Matthew Freeman: In the Medium
Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/NmPpz1jA_JE) 01.8.2021.
The disorganization of the senses
is recurring quite gently
and naturally. Sometimes I find myself
in the middle of the night
locked out of my room with no shirt on.
I have to sleep on the couch in the basement
until the maintenance guys come.
It’s really a great big allegory.
Then the old criminal feeling comes back
to connive me into sorrow
as Bruckner says Let’s get a drink
and I argue that I’m a raging alcoholic
and he says Oh you’ll drink again
and the flowers in my room are fake
and the clock is going wild
Hellhounds are on my tail.
And that’s a statement completely outside
of the medical discourse. I wonder what
a cognitive behavioralist would make of it.
They couldn’t tell me to turn my demons into angels.
They have no method of incorporating such parole.
Maybe I need to consult a blues singer.
Maybe I’ve been hanging out in all the wrong places.
Stuff to Deal With
I don’t need to be any good with metaphor.
I say again when I left my father’s house
to copy poems at the In and Out
a pit bull was straining at the leash
and trying so hard to get at me
that his young owner could barely restrain him.
Then I saw a tall guy walking
with completely flat body language
and wearing big black sunglasses
like the ones I have
which you can only get
if you’re a psych patient.
I may have seen too much but it was all gravid.
Here at Parkview Place
Red finally freaked out when the desk worker
refused to respond to his entreaties of innuendo
so he punched a great big hole in the glass
and tried to reach in and the cops were called
and he took off and got brought down by a K-9 unit.
Well! I write this on the verge of senility.
I’m never going to die. Once a cop suggested she and her
cohort take me down the hill and beat my ass. That was
thirty years ago. Now when the cops ask me about Red
I say I could see this coming, coming from a mile away.
When You’re Every Person in the Poetry
Whenever I’m reading something
I get the feeling
there’s something I’ve missed.
Maybe I’m resisting.
I thought God
had burned all the fight out of me.
We’ve come to the end of something. Again.
Don’t get me wrong—
I still love everyone and everything.
It’s just there’s no hop in my step and I’m stuck here.
If I ever get a message to go
maybe Chief and I will drive downtown
to embrace the sublimity
and give my wallet to the first vagabond we see.
I used to think I had to know every single philosophy.
But seeing a cardinal alight on a fence is all I need.
Now my nurse wonders if I’m writing.
I can’t complain when I’m the one
who asked for authority. I was born
into this system where the world
isn’t with me at all, and I have to stop
reading things before I get too flooded
with leeway. I’ll say all this to my dear
lawyer and bond trader at coffee in the morning
and ask Ladylove what he thinks
God wants me to do.
Friend Request Sonnet
While I’ve been slogging through the same old shit—
the death of metaphysics and the death
of all epistemology—I quit
the news and take a big deep breath
because now it’s impossible to know
what everyone should know and anyhow
it’s just some people talking on some show
and one’s the same as any other now
in this deluded climate. But I did
send out a friend request to someone cool
and seemingly well-read and hip
and now I feel like the biggest fool
for reaching out in this tattered heap
for all I got’s my name and now it’s cheap.
I’m Supposed to Go Somewhere and Say Something
really interested in psychosis.
They don’t want tales of anhedonia
and flat affect, they don’t want
to hear about the absence of the spirit.
My first move was a renunciation
a murder of manilla folders
and brutal industrial clocks.
So began the destruction of my self.
I never wanted to be like my pastor,
showing up early
and taking his walk, drinking his coffee.
Today when Diana got off
the elevator I had to cough.
You see that it was an act of dispelling.
And now at Parkview Place something’s wrong with the procession.
One minute I’m having coffee
and trying to impress Ladylove. And then
I’m having my last smoke in the shadows wondering
if the couple across the lot can see my hopeful stare.
I can’t really move. Everything’s like looking
In a window blurred by rain. I’m in the medium.
About the Author: Matthew Freeman's latest full-length collection is Ideas of Reference at Jesuit Hall (Coffeetown Press) and he holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-St Louis.