Exile    poems by Matthew Freeman February 2021

The Vacuum

If I write an academic poem
it will probably be
on accident.

Every day I tell myself
that when I open my mouth
I’m going to say something
stable and sane
and full of apparent truth.
But then I shout something discordant.

My sister says
I’m obsessed with academia.
I do enjoy talking to professors.
Oh, I know what it is!
I want to be something
and not be something
at the same time.

A cardinal alights near where I smoke.
Before this exile
seeing a cardinal in St Louis
was a rare treat. Let me revert
to college and my he’s-got-his-shit-together
mentor. When I complained my crazy poems
would keep me out of academia, he cried,
Matt, no professors read contemporary poetry anyway.

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