the mermaids in American water came just / after the A-bomb test in Nevada / Dad blamed Harding losing on the pharmaceutical dust / tornadoing around Mollenkopf Stadium / Mamaw sold my Lincoln Logs in the garage sale / said kids haven’t played with Lincoln Logs since ‘Nam / I saw David down the road waiting for our bus / and he waved at me with the laser pointer he stole off his dad / we played hangman with our breaths / looking like handwriting stuck in January air / that spring when The Melt came all the lunch ladies / started microwaving the soybean burgers instead / I stuffed a million suns into the pockets of my cargo pants / and stole 35-cent apple juice cartons / I ate a Cry Baby Sour Ice cup all alone in my mother’s classroom / like I was fucking Steven Glansberg / you were in an art class somewhere halfway across the state / drawing pictures of all your beaches / the dealership said they put a moonroof in my Pontiac / so I could measure how far away God was / by ashing stars in the cupholder / and counting the mile-widths of toad-stranglers / yes we’ve seen thunder before / we just don’t have a name for seeing it yet / can you believe we were all once ugly babies / hearing the This Charming Man riff for the first time / and thought, goodness I hope the lead singer doesn’t ruin this for all of us / or that we played hooky just to see what happened / to Rafe and his evil twin on Days of Our Lives / or that the Bush administration / took the last traffic light off the highway / of course I miss / the suppers of buttered noodles and Coca-Cola / in front of a TV glowing Man V. Food reruns / turning the police scanner off just to hear How Deep Is Your Love / crawl out of Dad’s living room stereo / and Dad saying Disco Demolition Night makes sense / in retrospect / or that one December when hometown garage band Acid / had their record go double-aluminum with no features / and there was snow falling in NYC on Christmas Eve / that looked like my mother in a hall of mirrors / back then our houses came from tin cylinders / with assembly required until the banks priced us out / and we couldn’t afford an Uber / that would take us to the moon anymore / and the boys with Bill of Rights forearm tats / threw toilet cleaner bombs into yards / and took baseball bats to mailboxes up the road / then there were the masculine street-fight lobotomies on SnapChat stories / I swear Chicken Fried blasting out of rusted Chevy S10 trucks / will be the death of me / all of this and the stink from falling steel plants / still disobeyed the wind and burnt down half the general store / all of this and the Ursuline cornerback still put a concussion / in Mario’s head before Mario went and got drafted by the Giants / how romantic, the ways we’ve nuked each other to smithereens / just to come back pretty / the way the bar uptown closed every winter / and reopened under a new name / some say it was the hype / of the PlayStation 3 release that saved this city / for me, it was leaving and finding you
Matt Mitchell is the inaugural member of the HAD Five-Timer’s Club.
- On Wednesday I Get Ashes at the Drive-Thru
Katelyn Botsford Tucker
- How To Lie On Your Back Underwater And Not Drown Your Fool Self
- The Day Ends. The Day Ends. The Day Ends.
- And if this is where you live, welcome home
- After Saying John Ashbery’s Poetry Is Like Getting Out of a Bath When It’s Still Warm, And My Workshop Instructor Laughs and Tells Us He’s Going to Tell His Friend I Said That, Repeating What I Said in a Lower Voice, Not Like “John Ashbery’s Poetry Is Like Getting Out of a Bath When It’s Still Warm” but More Like “John Ashbery’s poetry is like getting out of a bath when it’s still warm” Because People Don’t Normally Talk in Capitals, and Did Y’all Know I Visited the Capitol in Fifth Grade on a School Field Trip as a “Safety Patrol,” Back When I Didn’t Know the Responsibilities Behind Patrolling a School, Before An Intoxicated Man Intruded My High School Last Year and the School Cop, on Their First Day, Didn’t Know What to Do, so the Local Cops Shot the Intruder in the Same Building I Was in