowen

. admin . 10/20/06 . 04:28:38 pm . Words . 26889 views .Leave a comment . Email

To where erosene winds
lend the blogosphere
an invisible, ambient hand

to where Europa's black,
star-flecked waters
are about to beget

something that will lurk
for ages
amid the rills
that jut into the rippled calm
of Jupiter's huge,
hideous, unmanmade reflection


Matthew L. Bowen

. admin . 10/19/06 . 04:20:55 pm . Words . 73584 views .Leave a comment . Email