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Two Poems
by Marcos Mataratas

Maybe this is stupid

The elders don't get tired of repeating
How much things are like an old whore
How much art's like an old arrogant whore with Victorian drapes
And dreams are like old speculative whores
Like whores standing on a bridge
In the end everything is like an old whore
And old whores, like drug dealers and fathers,
Attend the school of life
And old whores are mysterious and hard to find
They are sneaky and surprising
They are here and not
Like the free will of the stoics
Who are old whore veterans
Old whores take long vacations and long silent drives
And put on exotic moisturizing cream on their faces.
Like the suicide's answering machines,
The mouths of old whores are filled with maniacal laughter
Old whores live surrounded by fatal phenomenologies
Their teleologies are detachable at night
But the days when that made a difference are over now
And that's how everything is
Like an old whore
So it's hard not to dream when you're 21
Still a young hopeful whore in his peak
But back to old whores who can read
Your destiny through doorknobs you touched in the season of love
Because back then destinies were all the same (badass and whorish)
And no doors were ever left closed
And also because all old whores are amateur fortune tellers
But old whores are never like old whores
Because old whores know what saints know but they know it better


Then they came for the verbs
And their participation in verse was illegalized
with the penalty of indefinite captivity or death,
And shortly thereafter, they all emigrated out of reach,
Some voluntarily, others by force
The first one to go by force was 'do'
They held a ceremony for 'do'
But the third time it wasn't salvoes.
Then they came for 'love'
In the red light district of the Lexicon
It wasn't cupid's arrow that impaled him.
They came for 'drift' and 'float' and 'wander'
No one wanted to say aloud where they were taken
In any case, it wasn't a sauna.
And poor 'escape'
He couldn't hear the color of the button the dying pilot had whispered to him
'Reflect' went in the middle of the night,
It wasn't a mirror someone slid up to the end of his bed
It was his evil twin.
'Know' and 'ask' were found in bed together,
The two holes in their faces were not for smelling perfume.
The death of the legendary 'crying' was called a freak accident by one authority
He said the weeping verb hitchhiking at the bridge didn't feel like a ghost to his Chevy that night.
'Trust' thought the planes were dropping food.
'Return' couldn't get his eviction notice out of his head
Because they had written it on a brick
'Relax' noticed that the needles looked bigger than usual
And the acupuncturist wasn't Chinese this time
They got to 'help' on the side of the road
The tire iron wasn't for her flat tire.
And it wasn't tea that the Russian spy with the lazy eye had given 'find'
Of course some verbs went on their own,
The youthful yet delicate 'Play' was one:
It wasn't celebrating that this epileptic little leaguer was doing in the dug-out
'Fear's' life-alert necklace ran out of batteries
'Go' volunteered at what he thought was a going away circus
But knife-thrower's last balloon didn't pop.
The verbs in the nursing homes went all at once in an unrelated incident:
It hadn't been marshmallows around their pet rabbit's mouth.
And the rest were part of that vast and mostly cooperative migration,

"But what happens when verbs come back to you all at once
after having disappeared?"

This was the unaskable question on the minds of all poetic nouns
Would it be like the sudden occupation of a tyrannical regime?
Like a snowfall overnight?
What would such a life entail?
A death-sentence at best
As the remainders would soon realize (somehow)
When the hospitals became full with the screams
Of hemorrhaging suffixes and infixes and prefixes and circumfixes,
(Tenses were cremated after a botched attempt to cryogenically freeze them. )
Barbed wire and gas-masked question marks
Guarded the old syntactic pathways
through which nouns once happily migrated to the category of verbs
All news of the other side was denied to nouns,
Adverbs were vultures falling dead all around,
As their habitats had been wiped out all in one go
Times got harder, there were many martyrs and murders
Only the mental ward of verbs was left unbothered:
Verbs which made no sense to anyone,
Unfamiliar verbs, verbs gone senile, verbs who had lost their way
Verbs who thought they were nouns
Grunt-like, useless creatures that artistic grammars called verbs
Foreign undocumented verbs,
And in the basement lock-down cells
Were the ones not yet tamed
Or promoted to the status of civilized lexemes
(or listemes) (or morphemes): Feral verbs
The verbs raised in the wild
by violent creatures of silence and thought
Those verbs were left alone.

About the author:
Marcos Mataratas is 21 and from Sonora, Mexico, and Arizona. He has a BA in linguistics. His work is forthcoming in Drunken Boat and Thieves Jargon.

© 2011 Word Riot

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