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Poetry

Two Poems By Matt Mason

In the Packed Auditorium | By Matt Mason

Warren Buffett eats peanut brittle
live
on stage
in front of forty thousand faces, he
makes it look easy,
picks up a golden chip,
mid-sentence,
uses that same hand to gesture a point to life,
punctuates with a crunch.

You crane your neck for the video screen,
hoping to see the slo-mo replay,
but,
no,

it’s just some
monologue
about picking stocks,
making money.

Flash | By Matt Mason

—from an inch-long news story in the Omaha World-Herald

3am, naked man in Nebraska
drives his truck through a church,
sideswipes a school,
ends up spinning on the State Capitol’s lawn;

he’s wearing nothing but rain and spotlights, his skin
a living glitter ball across the grass,
stepped out a superstar,
blue-red paparazzi pulses flashing breakneck beats
around the streetlight city.

You can’t publicize a show like this.

Too much is the surprise of it,
that, otherwise, would keep you brewing coffee after bedtime
so you could sneak to the church halfway to dawn,
sit with the whole neighborhood; everybody here, the Presbyterians
the Baptists from the red house,
everybody squeezed in the balcony

meditating on the pair of candles
far away as stars
before the scene ignites,
before a choir of rubber and internal combustion blazes up the aisle,
slows like genuflection,
screeches left at the altar, tips the holy birdbath, and parts the side doors like a sea.

Mary just smiles. Jesus
doesn’t even turn his head.

Not a soul notices
how beautiful the Capitol building looks in this rain, confetti of light beams,
orange pickup spinning on the green,
tires spraying mud across the cosmos.

In such a Funkytown spectacle,
you’d think the officers would move more like the YMCA dancers,
leap like antelope, prowl like panthers instead of such
clumsy choreography where they fall on this slickfish naked highlight
and beat his chin into the muck; they lie to the rain, saying:
that’s it for the show,
nothing to see here,
get yourselves home.

About the Author:

Matt Mason is the Nebraska State Poet and Executive Director of the Nebraska Writers Collective. He has run poetry programs for the State Department in Nepal, Romania, Botswana and Belarus. Mason is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and his work can be found in magazines and anthologies including Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry. Mason’s 3rd book, I Have a Poem the Size of the Moon, is due out from Stephen F. Austin University Press in late 2020. Matt is based out of Omaha with his wife, the poet Sarah McKinstry-Brown, and daughters Sophia and Lucia.