Friday, November 16, 2007

The Skies Over America by Matt Flumerfelt

I read a lot of poems and meet a lot of poets, and one poet whose voice always moves me and excites me is Matt Flumerfelt. He's a poet who will open your eyes and get you thinking and feeling.


The skies over America

are vibrant as a Pollock painting

and dissonant as a Schoenberg

symphony. They’re the canvas

on which we scrawl the graffiti

of our lives.


Ours is a garden where

every flower may flourish,

bitter nightshade and evening

primrose, a Mendelian greenhouse

where hybrids are the rule

and whore lies down with priest.


We’re enamored of the camera.

If we could, we’d like to film

the destruction of the world,

even though no one would be left

to watch it explode a second time

except a few seagulls.


America was born to immigrant

parents in a sharecropper’s shack.

Three acres and a mule were its

only possessions. It was suckled

on hard work, cheap whiskey,

tobacco, cornbread and collard greens,

and the promise of eternal life.


The skies over America

are crumbling. They’re responding

well to therapy. They need

more antioxidants, plastic surgery,

yoga lessons. They’re weeping.

The skies over America are

closed for remodeling.


Matt's poem "The Skies Over America" is from his new book The Art of Dreaming.

It's available for $10, plus $2 for shipping.

You can order The Art of Dreaming from him at

29 loganberryCircle

Valdosta Ga 31602
Or you can email Matt at


Manfred said...

I don't understand why poets write this kind of tripe. I mean really, the whole comparison just reeks of...well, reekiness. What would Walt Whitman say if he could like, still talk and stuff?

John Guzlowski said...

What would Whitman say?

I don't know but I do know it would be long, boring, and pointless!

I mean whitman was a guy who didn't know how to use an eraser!!

Manfred said...

I guess if Whitman represents anything, it might be the hubris of the intellect or the ego striving to regain the infant's sensation of personal omnipotence. It doesn't so much matter what he was feeling, what matters is the literary result. You either like it or not. He was prolix.

John Guzlowski said...

Hmmm. Whitman? Did I really say he was long, boring and pointless. I think I mis-spoke, contradicted myself. But what the heck! We're talking about Whitman--so darn the contradictions. I can't be bound by single, simple statements and opinions.

In fact, I like Whitman.

When I was a student, I walked around for months with a copy of a reproduction of the first edition of Leaves of Grass in my backpack.

It was physically thin. but spiritually and emotionally huge. A kosmos of spirit and emotion in fact!

And when I started teaching, I loved re-reading Whitman and teaching him.

I like Song of Myself and Drum Taps and When Lilacs Bloomed and Spontaneous Me and Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and When I heard the Learned Astronomer and about a dozen more of his poems.

But when I look at that Death Bed Edition of Whitman with all of those pages and pages and pages of poems without beginnings or endings, I wonder what he was thinking.

Manfred said...

Whitman said of himself: "The words of my book are nothing, the drift of it everything." One can conclude he spent a lot of time drifting.