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4 poems

by Matthew Wenger

How to Succeed in Artistic Expression

Get your heartache wholesale

Be Christmas Eve

Don't be surprised to find that 

It really is how you hold

Your knife and sip your tea

Begin love in the corridor

Bloom as the sky falls

Use the worst font and discarded colors

Confirm your vows

On the bathroom walls

Blackbird the havoc


Feast of Saint Basil

She wore only a t-shirt 

and her long hair down, 

boiling water for coffee. 

Bake the rich bread with a coin inside

I watched her bare legs 

from my uneven chair, 

swam the dark red clouds of her voice, the fog of New Year's day, 

the fog of the hills beyond, 

and the fog of the future.

Choir up the thieves and fallen virgins

The cup of coffee she brings collapses

the planetarium of my desire 

to reveal the actual sky.

The Seduction of Light and Shadow

The seduction of light and shadow woke

me, guttered me again into work shoes,

into a world hungry to make sense 

to itself, where landmines lie beneath 

the playground, where we all eat 

each other's spit, walk between poison 

raindrops on top of the fault lines.


From the carnival's wild calliope 

to the autopsy notes, the ragged soul 

of something continues to build 

cathedral walls of candy skulls 

and if I succeed through the long daylight, 

and even longer darkness,

reach the thin palette I share 

with my bride, 

no Ramses or Charlemagne 

ever commanded a larger domain.

Flowers I Whisper

Such lovely flowers, I whisper

As the saguaro cactus

Falls on my neck

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