Matt Hart

On Beauty, Etc.


Rainy walk at noon

                                    and cold

to get the blood flowing, to make the blood flow

out among the Westwood dogs, the procrastinating

birds that haven’t yet flown     To think about

the object,

“to be recent and strong”

and my friend in New York

playing two accordions simultaneously

on a stage of air mattresses, singing

herself in Italian collapsing

“You Are Gorgeous

and I’m Coming”

With each heavy step

a new spirit within me     an absence as a presence

no machines,

only ghosts

Stay close to experience, I remind myself

Connect another star     These

spasming white flowers, whatever they are


the extremists launch attacks on Kirkuk

Someone laughs hard in an unseen backyard

I breathe in and out to get the recent drugs out,

a surgical procedure, so not of recreation

 “Everything Ravaged,

Everything Burned,”

a story about Vikings, a story about brutality,

waves of love, harsh reality     In a video

at the Contemporary Art Center

Mexican construction workers throw bricks

at each other with joy in their hands, with grins

on their faces

O blood eagle

            I don’t know what

these things have to do

with aesthetics, but

Beauty and Ugliness reign in the brain

and color the world in a wide brilliant stain     Purple

white and green, as the spit turns to snow

The breath

steaming out of my mouth is no angel

                                    “Richlier burn, ye clouds”

The Call Up


Dead or alive, past, present, future

The trees with their balding sudden wigs duly beckon

And business with its greenery, so sick with briefcases

Young fathers and mothers going it alone, tired and alone,

but going it and going it for the good of their own,

which is everybody’s good, a generous choice

They too are beckoned     They too are called

Warlords and cops     Teachers and creeps

The angry, ill, and dangerous      The joyous and becalmed

We can always fall asleep, but we can’t stay asleep

The crickets in our air bags implore us sing along

And the trees leaning now, as if hammered

in the streets, inebriated streets      calling us

and calling us        O storms of the sun      O radioactive

field mouse     We’re running a race against a shadow

with no body, or a body with no shadow, listening at night

as the campfire burns low, its murmur like a fossil

This rollercoaster doesn’t stop       not ever     for some of us

Life’s not of grace, but of missiles and dashed particles       Still lives

winging sadly for a better new tomorrow       Go to the trees, friends,

and see how they grow, which is      as they can      reaching

as they must     in their nature     which is Nature,

their immaculate heads without a single word ever

So much there is to say, which is nothing much to say,

so save your precious breath      unless you can’t

when you can’t     It’s the event, not the structure,

that matters after all, the experience of meanings,

to wonder being called


Matt Hart is the author of Radiant Action (forthcoming, H_NGM_N Books, 2016) and five other books of poems. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he collects dust and listens to Deafheaven.