Featured Poet

Matthew Hittinger


( Astoria, New York )


          1. Sun Crawl

	I woke to breath on my neck a red haze
above the Greenwood cemetery's gray
	mausoleum above the copper tree
tops.  A Mack truck passed.  Gravel kicked and spit.

Your chin scratched my shoulder, the sun spread
	over form giving form to feet fallen
off the futon kinked limbs tinted lemon.
	The light slinked up the wall our bodies one

	shadow beast slid under the sheet skin tinged
and tingled our breath separate sour
	sweat saliva salt.  Still afloat with sleep

I rolled opened to find your gaze graze beads
	glistened at the temple touched at the brow.
The sun devoured us in one wide crawl.

          2. Naked You Are

	Naked your flesh firm beneath my hand
rough with hairy tufts on chest medial line
	I traced soft curls down the navel path.
Naked your curves and angles led one place.

Naked you rose like Spanish steppes you caught
	sun in your hair light in your eyes
naked milky light trickled over plane and slope
	probed the shadows of crevice and mouth.

	Naked stretched long narrow beneath me
our bodies interlocked two patterns on a border
	nipple to peck ab to rib outer to inner thigh.

Naked clothes cast in a half-halo around the bed
	red leaves drifted past glass oak clothed
silence silence echoed by two torsos tangled.

          3. Body of Man

	Light fragmented body.  Your hips marble
limbs and torso ocher.  Hatch marked.  Hairs dark
	under arm nipple haloed chest thigh fanned.
Scratched bulge and bone the vertebrae ladder

climb down nape to glut hollow. What other
	way to describe this light?  Electrical
stria skeletal synapse entangled
	atoms commingling.  Did two bodies

	become one?  Body of man I dared not
call you mine : your body yours my body
	mine so that when lips met hands interlocked

we shared and did not possess.  Even if
	at times I said my interpret the line
question divide.  Break this praise from its use.


She turned
them all to lead
men feet and belly nicks
lined up on the composing stick
the i’s

and o’s
a’s and e’s each
letter a face her job
case her reverse harem of lost

type set
and slugged to make
a spell from line tension
quads and ems brasses and coppers
the string

she tied
round her galleys
rivaled Wonder Woman’s
lasso the skin she skimmed off ink

she formed
into her imps
the tympan packed prints tucked
on the drying rack broadsides struck
mid air


	That was the month the lights blew—first one
then two over sink and tub both front

		and mid hall the silver lamp

by the succulent the cup above
	the bed—but the globe out front flared gold

			the day the ajar fridge door

	stopped yellowing the milk—corner store
and dollar shop pharmacy bin searched

		for watts and bulbs freezer slapped

the loose revealed step stool climbed rusted
	fixtures unscrewed—the blackened ends shook

			like maracas metal ping

	on glass that tinny incandescent
rattle that bell protest bright bangle.


	In Jamaica every light spiraled
from its socket the twist like soft

	ice cream the glow bare and dim
		concrete-diffused and when

	we climbed the ridge to your family
home soon to be sold Kingston's orange

	gold spread down the slopes clustered
		in bright nuclei thin for stretches

	thin up the hills where the trees choke
and cloak like we cloak an embrace

	a kiss on the black veranda two
		shadows come together to block

	the light to unravel like a pear skin
wrapped tight around a coiled bulb

I - Out-of-body
II - Eyes That Cover Us
III - Elegy for the Hidden

Current Issue - Winter 2010