The old form:
a fading camouflage
ungripping in slow folds.
It lingers as a gray shadow
surrounding each inch,
itching the sketched newness beneath.
Pieces are prepared to fall.
This shrugged progression glances
the graft of worn and known demeanor,
casting off the familiar
feathers, hair, skin, and scales
issuing a lilting glint of the shifting.
Severance levies a toll:
scales rip like a tooth from gums,
skin has a hint of rot,
hair wads in rolls from licks,
feathers silently serrate away.
These slides of pain proof the completion.
Bludgeons are the strongest coercion
to ply away the surface layer.
Stones and scratching house the relief,
abetting tears and flaking.
Each hard rub and grit scrapes
the escape held contained.
Skims of the peeling image startle:
An aura of flaking mange,
a shroud of decaying linen,
a field ashed black after burning.
All patches unthread uniquely
grotesque, revealing the cycle of revival.
Shucked husks of the past
pile pallid in an abandoned vision.
The forged physique, inside out at last,
splendors smooth with shine and strength,
seasoned through paths and phases
staged body-tight to creased to sleeved to shed.
A Quiet Drink
I keep your brain in a glass jar.
It's what you wanted; you and I together.
I always loved your mind.
After every week of composing in your den
we would come here for a drink.
You would hum your new tunes,
keeping time with your hands,
as we sat at our table.
Your excitement was contagious
and you revealed the mazes of your mind
to me in music and I was awestruck-silent.
Your music became mine.
I was all yours. I am all yours.
Before I leave the house,
I spray your jar with your cologne
and polish the glass invisible and smooth.
Your records play softly from the den.
I dress in the dress you loved,
the dress that one night compelled you
to lean across the table and pull me close to kiss.
The one that makes us both feel alive.
I place your brain jar on your side of the table.
I sit across from you still
lost in the mazes of your mind,
humming your songs to myself,
watching the sweat bead
on your glass of whisky on the rocks.
I finish my drink first and fast
then savor each watered sip of yours
as we both float softly surrounded in liquid,
wrinkled and waiting in our current states.
With the last sip of your drink
you reach a glow in the bar lights,
glistening with the beauty of life
like the choruses and refrains,
codas and crescendos of what you composed.
I hear our music and I am yours.
This is what you always wanted.
I lean across the table and pull you close.
John Wilkes Booth
This grace of
and as a spectre
I’ll rise from
this scene shining
with red speckles
on my white,
About Matthew Porubsky:
I was awarded the Henry and Jessie Jacobs Prize in Poetry from the University of Kansas in 2002, and my first book of poetry, voyeur poems, published by Coal City Press, was the winner of the Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award in 2006. My poetry has been published or is forthcoming in poetry journals including Coal City Review, freefall, The Journal, Little Balkins Review and Flint Hills Review. My documentary film work was awarded a major grant from the Kansas Humanities Council and the Topeka Capital-Journal nominated me Notable Kansan of the Year in Arts and Entertainment in 2009. I live in Topeka where I work as a writer/photographer for an arts and entertainment monthly, seveneightfive magazine, and as a freight conductor for the Union Pacific Railroad.