m a t t h e w    h e n r i k s e n



Two Devils

Crow Bar Dearest East River

Two Devils



I am here at home
in a suit coat that spent a fortnight

on the back steps
collecting among other things

rain and a dusting of orange pollen
I canít place with any tree

Out in the backyard
resumes the foundation for my possum dream

I confuse algebra
with ancillary needs

Better to have shoved at all costs
love into a closet for a couple of years

Better to dance benthic
and grossly without child ache

I am beginning to let myself believe anything
if it fits on a coat rack or has antennae

and why should I not disturb my chin
from the violin and try the pick ax

What is better than violence
wonít come back today

The lunch counter never truly empties
The night is full of jars

Once a child like you I would snort
at a whip as a rose and a car horn

The wrong door rigged my name
I am taller than some Greeks

My mother knew not to storm
but some of us die without imagining

any great tradition to riff off
and thatís a bad thing

as itís a bad thing not to moralize
as a moral platitude

but for your honeyed words
And itís worth it to ruin yourself

a nation for that face that wakes
hell dreams into a room empty of you

My wife sleeps without a net
above the chaos that holds for now


Understand my name has no beginning
Lest you shall become a moral figure

squeal until even the spiders
veer from your destination

You get anywhere get there on all fours
and remember that your trigonometry

retains also the logic of Sodomites
and firemen out in the driveway smoking

We still smoke in this great country
Some of us kill our relatives

Who doesnít deserve style points
when the moon points to a broken magnet

In reality you did not see a pool of blood
Life is ordinary and proud

and you are a worthless people
my people in love

with the emptiness of your navels
You cannot read and warfare

does not become baleen whales
but suits you to your socks

You can only rejoice
It is the zither

It is the ouzo
It is the dance

gets us out of predictable gravity
and down into the confession of the body



Crow Bar Dearest East River



Payment hasnít come up yet
I can dwarf the loan

With my fingers tied behind
My absent cuticles

My favorite mistake

To read over as I crossed Clay Street onto Clay Street
Having walked north from India Street on the G

I give you specific directions
Because I refuse to explain

Why I want you to go there
I left an object

On the stones under a warehouse on Newtown Creek
You will find the apple blossoms

On the length of crowbar
I did not grab the axis with


I want you to go there
Because I would like

To stop looking at the crowbar
On my toe

The object I would like you to see
Before I move this foot left

The other idea that requires specific directions
Is sitting on my left toe

Under the crowbar
I will tell no one I told you so


You ainít gone
This kind of light

Mary walk me out

Onto the roof half a dozen or more times
In the week before my death

So I can imagine myself spitting on strangers
Who clearly scorn the sun off the pavement

Off the clouds off the water
Let Marie bring me one last book

To hang my head over
My head about to slump on that window

Let me hold myself up
I have done this almost all of my life

None of it has been a struggle
Donít you see suggesting



MATTHEW HENRIKSENís first book, Ordinary Sun, will emerge from Black Ocean in 2011. He is the author of the chapbooks ďAnother WordĒ (Double Cross Press) and ďIs HolyĒ (horse less press). Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Fence, Sink Review, So and So Magazine, Realpoetik and Ink Node. He edits the online journal Typo and lives far from where he used to live.

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