Quite a Bit of Confusion Concerning the Night Without You

In the gloaming we sit on the porch.
The ghosts of bottles reach out
capturing the last of the sun
as the ground eats it. The forest
grows dark. Twigs point like
twisted bone fingers scaring
the last of the eating birds
away.

I roll two cigarettes slowly. I
reach out towards the distant
sunset. I hand Buck one as he
looks up from his notebook-
which contains the notes of
salvation for Sunday’s
sermon. Voices yell inside
the kitchen, or maybe it
is the TV- that blue glass
teat someone suckles on
inside.

He talks to me of water
monsters, destroyers,
white mountain veils and
light bearers as messengers
of God. I reach out and
light his cigarette, and
light mine- a peaceable
burning like the sun
weighed and divided
ashes scattered in
Babylon.

I listen to the metal
laughter of my watch
holding it up to my
ear. I look through
the window spying
dead blackandwhite
people. I wonder what
secrets their shadows
hold on the otherside
of time and that
thick
glass.

Dark trees argue
against a colored
sky as bats swoop
down and down in
the gold pink
sky cloud mountains
I could climb, and
Buck punctuates his
talk of-
Zealots,
Samaritans,
a place of troops,
gifts to Jehovah,
anointed rivers,
and a man
of the dart-
with his own
clouds.

I stare at the ghost
of a summer bird, as
leaves fall condemned-
I send the bottle’s
crown tumbling
down in grace down
with the remnants
of the burnt ones-
“Burnt faces whom
God will strengthen”-
yeah that’s what
Buck says.

And I make notes
in my my mind of the
whispers of trees-
a crow flies on
the horizon- as
John the neighbor’s
dog barks- maybe
later he’ll come over
and drink the last
of the good beer.

Though if John comes
he’ll talk about working
on old engines, and his
time out at sea. I’ve
got something else on
my mind. I wish you
weren’t watching the
crows groom themselves
behind your eyes
recovering.

Buck is talking about
Mattathias Hasmoneas slaying
a fellow Jew attempting
a pagan sacrifice at the
altar in Modein when I
see John strolling
over with stories of
banana boat suicides
behind his eyes.

Buck is talking
about the birds of heaven as
they shake hands. And I
say farewell to this fine
evening, but I am on
the verge of a bright insight
spinning my last coins and
swallowing the last of my
beer.

Written for dVerse.

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22 thoughts on “Quite a Bit of Confusion Concerning the Night Without You

  1. Almost feels like I am first to comment, Matt; gosh. Your prose poems always enchant me; the line breaks are killer, clever, visually stunning. This reads like a part of something larger, a novella, a manuscript; like my Cinemagenic BLACKTHORNE scenes, being morphed out of my 40 year old existential Western unpublished manuscript; fodder for poetics for years it seems, one poetic episode at a time. Liked your lines /twigs point like/twisted bone fingers scaring/the last of the eating birds/away/ and /I listen to the metal/laughter of my watch/; good stuff, sir; nice take on the prompt.

    • Glenn, you are the first to comment on this one, thanks for such kind words. You are spot on about this being part of something larger it is from my back porch notebooks- which are full of rough notes on episodes just like this one- born out of me sitting on the back porch and smoking while taking down notes/sketches.

  2. Your porch seems to attract interesting neighbors and Buck seems to have a lot of amazing topics for conversations in store. Meanwhile we wonder what goes on inside.

  3. Matt, you had me there on the porch, watching and listening. My favorite line is “or maybe it
    is the TV- that blue glass teat someone suckles on inside..” But I really enjoyed the entire thing. I have a notebook, too, (more than one, actually.)

    janet

    • Janet, I always refer to the TV as the blue glass teat- in reference to Harlan Ellison’s book “The Glass Teat,” so I can’t take all the credit for that line. Glad you enjoyed the poem. I have more than one notebook as well.

  4. wow… lots of things going on here… a full mind and feels like a good place to sort the brain and finding some rest before sleep… the title is also very interesting… cool piece matt

  5. This is really cool. I like the language used to describe things, such as twigs that scare birds and the TV as a teat being suckled. I can envision this as part of a book or even as a movie scene. Nicely done.

    • Thanks, but like I said earlier the TV being a teat is really me calling my TV the blue glass teat in reference to Harlan Ellison’s “The Glass Teat”. This is part of a series of poems that I envision as a collection all recorded in my back porch notebooks.

      • That’s cool. I noticed that you mentioned this being part of a collection but I didn’t realize that phrase was a reference to the Ellison poem. Regardless, I enjoyed reading your post. 🙂

      • Justin, “The Glass Teat” is a book by Harlan Ellison- which is a collection of TV reviews and essays he wrote for the Los Angeles Free Press in the late sixties through 1970. Harlan Ellison is an amazing author of speculative fiction, and if you’ve never read him I would recommend him highly.

  6. Ahh.. the days of any porch at all.. and the neighbors that make a neighborhood instead of closed door prisons where humans play inside.. alone….

    And this reminds me of comfy days of front porch ways…

    That i try to live again.. in other ways..:)

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