NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD NAME, M/DD

Matt Shears


Alter(n)ations #54


These offences of comfort, soft offices

of officialdom, we flailed off to Byzantium

our plastic bags full of aluminum cans

and other recyclables, until the shopping cart

broke down outside The Great City.


Gentle Pedestrian, thy tastes are nothing

if not noble, thy savagery a modest distance

from which I view thy ruffles

of cupcakes, contrivances—overhead, the dirigibles

of solemn factoids, the providence of my cultural


acumen. Spring is acumen in, I said

to my fellow pilgrims, and the parlance of Vatican

pigeons is messy messy messy. How I squandered

my simpletons out there in the Public Baths,

how we supposed upon The Symposium


one afternoon before The Centurions arrived.

I’m not one inclined to fury,

but the silliness of my century flutters my heart

and I flatter out here on The Intermediary Avenues

as the immensity just gets bigger and bigger


and more and more meaningless. I’m positively

pregnant with meaning, Gestalt-ish, my whole

is inconceivable, even to me—the mites

in my eyebrows, the microbes in my colon,

I was conceived in the alchemical slimes of a wetlands


now filled with industrial slag and lighted walkways.

And O, I have slogged upon them (my inner recesses)

until I was apprehended by The Enforcement

that arrived just as I was really getting somewhere

with the loons and the geese and the puppies and such.


Byzantium is a lie. I am a lie.

The Enforcement is a lie. I have destroyed The Evidence

and perceive these cyclists with newfound curiosity.

Whirr, whirr, whirr—

O, bittersweetly lickable planet!


This fraudulent search engine! The mechanics

inside my heart are all informants

and they know it and I know it and I am superlatively

sick to death here in this loving totality

that presses upon me like a roomful of pillows—


O brief candle and so forth,

they snuffed me out by the Drive Thru Window

and those bracy teenagers hollered unintelligible things

over the intercom, and the heat lamps persevered,

and the convertibles just honked and honked.


Matt Shears is the author of Where a road had been (BlazeVOX 2010) and the chapbook 10,000 Wallpapers: Alter(n)ations #30-40 (Brooklyn Arts Press). He lives in Oakland, California.

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