by Matt Mitchell
Matt Mitchell is buckeye songbird electric and stoked to be here. He wrote The Neon Hollywood Cowboy (Big Lucks, 2021) and tweets @matt_mitchell48.
after Keegan Lester, José Olivarez, The Rolling Stones, and Rita Dove
Ars poetica, a kiss of dainty wrists shoveling plump Lunchables into flashlight mouth. A whole love song silk-screened onto a single-stitch T-shirt. There are five vital organs in the average human body. There are six in mine, if you count the tepid faucet of slow-glow lantern light queering through my bellybutton. Ars poetica can be anything. Can be cornbread made of carrier pigeon feather. Can be skimming a Google synopsis of Giant instead of watching the full three-hour film. Because no one has three hours to spend doing anything. It was when the reptiles tried to warn us about the asteroid but no one spoke reptile. That’s why god gave us amphibians. Ars poetica is Halloween III. It’s a hail mary touchdown pass that touches a cloud before landing in a wide receiver’s hands. It’s a hail mary touchdown pass that gets negated because of a holding penalty. A landmine of garlic growing through my mother’s rose garden. The urge to swallow an entire refrigerator at midnight. How I moan your name and you moan mine back. How we spill the beans together until dawn. All of this, it’s an email inbox overflowing with cans of spam. Empty motorcycle sidecars. Boneyards of shopping mall neon. A giraffe terrified of heights. The way we tell our friends we love them in that special I love you way. That’s ars poetica, baby. You better not go off and lose it.