Four poems by m.g. martin


types of things

when you pretended to kiss me on the exact piece of skin where my eyelids meet my eye lashes i wasn’t thinking about you or the time between the time it takes the finger to hit a piano key & the sound to sex yr ears or how poorly house plants do when yr always out looking for that one thing that is made of all the other things or how many cigarettes it would take to make the lungs of all the orca whales black as a sky above a place in the world with no light pollution i wasn’t thinking about whales or pollution or being a child or what it was like to be a child or if we will have children or the way yr words taste when it has been raining in the back of yr mind or about the way little things can make you feel so big that you have to hide from other little things like the sound of a mosquito coughing i wasn’t thinking about those types of things or about what it would be like to pretend to kiss you in yr exact piece of skin that yr pretending is not the most beautiful thing since all of the things were named & grew in pulchritude or any other kind of beauty
&nbsp

——

it is raining in brooklyn & this is beginning

the first line of a poem
should really aim its shot for the canon
like:
“The petals of the vagina unfold”¹/“Thunder blossoms gorgeously above our heads”²/“Oh this Diet Coke is really good”³/“In a forest of question marks you were no bigger than an asterisk.”⁴/“It is very stretchy.”⁵/“Fire shimmied & reached up”⁶/“I dug you artless, I dug you out. Did you re-do? You dug me”⁷/“Lady,i will touch you with my mind.”⁸/“You are the candy melting”⁹/“Out of the corner of my eyes”¹⁰/“We measure our names the same”¹¹/“I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.”¹²/“Music and bread, milk and wine, love and sleep: free. Great”¹³/“Alien winds sweeping the highway”¹⁴/“It’s a strange courage”¹⁵/“When the wind works against us in the dark”¹⁶/“Make love to me in Spanish.”¹⁷/“the only place left to shave is inside your ears”¹⁸/“Tell it to the forest fire, tell it to the moon”¹⁹/“We real cool. We”²⁰
&nbsp
so when i write a poem for you it will begin with a first line
like:
b/c we understand the seriousness of things like food allergies
or
how a full spring can be just one summer noon or none
or
we met: i quit looking before i even knew i was looking for it: you
or
we are we: at home. an ice chest old as the smell of a grandparent
or
step into me like the way we fit together like an x-large shirt
or
we are bread & the seagulls look pretty cooperative
or
if we stay radiant we will always behave between each other’s legs
or
once there was you before there were any, just you & a whole sky
&nbsp
¹Richard Brautigan ²Jean Toomer ³Matthew Zapruder ⁴Charles Simic ⁵Kay Ryan ⁶Yusef Komunyakaa ⁷Harryette Mullen ⁸e.e. cummings ⁹Eileen Myles ¹⁰Frank O’Hara ¹¹Aimee Nezhukumatathil ¹²Theodore Roethke ¹³Octavio Paz ¹⁴Bob Kaufman ¹⁵William Carlos Williams ¹⁶Robert Frost ¹⁷Sandra Cisneros ¹⁸D.A. Powell ¹⁹John Berryman ²⁰Gwendolyn Brooks
&nbsp

——

guess who? or don’t touch my vagina

& now i’m doing that crying thing again. where i think about you. your human bird call, making the lark jealous as a face. it makes this keyboard damp with salt droppings. & now i’m staring at the beads on the bracelet you made for me, some glow in the dark, two with my initials “m.g.” staring at the picture k gave me, the one where you are wearing a pink jumper & a lighter pink shirt & i’m wearing the neon pink & blue skateboard shirt. where you are lying on my two foot back with your two foot body & a toothless two inch smile. on my back. staring at this picture & now i’m doing that crying thing again. now t is texting me saying that she wished i didn’t have to hurt & that i’ll see you again. if only it was as lackadaisical as a text to make pictures real & memory travelable. if you were here i’d be nice to you. nicer than the first time, or that time before, like now i’m doing that crying thing again.
&nbsp
we have no skin
yet the band keeps
playing on. a negro
hooded xylophone
sounds prettier than it
sounds when it is watching
you. we are watching
these sounds like ghosts
watching three dimensional
anythings. yet we still
have no skin. we ride
an abandoned carousel
over dressed in only
our two teeth, an orchestra
of xylophones painting
our eardrums black
like the inside of a coffin.
we’ve never had skin
we wear each other
we are skeletal mink
& human tapestry.
yet the music looks
so good
hanging
off our shoulders.
&nbsp

——

poem for t who walks like nina simone

she was always scared & she hid
her intelligence: it had teeth so
sharp it had to call & apologize
the night after it had a hot date
with him. she had the courage of
a drunk divorcee who demands
to slap the bartender for a lack
of anything else to do. but she
had so much to do that she hid it
from it all. she had neurons that
moved like a four armed anime
character dominating the touch
screen of just one smart phone.
in most ways she was perfect
but she was easily sent affright
she’d hide: lost in her own last
name. she was afraid of her
own tongue that it would break
the world. to each their own
box of pandora: hers was herself.
she had follicles that would go
on even after her fear left her
in a form of formaldehyde bliss.
an inch of her hair could cover
the whole of her intelligence &
she had freshly cut
bangs & a blue salvation
army dress the morning she
started sleeping beneath
six feet of earth.
now she walks
like a pimping
madam &
pulls me across
the street against
the light as my
tiny heart jumps
& starts living in
my throat that is
not intelligent
enough to tell
her that she is a
synonym for
ferocity. long
live she.
&nbsp

——

m.g. martin is the author of One For None (Ink., 2010.) His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in PANK, Shampoo, ZYZZYVA, & Short, Fast and Deadly among others. m.g. is a co-producer of Literary Death Match NY. Find m.g. at mgmartin.tumblr.com & on twitter as @themgmartin. He lives in Brklyn with the poet Tess Patalano & the dog Ihu.