Let’s All Write a List Poem!

by Paul Mathers

This form is simple. A List Poem is what it sounds like: a poem where you list something. Whitman, Ginsberg, etc., are invoked in the description. No specific meter or structure are demanded by the form, so let’s dispense with the explanation and get to the poem.


My Education

by Paul Mathers


Old photo pre-double digit me in Halloween homemade Mr. Hyde.

Lord knows how I came by the indictment of Victorian morality tale,

but there I was towheaded child in cheap top hat and cape, fangs and fur.

The photo was a key!

Thirty six year old me remembers

and remembers contemporaneous Incredible Hulk obsession

and click:

the older brother wrestling, pinning, trying my hardest and failing anyway,

the ill advised prized possession to school where they take it from you, throw it around, run it from you faster than you can go,

‘Influenza’ so called because of its pre-germ theory unseeable journeys and my hands chapped from washing,

The girls, there’s only so handsome I can get, so I pick smart and crazy as my strategy,

the skinhead who tried to show me a video of a woman struck my a train, the emotional recall is still there for the tapping,

the shackles of poverty, to buy bread or the want ads?

the unfolding onion to weep over humanity:

learning murder, burglary, vandal scofflaw rapery,

lying in wait in every corner of every mirror,

and learning of terrors to hold of plague, overdue asteroid, the volcanic uppercenter of my country, polar shifts,

and cancer and AIDS and stroke,

that trip to Salem museum where the most pious turned to burning and hanging neighbors like bleeding school of sharks,

that peer with the excruciating eight hours on acid taken again and again for companionship and manufacturing stories,

that eternal silence, most noticeable after praying,

the glee of de Sade in the youthpastor showing end times show beheadings, beast marks, corny giant venomous locust, vanishing loved ones,

all of which my education:

the hand of mankind held out with,

for my grasping, the one consolation anyone can have: depravity.

And, ah, that hand was so warm and the universe so cold.

the Lie: I was never stronger than anything.