Michael J Pagán

The law came around claiming\

“A man isn’t exactly a landmark,” but
I’m not going anywhere—just walking

I then quoted: “From memory, a murmur.”
Something gone wrong
with the silence; the gravity
of all this:

A row of pigeons on electric
wire—a hearty, mum love in paces—and
what is it exactly to hold a man
in one’s belly? And what is it about
a laugh?

“A Laugh”: the body’s cabbage; an accent
that reminds one of cabbages
and unscheduled social tea; the wonder-filled
mildew of a living room, while raining
in the middle of the day; every gag
found inside a drawer; spilling now
its pieces over the carpet—
bottomed out.

This was the way
of the modern world.

I once blessed a cow\

like stains
on a banana and time, indeed, is
a sly cow with potato sack skin
and different words for ambition:

“Stump grinding”: Dying
on your feet while smelling of
the outside while breaking the rain
with a paring knife revealing
single-sheet, love-spelling

Or drowning in a puddle
while cuffed underneath
a signpost reading:
“If this here sign appears underwater
then the road is impassable.”
But, what is the rain?

An afterword; a gargling
of lines; a paraffin face—unknowable,
with a loose, backwater tongue:
“Sleep my child, sleep now.”

“Or else he’ll come—”

With the uncomplicated groin.

“—and chaw your bones.”

He abandoned his face.
His jaws a topless drawer, though I
still shake his palm, mindful
not to touch fingertips.

His skin, thoughtless as he spoke
“Sleep my child, sleep now,” just before
I could ask him: What is the rain?

And then he read the first page
to me: “Froth a bit with peril,
like the bottom of a mop.”

A Hero’s sip\

is that necessary wreck
that warns us.

I imagined my father a wholesale
coal salesman: “I’ll be home again
before this time,” he’d say.

I’d want to copy him using
my hands, though I’m sure
I can rearrange, like knocking
on a wall of a house blown apart
by a bomb in search of more

A hero’s sip is a trick
of desperation. More, the archaeology
of a man, like round stones sewn
just under the skin.

Men, their imaginative
truth and so many, naked, are
awkward human beings—a skinned knee
of awkwardness; a cry in plural;
a life worth knowing about:

“There doesn’t exist a more suitable landscape
than a naked landscape.”

The curse of proximity; of“up-stairing.” There are prints
in the wind more suitable for asking
the question of men making
their own histories.

And they are ruthless.

Author Portrait

Born and raised in Miami, FL, Michael J Pagán spent four years (1999-2003) in the United States Navy before (hastily) running back to college during the spring of 2004. He currently resides in Deerfield Beach, FL with his wife and daughter where he continues to work on his writing. He is also a contributor to his alma mater's blog, The MFA at FAU. His poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama and blogs have appeared or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, DIAGRAM, Passages North, Pacifica Literary Review, Spork Press, Requited, Verse,Caliban Online, The Nervous Breakdown, The Coachella Review, BlazeVOX, Spittoon Magazine and Mad Hatters’ Review, among others. Links to his work can also be found on his website/blog, The Elevator Room Company, at http://theelevatoroomcompany.blogspot.com.

View the website of Michael J Pagán