A Selection of Poems from Matthew Borczon

Beethoven’s blues

A black
snake crawls
from under
a rock
like a
slow blues
across a
desert night
while drunken
sailors lose
sight of
the north
star I
think about
how wolves
lead from
behind how
the blind
believe their
other senses
are heightened
it’s a prayer
for the dying
a wish
for the lost
it’s the lies
we tell
ourselves like
Beethoven must
have told
himself as
he wrote
music he
could only
imagine
people hearing

when the train
leaves the station
people only
ever see
the engine
or the caboose
but on the
cars in-between
life happens
rain falls
the earth
trembles as
stars drop
out of
the sky
into the ocean
where humpback
whales turn
them into
songs we
all imagine
but will
never get
to hear.

Thursday

Is a
West Virginia
coal mine
and morning
is a
rope tied
to a
big rock
black coffee
is a pump
shotgun and
work is
a moving
target as
I drive
on ice
with bald
tires wondering
how the world
will end
and will
I be there
to see
it and
does anything
really matter
more than
the road
to work
the weight
of the rock
or the
moments
between sun up
and sundown
I claim
as just
my own.

Deployment #1

I remember
watching the
planes unload
on television
long lines
of the
last soldiers
out of
Vietnam
the news
had interrupted
Saturday morning
cartoons and
I was
angry I
couldn’t watch
Under dog.

Deployment #2

I remember
my first
AT at
Bethesda
Naval hospital
I was jogging
with an
older corpsman
who told
me the
day they
called and
said he
was going
to Iraq
he sat
down on
a curb
and cried.

Deployment #3
I remember
the phone
call I
got at
work a
voice said
maybe
you had
better sit down.

Deployment #4
I remember
the long
lines of
sailors
and getting
three full
sea bags
of stuff
they said
I would
need when
I said
I don’t
even know
what half
this stuff
is they
laughed
and said
you will
need all
of it
anyway.

Deployment #5
I remember
the plane
landing
at night
we were
thrown together
as the plane
bumped down
the airfield
and I
felt like
a swimming
pool slowly
filling with
ice water
as I
realized I
was really
here no
more time
to wonder
of I
was ready
if I
could hack it
if I
was afraid
I was
here.

Deployment #6
Since the
war I
just remember
trying to
forget.

Matt Borczon