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The Blog Bog

The Mag Rack


WHY A CAR IS NOT A GUN


Sometimes the grill-flattened sky is
what it takes to pulverize ego, scatter
ashes through a land you never know,
cauterize the mind, speed your face
over stone, savor the crops of
sweat and patience.
Plaza corners, airport curbs,
hotel desk reunions made
possible by the slowing
of engines, cranking of
clutches, belts lifting to
every language of hello.
Babies drive mothers to neon
semi-circles of sliding glass; taxis
drive lovers to the show; corpses
drive families to stand quaking
in the wind, nodding at a hole
made by a bullet, fired from
a thing whose only story is kill.
        
Matt Pasca
__

THE FERRY

Inflated fare and snack
bar, dock a glorified
bus station of paler
crowds in ritzy shades and designer
addictions off to bake the day
away in umbrella lounges and easy, unwarranted
laughter. Everything is funny
to the privileged. Especially
privilege. One jokes,
You sure this ain't the boat to Aruba?
Some have not ferried before. It smells
on us like soiled middle school pants-
a secret that could drop the needle
off the record of the world.
My window clears-smudged
canal posts, white twinkling
on hulls, wigs of grass
tossed back and a stretch of
bay that restores
sight, pulled to a frame
of blue on blue, one spinning from
the other like a motorcycle
ball at the circus, seagulls
scanning our pockets. The ferry
leaves foam in its wake, gas
in the bay, laughter of the tanned-
steam in my ears. Ahead is their place
away from the dross and crude
honesty of statistics, a grid
of quaint paths whose stones spit-
shine tourist feet. In the thick
of the bay, diesel drowns
clotted talk, inlet wind
the engine-
around the corner, an ocean
drowns out everything
but the truth.

        Matt Pasca


THE MAHATMA'S SANDALS

Amuck with off-pitch
dreamers sealing nightmares
in Rubbermaid totes stacked
in fibrous pink attics, flying
prescription highs, fatting
hero calls like factory swine
so they won't beckon again.

(Before, in a time of swaying
oak and doorbell charm, we were
not so afraid, were clean
gigabytes of space, did not
buy shrink-wrapped promise
to drape over hours
aglow with summer dirt.)

But news keeps breaking
at finish lines, in hoodies
and 1st grade classrooms,
at the mall and northbound
on the thruway. Heartache
triaged by font size, length
of unbroken coverage,

eyewitness video, proximity
and body count mathematics.
At each airport, our President touches
down, unbuckles a eulogy. Why vigil
here? For which rupture
did our flag descend? I want to know.
I want to not know.

As a boy, my downy pre-sleep
convulsed with horror: into the gap
between ego and mystery flashed
skull-cracking rocks, flesh-shredding
blades, lungs popping under the sea.
Now, everything to lose, bullets
pock my falling sons, love

drains from my wife's balding
scalp, my spine folds at the grill
crush, accordion of loss. Preemptive
suffering-my oldest practice.
And every morning I am light,
having burrowed a way through
grief. But there are bombings,

campus sprees and so much ignored:
girls buried alive in an earth whose mothers
say raising a daughter is like watering
a neighbor's tree, where packs of boys
strut drunk on beer and invincibility,
where 300 million guns sleep like stars-
by the time one shoots,

something's already dead.
Call me Pollyanna-
there simply are no slots left
to wedge another fear. You can keep
your realism, too; it told me to wait
for my father to die and ran
off with my childhood.

Today, Gandhi's sandals,
stitched in violation of British
law by a man the Empire called terrorist,
sold for 19,000 at an English auction.
What will we bid
to walk in peace?

        Matt Pasca__

NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
(ODE TO GEORGE P.A. HEALY)


My boys are six
and three and I cannot hold
them-feet wheeling gold
frame humming Hail
to the Chief from George

to George they dash-
42 men whose birthdates,
VPs and spouses they rattle off
nightly in the bath. Hour
number two: my arms

sweat under sloughed jackets
while Tyler's veins simmer
blue comfort, Pierce grits
his handsome despair, Lincoln
scans shadow floorboards

and Grant grins, sober
at last. Plush drapes
and lit wick, mobs a distant
whine, our leaders stared for
you, American master,

French taught-both painter
and canvas. More powerful men
than any throne can claim leaned
toward your trenchant
brush. What made them

crave your hands and creased
brow? How did you hold
their heat, crushing
size? Why did they freeze-
save for a lone hair ticking

in the draft, or paper, thumb-loosed?
I cannot save this
for when my sons are known
by life or tales
of men rounded

into bunkers of soot and orange
ash-blackened beds,
of brothers clashing like
lions, ground
split into blue and grey

and red, while you
softly mixed
brown and white.
If I were like you, I
could study their faces

and remember.

        Matt Pasca__