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Matthew Rohrer: This is probably the most odious thing that can happen, when something strange or impossible or unrealistic happens in a poem and it’s called unrealistic or just wacky. Like when someone says, ‘what was this guy on when he wrote this?’ I become speechless with rage. I’m not even talking about it being said about my work, I’m talking about that reaction to anything. I think that is such a hideous discounting of any act of the imagination. Certainly plenty of works produced over the span of history have been influenced by drugs. But let’s face it, there are a lot of people out there smoking marijuana and not very many of them are producing great work. It is not like marijuana makes you instantly an artist. It just seems like such an insidious way to undercut the contribution of the individual, to take away the fact that the artist’s imagination alone is the contribution itself.”
You called, you’re on the train, on Sunday,
I have just taken a shower and await
you. Clouds are slipping off in the ocean,
but the room is gently lit by the green
shirt you gave me. I have been practicing
a new way to say hello and it is fantastic.
You were so sad: goodbye. I was so sad.
All the shops were closed but the sky
was high and blue. I tried to walk it off
but I must have walked in the wrong direction.
—Matthew Rohrer, Rise Up (2007)
When we say something is beautiful
we mean we can laterally bisect it.
The moon for instance has the day side and the night.
A manta ray has two black wings.
A girl’s face has one green eye, one nostril up-turned
like half a ski jump, 16 teeth,
and then again.
Elizabeth Taylor, the most symmetrical of us all.
A peach with two soft sides, two halves of a poisoned seed.
Even the five-pointed starfish fits into our group.
The best time to bisect a starfish is at night
after a shipwreck when they grip the shore.
They say they are the hands of sailors who didn’t make it.
“But what good is an incantation
Matthew Rohrer, from “MK ULTRA,” A Green Light
against an Empire?
The answer is on the side
of the moon we’re not supposed to see.
How painful to walk through town
in a dented suit of armor,
early summer, the whole neighborhood
smells like sperm,
and it’s late,
scars of oral surgery.”