Issue 6 – Summer 2004 – Matthew Cooperman

Matthew Cooperman



“Once a child of a man” is the child of a man. Years as seas 
disabusing the mythic, turning one into oneself. Whither? How?
What? Why? To say the gyre widens, and the tale has many 
Troys. At any rate it’s late. The seed has split, the chad 
is hung. The every day no consequence, and the lover emerging 
from crash. American trellis, to grapple with bloom, 
that a good life is organic things learning how to grow.

Or growing, yes?, the swell of others, writing the book 
to lose the girl. St. Augustine willed an androgynous angel, 
as the world may be imagined, cheek to cheek. His victory 
by solitude: to confess. Our sex is many deaths.
Still, the plot has someone in it. The singer’s keen. An honest 
confusion of sound with saying. “One curious force awaken the divine.” 
Brave Ajax at the microphone. “There was a farm where goats 
and combs of honey.” Promised green genius of calving,

second marriage. Cycles of. Narratives that. Wild eyes
in mushroom shit, loosing face to find un autre. A boat?
Helen, in and over to some other side I seems to remember a we. 
The frontier or the drought. “How easy to slip into the old mode, 
how hard to cling firmly to the advance.” The man in full
assorted. The trying to say for three lifetimes, “he attained 
a generous perception and tended a small garden.”



Such huge flowers one must pray for, stitching the instance of bloom 
to a daily cloud. If it came, ultimately, to salvation, then why 
three seeds in the mail? Or three days and a tower of books, 
or three catalpas and an abundance of pods?

So many songs called human. And they were singing and we were singing, 
Day’s true voice of many next to, like talks-with-his-eyes-closed, 
or leaping-salmon-jam-session. To call it one mouth is to rate 
carbon forms a true engine. At the reception it was Doris and her 
sweet sexiness, hope in white lace and old hymns. They called it 
marriage and asked us all to join hands. One comic mouth, 
like a happy Bergson, enjoying eternal return. “Try it today 
and be thankful tomorrow,” a post post dureé showering gold, 
and a friend who gave it to me, and rue for my lack of response.

Sunflowers, and the limited corruption of turning to face the light. 
Each with their heads out bending best they can, our reading the passage 
into a personal ocean. Desiring the petal, achieving it, no doubt to be 
Jacob or Job, the vexed synth of to be exactly the labor of prayer. 
The friend who gave them to me worked the ground, and I tripped 
on watering, and made amends by cultivation. A living ratio 
in the tides. Gloriat Dei. To stretch and pull. 



We had to buy lawn chairs at Target, was the blue and green shape 
of delay. Vaguely Mexican food not eaten on the long drive down, 
the clouds doing walking exercises across the sere lake bed. 
Soon it was hot springs and the vertical rise of the Sangres. 
To name a mountain Christ is to make a belief something palpable. 
We camped at the shining hem, sure to be awakened by the coming rain. 
Was sand or sex or the movement of rivers over time. That this dune 
remained unclimbed was the first break in our hearts. Del Norte, to call it

a gateway. We bored a shaft to Lake City in a twice-rolled Toyota,
the miner’s fright ringing our eyes like raccoons. What was the helm 
of discomfort? To say “passionately this land” is not the same as poetry. 
We met Ron and Rho at Poker Alice’s, had calzones and espresso shakes. 
Was enough to get us to daylight, but no tenderness. The need for holding 
dearly to the passing tense. Who would’ve thought the kind wafer
that bound these years would be so absent? Christ remained regrettably

a mountain, and our fallible selves laid out on the wagon-wheel 
bedspread like “self-sufficiency,” like “martyrdom.” Mere volubility, 
the miles go by. Oh, for the love of praise say why. The shape 
of delay? We had it all along. Was something called intimacy, fear also.



Matthew Cooperman is the author of Surge (Kent State,1998) and A Sacrificial Zinc (Pleiades/LSU, 2001). A chapbook, Words About James, is forthcoming from Phylum Press in 2004. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Notre Dame ReviewVersePleiades, Pool andMaisonneuve. He currently teaches poetry in the MFA program at Colorado State University.



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