Three Poems by Matthew Rotando

Beating Due Headfakes

A window or an asp will show you where you took your wrong turn. Neptune has certain objects that we possess, as fellows of the universe, but now is not the time to claim them. Nor is it the time to let Neptune know we are cohabitants. In time, in time. Hands agree to write as we get smarter, even as the fundaments of knowing fall away. This is the age of tessellated thought. Images bounce back at us for a grand undoing. Alone or along the window, our serpentine mental actions come back around. Time is the culprit, even as it is merely an invented thing. Yesterday, or the future, only exist in thought, and thinking only happens in the present –> the present is the only thing. Don’t think of it as a gift. It simply is. If something simply is, and you know it, don’t clap your hands.

A Peculiar Caravan

The tiny letters that make words also travel through windshields, through your eyes, across tables, and past mausoleum doors. Some of these letters have attained a strange resonance. Inside the e’s, skeleton heads wobble and clack, their garnet teeth glinting in the weary glow of your little nightlight. Someone has dropped an old green jacket on the k’s. They have fallen again, into their sleep of uselessness. Also, the b’s and t’s are wrapped in a wild embrace. They are crying and won’t let go of each other. You walk around all day in clothes, tiring the world. Every night, the tree outside your window has a nightmare about a campfire. In winter, as you ready yourself for bed, it scratches strange new letters onto your frosted window. You dream new words with them, outlandish shapes the world has yet to see. By morning they have all trundled off in a strange caravan. But they remember how you laughed, your arms open wide, while you chased them.

A Cork In The Floor Comes Out

Chaos can’t tangle. Only carcomido can.1 Only trash and ruddy hands can tango. Only tragicomic grunions running under math can burden or can share. Only rusted bodies and boding clouds can rut in angled canyons. Chaos can rankle, but can’t drone. Candles can drone in a visual way, though if a badness, they cannot. Tarnation cancels codes, cancels orders, cancels every swing. Yesterday can take root, leave a mark, and turn. It does so every day. If feet have their way, the worker goes away. The wording holds and tangents tersely fix the mode of going. Each caustic breach of trust camps within encomiums. And mottled hills are grey. And green chili, red chili, hair in my mouth, all of it goes wondering through a fever, through a span of night, a brace of rain. Some wired wisdom

talker rides a bike through fields; we are there, we are there, we write shields with our mouths. I lend you a towel, you dry. After the thing, there’s its ness. We speak in close silences, and tangle. So the yes can tangle. It can, and the chaos, too.



1Carcomido: Spanish for “worm-eaten”; “corroded.”



Matthew Rotando gets smaller. The life lived is for choosey choosers. This won’t get used, so I can reveal secrets here. Once I imagined me a girl; I did me up in brambles and berries and stalked a rooftop, colluding with voices pointed outward. I relished the stomping sound of rain and being a slanting body on a rolling day. I chose time for my thoughts to wander in. I shucked music, shucked prayers, shucked being elusive, gave myself wholly to my new gown, woven of cakes and trains. I felt good in my gown, walked without stumbling, awed myself silly. The rain was good to feel on my hands, on my rippled skin. I looked up the hill and saw the outline of the steps I would take. I took them. I felt I could fit into any bottle, any shell. Even sand was known to me. It was a dream or something. I thought I was rusting and that was all right. Someone was sighing out of my mouth, using my voice to get away.


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