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Our poetry editor, Joe Pan, has selected two poems by Matthew Rohrer for his series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

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Max Ernst, “Untitled” (1920) (image via Wikipaintings)


I fear a silent man
at public functions
where I come
to pick up my children.
I fear a man
all light, a seraph-man
so sure of himself
and just the steeple’s finger
in the blue morning
where all the public schools
watch the clouds,
that late were rich with light.
By now I am used
to living without the world
inside a gentle prison
of my own
though something
holds my will.
A little spacey
leaning up against
the brick wall
in the winter sun
with all the others
waiting for the bell to ring.


Before the hurricane
of money destroyed it
one of the walls had
painted on it
Give Alms To All Who Ask
and we liked to play there
by the river, the little boy,
while far off a painted
barge disturbed the lilies.
And his friend with anger
set his face towards the city
and shuddered aloud
with a hissing sound.
There is a little
film of this and bright
sprinkler water
on the downtown.
When this boy’s sad mother
sent me a suggestive
email the surge
of spring was in the stream.
And then the hot days, all
at once. With my wife
beside me on the couch
I could not sleep, to see her
move beneath the moon.

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Matthew Rohrer is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Destroyer and Preserver, published by Wave Books.

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Joe Pan

Joe Pan grew up along the Space Coast of Florida and attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His debut poetry book, Autobiomythography & Gallery, was named “Best First Book of the Year”...