by Matt Stangel

Humidity is the loose mid-section of a hang-rope,
less frayed, more weathered,

catering its O to the shape of the ravine.
Thursday the new Friday?

Panama shifting. If tidal line? If mountain range?
If steam boat dragging a lattice

of sunlight passing through leaves,
then smoke? If not wide as airplane strip?

If fatter than anaconda sitting on the river bank,
immovable, with a large form getting smaller and slowly

closer to its tail? The leather of a wet strip of mountain,
its painted relation to a low glaze of cloud,

and somehow being inside that wetness,
the skirted balm of low forest.

The isthmused air is boarded by a tangle of gnats—

where my arm passed through,
the bugs twitching at equidistant points, velcro of sweat and hair,

If laying a herringbone is like giving a prison tatt?

If trout spawning in river shallows like zigzag bricks,
farm-raised, unprepared for the florescent lighting of the barb?

If blind dwelling, a stone making cataract window eye,

the light inside, not getting brighter,
but passing through easier and in spikes that waver as cars pass?

If dropping a stack of business cards
in front of the elevator, the marbles squares of the lobby catching window light?

They make the ink with lead and toothpaste,
or the liquid of a burnt chess piece,

a string wrapped around the needle to keep the black,
settling, taking thinner shapes around the river wind.

It may all be a fiasco of sunlight, how much of it your skin keeps,
an allowance of mutation, and the low thinning sky.

A brick decreased like coral,
its pores hollowed in sub-ultraviolets.


Matt graduated from VCU in 2008 with a B.A. in English and a minor in writing. He currently writes and makes music in Portland, Oregon. As a journalist, essayist, and critic, Stangel’s work has appeared in Utne Reader, Portland Mercury, Oregon Arts Watch, IntoTheWoods.tv, Willamette Week, Style Weekly, and elsewhere. His poems have made it to the pages and internets of the Sonora Review, Hoboeye, And Review, and beyond. In September of 2012, a collection of Stangel’s music titled Interface Lakes was released by The Real Future Recording Company under the moniker import/import. Additionally, he plays in a band called No Phone. In 2013, Stangel will begin his studies at the Attic Institute in Portland, under Matthew Dickman.

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