Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

Matt Dennison

The Wall Dogs

       The wall dogs are here. The hounds
       that brought down my father are here,
       yapping at my heels, finding my flesh
       much to their liking. As I heard their
       approach I started moving. As I started
       moving they grew louder, nearer. So I
       lay with them, desiring sleep and calm
       for my escape. Upon silence's swift
       rising I felt strong jaws closing and when
       I had run deep into the night and still
       I felt their black breath burning down
       on me I tore raw chunks of dream-meat
       from my sides, hoping to satisfy their
       awesome voices—to their cavernous
         throats my dreams were nothing!

       They grew strong. They put out the light.  
       Howling in fear I tore flesh and flung it
       blindly in the dark and darker it became
       the more I ran tore fled. Darker it became.  
       Pushed to the edge of the last earth's crumbling,
       I view the vast assassination.

A Long Tin Horse of Color

       He stepped from the escalator, dead,
       and kept walking—past sidecars
       of the bow-wow, fields of one-eyed
       grief-cats posing in the rain, past
       bellyfulls of dog heads longing
       to hear their seabones sing once more
       across the raging waves, spat upon
       the boiling bubble-maker harvesting
       old lightbulbs, thinking all the while:
       The cat is my barometer: in her rudest
       health she demands swagheart tits,
       prelapsarian mumblings. Okay, discomfort,
 he inveiled, my swell-boiled egg...
        Grateful for a blanket in the valley of lips,
       grateful for his left thumb but not the right,
       pulsing his mother's vicious blood throughout,
       fresh as man's last want muttering goodbye
       to spectral acrimony, that long tin-horse of color,
       he candled a wounded other, the science around
       his lips sat within sound injuries curled up and quick
       as tooth-straight death, two slick animals and possible
       brine-clothed ears—the biggest thing since the plowing
       contest—prayers and physicalities counted the rooms in his
       house and he slept in a different one every night, excluding
       the laundry, perhaps the bath, back when rooms had names,
       condemned to be the laughing house-man's intelligence
       of the wasp, stallion cats, mud angels come from everywhere,
       able-headed daughters' end of debris—knew God revised
       the rat twelve million times before it bit his finger to the bone
       in its soiling and has been the speed-bland center since, the reflex
       figure vanishing, nailing him to his parents, that huge wax of youth
       stiffening like a belt-loop looped backwards, just a pin-scream
       of ether between the world's hint-light of travel and sea-passage,
       fares paid, rivers running like missions, boiled with life awakened
       in sleep's fish-hiding from the sea, the pelican making an elegant bow,
       rotting with the seasonal changes—took a survey of his empty house,
       touched each beauty's blood-print upon the floor, knew every
       artistic act as a sickness unto glory, wondered how can the clock
       on the floor be true when the sunlit window beamed his privates,
       his griefs, all night, thanked moons for giving him self-accidents,
       settled at last on the old wooden chair for a little gentle
       fucking in the kitchen at the end of day with her.

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 videos with poetry videographers Michael Dickes, Swoon and Marie Craven.