“Raw aerials sing
sweet as familiar
apes above squalor”
Home manifest glues
the nice-meats of our bartering—
a series of good skulls to sing:
“No grimace thrust nor squint enfolds
the squat chess rook unmoved…”
What marvelous trunk to bubble!
Ready for a dig then at the grave,
old son? A weep-n’-laugh for all?
Sit down and rest your face—water
boils slow in the nothing hemisphere.
Something from the stove? No pepper
shames this chimely gout (that pike
a’ filament’s raw spore). T’is better
quills mad-pulp from eyes unwept,
for even the plucked must sprout
a delicate we—eh, Avendi?
A widower’s delight perhaps
—tremendous tongue-oil wrung
old-sock-like in the larve. Aye,
‘tis bracken and their slow-tooths
that, most welcome in our crumb,
would not this soupen cut have made.
We’ll have us then a pretty meal:
electro-teats n’ idiot-bread—sop
coffee until bone-on-plate some
gibbous tongue complains:
“O ‘twasuh hell’a red-drop
bloat I labored like a gong
possessed a’ quaquaversals,
intesticle yearning, a patience
of concern-excreta n’ always
the meat-wind pumps the bellows
of guffaw: O Buffon! O Whales!”
Don’t mouth a soft revulsion
—unbruised magnetic pull-back
read as some half-hell or pure—
poverty’s a temperature threnodic-
sliced for beauty to accrete in this
—abyssal—curio. Accept our weary,
splitted fate—grace-black’d hammers
kept tuck in golem-rot—(peace be upon
our brief hell-heads!). Rip the caudal
from the swinish, mousen broth—
Is better heaven sung?
I entered your bedroom that Sunday morning
when no one was looking, saw my mother
in the middle of the floor with you on her,
winking at me from behind. Went blind,
became a column of air. Sang snippets
of vomit-confusion within our assumed
sweetness. Remembered then forgot
my name during the sin-fired breakfast
below. I would have danced for you,
you magnificent creatures, but my feet
became stone in that claw-breast moment.
Scared but not for one moment afraid,
I took the vision straight on, clung
to my toys, silence and paraphernalia.
Played with lead soldiers, rabbits, dogs,
robots, cartoons, books and whatever
available animals existed or, not yet
conceived (the fox carcass in the woods
now excited me), conceived my own—
slept with snakes slipping from throat to
belly to mind’s laryngized voice:
none dancing, all screeching, as half-a-mule
down the road ants gang-rape the weakest
giant they can find under leaves for their
childrens’ childrens’ childrens’ sake.
The Wasp at Midnight Whispers
My gladlings, you spinning blades to be, close brood
of a hot front porch: There is no you, no I, only Nest
and Queen; for it is Nest-making by Nest for Nest,
Queen-making by Queen for Queen. We are but wasps,
sleek machines of sexless Fate. Though infinitely invested
by Survival’s right indulgence, use your stings wisely,
for only one fertile among us endures—And here I tap
upon your leathered heads so thinly egged together:
Be food for no one but feast on many. Acknowledge
neither fly nor moth in passing—they are beasts, inelegant,
lacking our furious halos; fit only for bellies and scat.
Ignore as well the squirreled rumors of cold to come,
the exchanged supremacy of Sun and Moon, for Sun
is the metal of excellence, beaten, my revving engines,
upon and by the blistering wings of Strike, Moon
its dull sister. Know this too: house lizards lick
the mud dauber’s nursery seeking pupae of the absent.
Know this in gratitude from your unwritten tomes
of hot-papered youth: We are present. Though wasps
are never thought to piss or dream, I piss and dream
on you. Accept. Think only of your next sting,
your next little necessary. Fall openly upon your prey,
their arms breaking backwards. Make a bit of wind
about them, snake vessels exploding in chests,
for it is in murder we delight, be it of Moth or Moon
or comely Sap. Our hum upon Nest is ours alone,
quickened by Sun’s needleization of Grace, that scurry-cat
stalking the madness of summer only to pause at the edge
before pouncing—I tap thus on Nest to inform Eternity.
Thoughtless in our replete, the small-breasted tree
with her singing frogs is of no use to us, only the friable
wood of those who hate. Wish and hope death on those who,
as snakes whose venom wounds their mouths must strike,
would crush, would poison us. Though we come in glory,
they think we come into this world to make a hell’s-ditch
of the window box, the desiccated scarecrow, our nimble-
quick descent into violence worse than their clock’s
man-whip of reverie. Ask them, those proud snails of Not
with their fat lips dripping rust and the gatherous mad
upon their young: Can you, as the wild goose barks
across the sky, embrace Helios? Can you, as we,
sail a ship through your face in the middle of the night?
Remember, though we do not remember: They know not
of Nest, the eternal among them, the one true architect
on the gold-fired lip of Sun sitting in gold encased in gold
suckling and throbbing and drowning in gold until gold
is gold no more is Nest Queen of stung delight.
After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s
work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon
River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short
films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor.