alwayS yOuR dimly lit mysteRies,
the untOld story from your WhiTE promoNTory,
yOUR unEARTHLY GLINT reFINISHING EARTHLY CITIES.
entrust yOUR most CYNICal lyric to me,
my SurrePtitIOUSly moving STONE mUSE,
anD i promise TO pREACH lost sermons
from yOUR pulPIT OF glowing DUST,
to hum innumerable sLUMBERing lullabies,
to growl and bark like Laika, the stray and homeless
lost Russian space dog, shot into space and FORGOTTEN.
This is her SONG. I am NO one, moon,
but i would claim you AS my own Glowing soul.
Since you Refuse, And eVen my InsulTs don’t phase You,
i must challenge you to a duel.
i INVITE the void of outer Space
into my chest to speak its secrets.
i know yoU will Shine as you always do in reply,
floating aTOll in THE sky, SILENT like a BLACK HOLE,
and promise implicitly TO KEEP EACH SECRET.
you’ll wIn the nighT With yOur white coNTinuities,
for who’d resist Light which crEaTes
waking creme-colored DREAMS
to COMFORT INSOMNIACS,
FADING SHADOWplayS for hypNOgogues,
a faraWAY couNtry fOr RUNAWAYS,
ONLY a COLD, soLIPSistic utopia FOR FOOLS.
Come near, dear seeker, for your fiery sphere’s
a flaming ball balanced on my prehensile tongue.
I will teach you the last words of arsonists,
drunks who hang themselves, and self-immolating monks.
I will teach you the kick that decapitates lions,
the hum that unleashes hyenas
that steal artillery from Ugandan warlords.
A chest of drawers will open in your left leg
and your darkest secrets will slither
from your subconscious into the ears
of your true love like sweet-talking serpents.
After I burn through you, you will no longer feel fear.
Your landlord will ask you for rent and you will pay him with lava
that you salivate into his palm.
You will pay him by starting his slumlord apartment on fire.
You will tell him that you only really live
in the corner of a Dali painting
where a giraffe is aflame. You and your landlord
and all your friends will all want to be like me
so you will start a stilt-walking school for fire-eaters
and be routinely struck by lightning.
After you retire, you will donate your eyes
to the invisible blind beggar
who rides on my burning back,
the only man on earth who knows the way to the stars.
You’ll grow a third heart which has a small door.
You will walk through the door
and see the alabaster camels who slowly drink
from the lakes of the moon.
You will feel like confetti falling in the Serengheti.
You will be a jewel painters only dream of painting.
Falling stars will strive to find you
on dark and starry desert nights.
This is the forest. Everything I make almost
automatically comes from the forest.
Your fortune was hideous
in the nursery of your desires
the way it squirmed
when it was swallowed by a bird,
but now, my friend, it has hatched
into something embarking from a dark forest.
It was scary, how it crawled out
of that fossilized egg with as many legs
and feelers as a centipede. But it was
greeting you. You tried to swaddle it
with a giant adult diaper
but soon realized clothing was pointless
because it immediately wanted to breed.
I’m sorry to report that matters have progressed.
Your fortune has a hundred heads
and has built its own murder hornet’s nest.
The noise is unbearable.
Each head speaks a different language
and is learning its own way to hate you.
What happens next is anyone’s guess.
I’m telling you, you better feed your fortune fast
or it will haunt you until you’re dead.
You can’t starve it or lie to it like this.
Right now it’s shrieking like a freaked-out gull
and gazing down like a vulture overhead.
You can’t just sit there on your throne
acting like you’re Mr. Culture
continuing to pretend it does not exist.
You need to climb up there in the flimsy limbs
and whisper to the last egg
from the thorniest treetops of hope.
Do this before your fortune
builds the roost of your worst fears,
steals the angel of death’s head
and wears it around, cooing
to your livingroom like 100,000 doves,
a raving aviary of ruin
that obliterates all you love.
Matt Schumacher edits the journal Phantom Drift and lives in Portland, Oregon. Recent work has appeared in Bombay Gin and Miracle Monocle. His chapbook of prose poems, A Missing Suspiria de Profundis, was published by Greying Ghost Press in 2019.