Matt Morris

Terminal Hotel

       A scarlet bow adorning her tulle gown
so ludicrously large that she appeared
gift-wrapped, she strolled,

              her portmanteau in tow, down
sidewalks littered with shops displaying weird
graffiti, past a groaning drunk, a cur
that barked, a bottle blonde in torn fishnets
on the stoop,
               & through the revolving door
that turned into the lobby’s faded velvet,
lost as a fawn. The goateed hotel clerk
greeted her. Smiling kindly, he made chit-
chat & tea, even offered half his tur-
key on rye before schlepping her worn suit-
case to her room,

              where, drawing the blinds, he
soon bore the satyr’s physiognomy.

 

The Moon Is a Hole

that lets the netherworld in,
so I’m not surprised
when I answer the door to
find my great Uncle
Zeke (1899-
1970)
standing on the stoop, mashing
the bell, his three-piece
pinstripe burial
suit wrinkled & reeking of
brimstone. Before I
can say whatthehellyousmell
likeweekoldfish
, he
wobbles into the living
room & makes himself
comfortable on the couch.
Brushing decay off
as if so much dandruff, he
explains that he’s come
to warn me about
the afterlife, though mostly
he’s just butchering
Dante worse than, I don’t know,
Mandelbaum (Carne-Ross,
The New York Review
of Books
, December 20,
1984). Hell’s full
of celebrities
,
he says, citing Canto I
or another, but
they’re all goddam hateful two-
faced money-grubbing
fornicating heathen pig
hooligans or worse,
so don’t expect them to sign
your autograph book
.
Then, with a wink, he holds up
an ordinary
banana that he pulls out
of his coat pocket
& without peeling it first
miraculously
proceeds to slice it using
only needle &
thread into, voila, the nine
rings of hell. He waves
his hand in a grand gesture
& waits, I suppose,
for some sort of magical
conversion, but—
                        Well,
any-hoo
, Uncle Zeke sighs,
hiding his disappointment
unsuccessfully
as he rises from the ash-
covered couch to dust
his trousers before he goes,
you got to admit,
that’s a nifty little trick
.

Author Portrait

Matt Morris has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, such as DMQ, 88, Hunger Mountain, New York Quarterly, and Runes. He has received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, as well as Best of the Net. Nearing Narcoma, his first book, won the Main Street Rag Poetry Award. Knut House Press published his latest collection, Walking in Chicago with a Suitcase in My Hand.