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 voicesto 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.