Poetry from Matt Pasca




Inflated fare and snack

bar, dock a glorified

bus station of paler


crowds in ritzy shades and designer

addictions off to bake the day

away in umbrella lounges and easy, unwarranted


laughter. Everything is funny

to the privileged. Especially

privilege. One jokes,


You sure this ain’t the boat to Aruba?

Some have not ferried before. It smells

on us like soiled middle school pants—

a secret that could drop the needle


off the record of the world.

My window clears—smudged

canal posts, white twinkling


on hulls, wigs of grass

tossed back and a stretch of

bay that restores


sight, pulled to a frame

of blue on blue, one spinning from

the other like a motorcycle


ball at the circus, seagulls

scanning our pockets. The ferry

leaves foam in its wake, gas


in the bay, laughter of the tanned—

steam in my ears. Ahead is their place

away from the dross and crude


honesty of statistics, a grid

of quaint paths whose stones spit-

shine tourist feet. In the thick


of the bay, diesel drowns

clotted talk, inlet wind

the engine—


around the corner, an ocean

drowns out everything

but the truth.




He came from a bouncy house on a street lined with bouncy

trees in a town that bounced from the map—tulips from

a magician’s pocket. Mom pulled a bouncy childhood

from her bunny hat, dad a bouncy scholarship from

an ace-stacked deck. It was desperate, you see,


but a bouncy new store decked with quizzical

objects had opened at a mall within a mall within

a mall and he went there one day and fell

in love with a white skirted subway grate, mutton-

chopped rocker and Campbell’s soup can lampshade.


He toed the store’s purple haze like a soldier, Jet

Shark playing chicken with a brooding rebel,

almost answered a half-naked alarm clock screaming Stella!

and velvet banana phone, asked is there anybody in there,

just nod if you can hear me, took the magical


mystery tour, front to back, ducked the raging

bull ceiling fan, horse-head/pillow combination,

fondled the crystal ship in-a-bottle, freewheelin’ down

aisles of blowin’ answers, Bonnie and Clyde money clips,

Nirvana coffee grinders and calendars of months with just


27 days: one for each year all the cool people decided

to live. I’ll take another little piece of Walmart now baby, he told

the shopkeeper and opened his thick, black wallet of freedom,

dialed his friends on the banana phone and said Come quick,

I’ve found myself at the Walt Whitman Mall.




Sometimes the grill-flattened sky is

what it takes to pulverize ego, scatter

ashes through a land you never know,

cauterize the mind, speed your face

over stone, savor the crops of

sweat and patience.


Plaza corners, airport curbs,

hotel desk reunions made

possible by the slowing

of engines, cranking of

clutches, belts lifting to

every language of hello.


Babies drive mothers to neon

semi-circles of sliding glass; taxis

drive lovers to the show; corpses

drive families to stand quaking

in the wind, nodding at a hole

made by a bullet, fired from


a thing whose only story is kill.




Outside the multiplex, still plunged

in a Dolby daze, I did not note him—

on the amber slab of pavement, in

the back seat—my senses tight as


drums, my foot tonguing pedals, her

blouse caressing console, each sound

a tightrope strung from Theatre 10 to home,

where car doors whipped chunk and heels


clicked summer blacktop sheen, maples

flaring hello. Handle clacked, cat meowed, keys

sang across marble and black blazer snapped

over chair posts with a wave of rain. Blade


clunked into wood, apple, spigot, drip, scream

of torn towel—montage crisp, whipsmart.

Audience of curious mouths now groped

for popcorn behind windows, awaiting


precision. The day sucked shut, I rolled

my thankful credits, bare toes breaking

the filmic spell. Though I did see a shaggy boom

over our waiting bed, poised to broadcast


the flutter in my wife’s throat, my mouth

on her neck, the tick of baseboard heat and

beam piercing a silent screen, flooding

our ears with moonlight.


Matt Pasca’s poetry has appeared in over twenty journals, including Paterson Literary Review, Georgetown Review, Oberon, and Pedestal Magazine, and ten print anthologies. His first book, A Thousand Doors, was nominated for a Pushcart and his poem “Receiving Line” won the 2012 Great Neck Poetry Prize. After earning degrees from Cornell and Stony Brook Universities, Pasca signed on at Bay Shore High School, where he has been excavating literature and igniting creativity with students since 1997. A 2003 New York State Teacher of Excellence, Pasca also advises the award-winning literary-art magazine The Writers’ Block. Matt maintains a steady performance itinerary and speaks/runs workshops at colleges, conferences and continuing Ed. programs.  www.mattpasca.com

2 thoughts on “Poetry from Matt Pasca

Comments are closed.