Matthew Schultz: Mimicry of Souls/Pageantry of Pretention
Image: Unsplash, downloaded https://unsplash.com/photos/HpEDSZukJqk (21.8.2021.)
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.
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.