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Matthew Schultz: Mimicry of Souls/Pageantry of Pretention

Image: Unsplash, downloaded (21.8.2021.)

Correggio’s Psalm

We come to vibrate our souls

in the warmth of sun-smeared

glass where a sacred heart bleeding

upon the stained window shimmers

as if thorns set ablaze, and a rust-red

river licks at the crooked wounds

of our mouths speaking in tongues

that we do not understand. God,

our performance here is mimicry.

Mon Frère

We used to put on slim-fitting blue suits

with brown shoes and walk around the mall

like a pair of proletariat Trojan Horses.

We’d part our hair along the left side

of our skulls and slick it back and to the right,

and then drive our parents’ Nissan sedan

four towns over because the nicest store

in our neighborhood mall was The May Company

and their bathrooms didn’t compare to the stalls

in Neiman Marcus or Saks Fifth Avenue.

We were too young, or too high, to realize

that the shit would always roll downhill. Man,

we would walk around that mall for hours

just watching people from above. Of course

they put all the good stores on the second floor.

We rarely went inside any of them, and never

bought a thing. Mostly, we were there to indulge

in the pageantry of pretention, just to see what

it felt like. But it never worked. In the end,

we’d always climb back into that rusted Nissan,

neckties pulled low so that we could unbutton

our collars and gorge ourselves on Wendy’s 99¢

Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers in the empty parking lot.

Baudelaire never did any of this.

About the Author: Matthew Schultz is the author of two novels: On Coventry and We, The Wanted. Matt’s chapbook, Parallax, is forthcoming from 2River this fall, and his prose-poem collection, Icaros, is forthcoming from ELJ Editions in May 2022.


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The image of Quasimodo is by French artist Louis Steinheil, which appeared in  the 1844 edition of Victor Hugo's "Notre-Dame de Paris" published by Perrotin of Paris.


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