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November 5, 2013 Poetry

2 Poems

Matthew Olzmann

2 Poems photo


It “might” be a hoax.
That’s what they’re reporting. 
“Might” be a hoax. 
Not is a hoax.
Not definitely, not obviously,
not clearly, certainly, undeniably,
irrefutably, incontestably, assuredly,
or even What, are you out
of your mind? Of course this is a hoax

Instead:  “might” be a hoax.

Did you hear about how the word “might”
became the single, greatest word
in the English Language?
It happened about fifteen seconds ago. 

Might. Such a beautiful ambiguity.
The way it leaves the door open—just a smidge.
No one gets excluded. 
It welcomes us all into its home: doubters,
cynics, and those who just crave
the relentless possibility
that there is something enchanted,
however tenuous, however unlikely,
buried in this land. Between
the Taco Bells and tension wires and windswept parking lots.
There is something good to be found.
It says, Come on in. Have a seat next to me. 
Drink from my cup.  Here.
Anything might happen




                  (Ars Poetica)

If you went to see the Jesus Lizard, circa 1996,
             looking at the stage, you likely you only "saw"
                          three quarters of the band:
the drummer, guitar player and bassist—
                                         as they conjured up a sound
         bigger and more unstoppable
                                than an eighteen-wheeled semi
carrying 10,000 cases of Budweiser,
             as those three musicians tried
to swerve that machine,
                             straight through your skull.
The singer, David Yow—the one you didn't see
     because he was almost never on the stage—
      dove from a set of speakers
                           like a man from a hull of a sinking ship
           into the audience, as if the audience
  was an ocean wave,
a wave that would toss him like an abandoned life raft,
                       until he sank to the ocean floor
and crawled
    like a red king crab across its cloudy and infinite surface,
              except the ocean floor was the bourbon
and blood-soaked night club tiles
                  and there was no such thing as infinity.

Look at that crowd. 
Somewhere inside that mass of bodies,
        you might see me
              and my friend—Evans Tasiopoulos—
wedged inside that wave
        of elbows and anger and sweat and bruises
                         trying not to drown
        inside of what might have been a mosh pit
or what might have been a metaphor for our teenage lives.
             And if you were there, you would have heard
that man who crawled across the floor,
    who sang like a bag of bibles set on fire,
                      or a car with bad brakes
shrieking before slamming into a telephone pole. 
         And even if no one could understand a word he was saying,
you heard him, as he wailed like a trapped animal,
         or the jaws of the trap as it bites
                          down on the leg of that animal,
or teeth of the animal itself
            as it chews through its own leg
                 trying to tear itself free.



image: Jensen Beach