Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 2
Fall 2010

[Three Poems]

Matt Hart

So Sad I Once Felt in a Bucket

So sad I once felt in a bucket,
then died.  Then green and red-
pink, I spied a world much darker
than mine, a world in the sink
and one going down the drain.
Weirdly, they were singing
weirdly.  They were in a hurry.
They must have known
the plumbing, and they must have
known the transistor of milk—
how to read in the absence
and keep going—something
I did not.  And this is why
sadness has overwhelmed me
and left me looking sidewise—
not to ruin, but to future’s future
swirling the not of me, carrying
a poisonous and heavy metal ball.
I am not graceful, but I know
about shadows, and I know
about the blizzards of voices
mostly beaming.  We aren’t really
dying, only losing definition,
delimiting our meaning
for a future generation.
When the rain hits my bucket
I open my face, and the sea crashes
into me, renewing possibility.  This life
is only a revision in the making.
There’s always more darkness
to sew into light.


Both Fuck-Up and Flood

Another deep breath, and I can really feel the fire.  I wake up
typing.  I wake up a typist.  It’s June in my face, the sun
like a floodlight, breaking my head into noon into sweat—
and I hate sweat, but have mostly gotten used to my broken-

open head.  Have mostly gotten used to this swamp
we call summer.  But this front porch, our newly cut grass,
and ten thousand other things are all things

I don’t hate.  Don’t hate in the slightest, both description
and command.  Glass of water with ice.  Cypress mulch
and lightning bugs.  Then the soul I hear is hard to find
in a song I can’t stop playing, and don’t want to,

because it’s the first song in a long time that makes me
respond whether I can help it or not.  The chorus revs up,
and every time I almost cry.  I almost write a letter

to the singer from my porch, but I don’t.  Instead I enjoy
being in it and the lyrics pouring over—or pouring out of—me
like a mouthful of rocks, and each its own question how to be
without the devil, always loose and ever after in a life kind of

kind/kind of not.  I’d like to be an angel or the moon of some
dumb planet, but I wake up both fuck-up and flood in amazement.
It’s father’s day today, and I am somebody’s father, which is still

sort of unbelievable even all these years later.  But incredibly
I think I’m pretty okay at it, probably better than some, probably
not as good as others.  I type it, so I can see what it looks like
in the light.  A glass of ice water and some books.


History Lesson

And when it was finished, the sound was the sound
        of a car door jamming.  Or the sun was going crazy
down the street with a pinkness, its core
        with a sweetness, its tentacles machetes.  “Care

        about something deeply and then demonstrate those depths,”
the sentence echoed down the hallway, out the door
        across the meadow.  The silence so complete

it didn’t matter who was listening or if nobody was
        or ever would again.  But that was now, and this is then.
I thought a long time how to walk into the future,
        chin held high and in love with every difference—yesterday

        and tomorrow, myself and the chameleon.  These days
say some things I need to say clearly.  I will not regret ever
        jumping over the horizon, even though the first time

nearly killed my existence.  And now through my window
        there is no bay to speak of, so instead I speak slowly
of a man looking busy.  Or surly.  Or lovely.  What’s so real
        is hard to tell.  Hell has a way of falling over

        to be happy.  I am full of happy hell and satellites,
and wishing wells.  It’s my job to know this with my pockets
        mostly empty.  I return to the scene feeling blasted.


“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury