The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Matthew Freeman

Under Influence


The first time I met Starla
was outside a
classroom at NYU
when I sat on a bench
facing her and she said,
“You must’ve had a
really relaxed mother.”

She was wearing blue
and reading Shopenhauer
and I was trying to find out
what was on the other side
of Zizek.

After the voices and vampires and visions
I didn’t have any money so
I was forced to write poems that
rhymed and I finally ended up
in a day hospital

right after an incomplete reality
was fulfilled by the Big Delusion
and they scoffed at my
Abraham-like fidelity to the mythos
and I couldn’t find one image to
take on the negative symptoms
and the next time I saw Starla
I came totally clean and said,
look, all I’m saying is that
some very weird
shit is going on.



Matthew Freeman

I Try to Impress Starla


One dark Halloween
as I was walking up Skinker
to get some drinks with Chief
this amorphous ragged man stepped
out of the shadows to bum a smoke
and called me an angel and right
at that moment a Mazda sped by
with a passenger whose eyes
were so bright I was implicated
so I turned back and went to the
Episcopal church and knocked on the door
and tried every window to no avail
and just desperately began to bang
my head against the wooden cross
when three paramedics arrived and
took me to Barnes and shuffled me
through triage quicker
than Orpheus got down to Hades
and as I sat cross-legged in the isolation room
Dr Valentine with her light curly hair
came in and sat down across from me
and put her fingers on my injured head
and I awoke much later somewhere else
and asked for her and no one seemed to know
what I was talking about but I know
all of this happened
and somehow I’m going to fly.



Matthew Freeman

Paranoid Language Sonnet


If irony means going in and out
and language is a hidden form of sex
and every metaphor is just an act
whereby a curtain’s drawn on certain facts

a paranoid and other-worldly mind
would freak to find lit up and on display
when somebody says one thing but they mean
another thing, another disarray

of clouded and confusing parables
that end as sorted into certain rules
exacted and performed in lingual hell
where imbecility rages and rails:

You may consider me alone, found out.
But on the other hand—what’s this about?




MATTHEW FREEMAN's latest offering is a chapbook called Trying to Take a Nap and was published by Kattywompus Press. It documents a week during which the poet just couldn't fall asleep. Everything I Love Restored is his most recent full length collection and was published by Coffeetown Press.  



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