matt hart



Exhausted Again For No Good Reason


but I should be preparing
for the grand finale or at the very least
for tomorrow morning’s discussion
of Frank O’Hara where I’ll say
he had good lungs and hammered
away at the world O woodpecker
which is almost like saying nothing at all
or simply Splat! or last night I went to bed early
so woke up this morning at 6AM
and started working but got nowhere and now
it’s dark again and outside my neighbor Paul is
raking or sweeping I can hear him
loud and clearly I must be dreaming
as this can’t possibly be for real     can it?
back and forth and upside down
my natural state of the natural dis-union
42,000 ridiculous selves all disunited
as tripped-over shoelaces as green jacket
and purple tie as onions in a bag
in the bottom of the pantry
and I do this I do that singing
without my net my lawnmower
or half a mind to carry even an inkling
of meaning or 1-2-3-4 strawberries just like that
in my heart what grows on trees is not art
but merely nature which hates
absurdity O homunculus
you know what I’m talking about
and so does O-the-woodpecker
still banging against me like a jack hammer
making a racket I hardly recognize as mine
tittering and transmuting my blunders
into mysteries     for instance why
any picture of a sunflower disturbs me 
big dumb fiery head on a stalk
bad mouth with nothing but teeth
records forever in the background skipping
foul smells and mortal coils and sleeping pills
descend on me in the night like owls in the dark
like crashing with an avalanche tomorrow
I’ll say take out a blank sheet of paper
and tell me why is the sky is so corpse-like
why is everybody always late to the party
why every night no disco no lovely no brand new bicycle
I’ll say compare and contrast
I’ll say mean it and weep
I’ll say have a wonderful day because most days you won’t
no way you can keep this up forever




Completely By Accident


I was in a fix.

I was sloshing with joy.

I was looking at my feet and my feet looked good.

I said to my apartment, “I am a tiger. I am an iron,”
then cleared my throat and hollered, “Yahtzee!”
into the jungle.

No vapors intervened to banish the quiet from my soul,
and nobody looked in the mailbox either.

I have always understood “nothing” as a series of zeroes

and imagine the clouds as if I myself were a cloud,
as the hiss of a slow-leaking tire requires.

No one delivers the ice that I ordered.
No one controls my remote from the forest.

Where is my pet rock when I’m needing her the most?

My little retriever with a stone in her bladder?

From the myths of beginnings to possible worlds,
I have often been wrong about philosophy in public.

When I boiled this evening’s lobster this morning,

I screamed and invented a monster.



MATT HART is a co-founder and editor of Forklift Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, & Light Industrial Safety.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Canary, Lungfull! and Ploughshares, among other journals, and can be seen online in DIAGRAM, H_NGM_N, and Octopus.  A chapbook of his work, Revelated, was recently published by Hollyridge Press, and his first book, Who’s Who Vivid, is forthcoming from Slope Editions.  He teaches writing and aesthetics at the Art Academy of Cincinnati.