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Sample Poems by Anthoy DiMatteo

A Square Inch

A square inch of wilderness
is a beautiful problem.

Over it, the one and the many
fight for dominance.

Entire nations stake it out.
It buries their borders,

rusting the barbed wire
that would mark its limit.

Its battered silence enters us,
commanding a truce.

Honey pours from its parched lips.
One taste haunts a lifetime,

dangerous as the bait
that opens a mouth.

I love to float in it
spit into an emptied cup.

It strays out nearby,
crumpled mountain in a bed sheet.

A nodding inch of wilderness
sleeps in a pocket,

lucky charm between fingers,
worry bead, stone in a river.

Less than an inch can sink a ship
or open a crevasse in the heart.

One lights a candle inside it
to learn what light is.

It sends up a flare in us
when we have lost it.

We swap a square mile
in stories over a fire.

Smother it? It turns into
a river. Channel it?

It lights off to the high
desert. Attempt capture

and hear the key turn
as desire escapes the bed.

An ancient order of night rises,
and the dogs want out.

Try to measure any inch?
Here the ruler bends a man,

there it sways a woman,
loving a smile she holds fast.

Nor can we say in the end
that's all we have. It's what we'll be.

A square inch of wilderness
turns to dust in any hand.

From the Standpoint of Eternity

From the standpoint of eternity,
everyone is ugly in some way
and beautiful in some way. It's not
about appearance but putting to use,
the use of mucus by the mollusk
or an idea if an idea's at stake.

Who has eyes enough to keep up?
Now a drifting cloud and June bug
take cover in a shadow at my feet.
My son flies past, hands dirty from the dog
green with goose dung, digging a kernel out
from between his teeth, fingers stuffed
like an octopus jammed in a bottle.

The braiding of things exceeds our reason.
Sometimes beauty's mark has been stamped
deep within one's cheeks. I mean no offense,
for who has not seen a mole in such places
live or hermetically sealed in a duplication of it?
So many minds, so many flavors. The June bug
will love it when lawns go out the glory hole.

To appreciate this beauty, one straps on the goggles
logicians call the imaginary standpoint of eternity,
to see a thing quid est, as such, at the moment
it reveals its true essence. Think of how
a hiccup from God sounds. Or how a last
kiss, if the lovers only knew, tastes.


You were half-drowsing but woke
at the end of the news the way we typically do.
I had stayed awake, repeating under my breath
the words Kurtz mumbled at the end,
"the horror, the horror. "What's happened?
you asked. "Someone running for president
was accused of molesting boys
by a woman's coach? When I unpinned
the two stories for you, you gasped.
When I said the abuse happened at Happy Valley,
you said I joked or must have fallen asleep
and fused a commercial for maple syrup
or Scoobie Do's birthplace with the news.
"No, I said sadly. "It's where we used to live
and make love, so an old, old story goes,
before we digested the fairest of apples -
one a day does not keep the coach away.
And then we folded our hands together,
knowing that they tented a happy place
never to make talk-shows or the news
though perhaps as common as to make
a liar either of God or his snake.


The word's been bounced about in gas stations
as you're pumping way, spectral drops
in the rain. You resent the rainbow
that serpent makes. The word's bellowed
out a bar door flooding with night
after a tab's been left behind. Who's
going to pay it now? Just beautiful.
You look away from a flag in your head,
the black stocking flexing out of a car,
a gold chain flashing by, Christmas lights
in April, surface effects, not the real thing.
You want to save it for some special occasion
like the time you had to close the clinic door
on the girl looking in your eyes for hope,
but then you would not dare think it.

Hundred Feet Up and Six Down

In the strange light of day
people walk about casting shadows.
This is important to recognize.

I said this to my friend whose name
was on the line. He asked why.
"Hundred feet up, who hears our noise?

"But I don't live in the clouds,
he scoffed at me. I told him
that's half the problem to a T.

In the strange light of day
shadows walk among people.
We come to see them by and by.

My friend said this to me
but I did not understand.
Now she claims an urn for title

where she churns a little cloud,
and to reach her I'd have to journey
a quick six feet down.