Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

Jane Rosenberg LaForge

"The Deer of the Hollywood Hills"


Finally this is what it means

to see and not be seen

against the adobe-colored stucco

and saw-toothed palms, their roots

like greedy cottonmouths, suckling

on the dust. But these mammals survive

unlike their sultry cousins, on thistle

and champagne grapes, what the raccoons

consider mere pillage; and on air drenched

in clods and spangled pelts.


They’ve been abandoned out of habit

as much as out of choice and yet always,

they promise, for just cause

and gracious purpose.


But you cannot indulge in every resonance:

the time you rehearsed on your fellows;

time you were interchangeable, time

you were anonymous, all the time

you pretended your legs were like crutches,

your body a trunk for something flammable

but tethered to current circumstances

so it might be marketed, but the arc,

rise and fall, rise and fall, was never

steep enough.


Since the stick in the rock has

become worthless, and their territory

has become a map of where civilization

accretes past the donated acreage,

the males shelter as females graze  

So they can produce milk when prompted;

so their males Will say stormy things,

and meet their Involuntary wants; so when

they bite down on the muscle there is something more

than dirt and maze on their vicious pink tongues.



"Baltimore 1985"


I remember the air fooling me each morning

that the day would be crisp, laminated,

inviolate of  my powder and cottons. It was

the vacuum that did it,  the gap between

revolving door and the outer atmosphere,

as if I was some kind of a patient, numbered

zero. We had a stereo, a bed, but no other

furniture, and we listened to the glam rock

we missed out on ten years earlier. I weighed

ninety-five points, piss and leaky crotch

included, though the new husband I had

so arduously pursued across the continent

thought I was pig, bruising inner thighs

and crushing his appendix. People laughed

at my bachelor’s, my affect in elevators;

I tried to be a secretary, a researcher,

an apprentice to a bookmaker, but no one

would teach me how to read the results

printed on the back of the dying newspaper.

The future was mine for the asking and

I could be a savior, but I crashed at the job,

the marriage, the banquet of social niceties

meant to last beyond the ennobling disasters.

My last act was to walk barefoot over glass

in sea-worn colors, mixed with the concrete

and poppies that grew white rather than

orange, as if bleached of their fortifying

chemicals. I’d found the solution, and

pronounced it a miracle, only to find out

I was again late to the party, yet punctual

for the debacle.



Jane Rosenberg LaForge's next full-length poetry collection will be "Daphne and Her Discontents" from Ravenna Press in late 2016 or 2017. A chapbook of poems, "In Remembrance of the Life,'' also is forthcoming from Spruce Alley Press in 2016. She is the author of an experimental memoir, "An Unsuitable Princess" (Jaded Ibis Press 2014) and four other volumes of poetry. More information is available at