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Mathias Svalina is the the author of five books, including Destruction Myth (Cleveland State University Poetry Center), Wastoid (Big Lucks Books), & the recently released The Wine-Dark Sea (Sidebrow Books). He is an editor for the small press Octopus Books. Since 2014, Svalina has run the Dream Delivery Service & ran a similar project for the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver in 2015. In the fall of 2016 through the summer of 2017 he will be delivering dreams in other cities, including Richmond, Tucson, Marfa, Austin & Chicago.

2 poems by Mathias Svalina







Summer leaves me

nothing to disprove.


All the scabs

are gone


& left behind

is something born


a thousand times,

a slickness


of renovation,

of disaster.


I was reborn

so many times,


& so many times

I fucked it up.


I played my part.


But that’s not what’s interesting

what’s interesting


is something I can’t

find a way to say


without guessing

at what I was


in all the broken couches

of the day


without guessing

at what I am


without tracking

bad water back


from the ocean

to the shore


to the river

to the sink


without guessing

what’s before me


in the dark



of the world

we love,


a catalogue, an aspect

reflected onto


each body encased

in its preferred shackle


each body

a body of dust


held together

by its own careful gravity.


Insight, wisdom, clarity:

these things


mirrors hold

against us


in the drawn form

& pressure


of the body

in relation


to the body’s











A ritual grief

a journey on

the borders

of loss.


Shackles custom-fitted

to the shape of our desires

so they look like our desires

so you can’t tell

where the shackles end

& the garden begins.

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