Two Poems by Matt Dennison

One Block Off Bourbon

The finger-snapping man 
guiding people into 
the nightclub with 
slicked-back hair and 
winning ways sits
on the toilet
head down drunk
tuxedo on a nail
as the street follows 
him up the stairs
up the stairs
into his
room and down
the stairs down
the stairs into 
the street 
down the hall 
in a room 
five feet wide
and twelve feet long
with one wall green
and one wall purple, 
yellow door and
window black,
I lie in bed 
the baby roaches 
that climb my walls
and wonder about myself 
for liking them
as the lights 
and the noise
and the knowing
all fade.

A Difference

Working in the 5 a.m. New Orleans shipyard,
scraping the inner-hulls of monstrous
river-gone grain haulers after
the other midnight-
ending job—

orange rust showering below and beyond
and upon us

we pause to watch from fifty-foot ladders
the Korean crew execute
their militaristic assault upon 
their own spotless

So tiny! So fast!

And strangely

Yes, then.

We return to our union-slow chiseling of rust,
sweeping of water and 
hot private dreams 

of being 

fired and finally 
sleeping the sleep 
of the damned
and the 

Matt DennisonAfter a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans (street musician, psych-tech, riverboat something-or-other, door-to-door poetry peddler, etc.), Matt Dennison finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where he won the National Sigma Tau Delta essay competition (judged by X.J. Kennedy). His work has appeared in Rattle, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He currently lives in a 108-year-old house with “lots of potential.”