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Sample Poems by Matt Zambito
It's Just One of Those Days

where you've got a serious craving
to bust out your front door
and take a weed-whacker

to your neighbor's judgmental face,
but there might be an asteroid
earth-bound and you've got afterlife

worries as it is. You big damn baby.
Today's not bounce-the-third-
rent-check-in-a-row bad, not the Mob's-

got-a-Gatling-aimed-your-way
bad. Today's more like first-date-
flatulence bad, no-one-knows-how-

to-give-CPR-to-the-astronomer-
with-ghastly-halitosis-but-you
bad. Why overreact? The grass,

well, it isn't green, it's brown
as a casket, but it'll be back
like the hula hoop, and today's troubles
could be solved in a musical.
Look, today's more like
one of those days you'd love

to sit out front with a big
pizza pie, plop on the frosted stoop, pop
open the lid and celebrate
the steam exhaled into the night. You'd love
to stare up toward the flake-like stars
and be glad the moon can just be

the moon, yes, the moon
can just be the moon
and still be amore.

Beauty's in the Death of the Beholder


"Est'e Lauder, ['] who convinced generations of women that her beauty creams were 'jars of hope' in their quest for the eternal look of youth, died.
['] She was 97."
'
'The New York Times, 4/26/04


My deepest sympathies
to the mortician's make-up artist:
Who'd want to limbo under
the mascara brush of those expectations'

And my heartiest congratulations
to women from Corona, Queens,
to Lost Springs, Wyoming (where denizens
number four), to Hono-lovely-lulu,

for now that Lauder's kicked the blush bucket,
maybe we can go on
with the miracle of any skin
pulsing atomic and holding us in.

97 years from now, she'll still be
gone. And 97 from then.
And during the 97,000,000,000 from today,
stars will bloom and grow and blow

themselves to smithereens and into
pistils and stamens on planets no human
will ever ruin with a name
or anticipation. They'll flower quietly, petals
dusty with color.
And you'll die.
And I'll die.
And all the emollients in the Milky Way

can't cover up how vain we are
to joke about the dead or to believe
our disappearances will reduce beauty by much
in a universe so downright dazzling

that we should shatter
all mirrors, boogie on sandy beaches
forever, our faces all smiles, slowly sipping Pi'a Coladas
from coconuts of hope.

What 1/116 of Your Life Means

Let's say you're the one and only
God. This fraction of time means nothing
to You, because to You the word

'life' is like the word 'sleep':
You've left it up to us to decide
if we should do it, now and forever, together

or alone. But let's say you're
a tick. That's barely enough time
to find a lover on a five-point buck

mid hunting season. If you're lint'
Well, you're not alive, so don't worry
about bits of time, just don't

hang onto people for nearly no good
reason like Larry, my static-electric cousin
here for a funeral, who won't go

back to St. Louis and his dozen
Wash & Tans and his trophy wife. But what if,
say, you're me' This might be

enough time to write every
pen-pal letter I'll ever write. Then again,
your very own 1/116 of

my life might be just enough time to love
my cat, also named Matt (but let's not
think about his cat years
or all those cat lives). Or maybe
you've known someone for this fraction
of our current age, and even if

that someone isn't always
near us, touching our shoulder
like a devil or an angel, the fraction

will only increase, each
second, for the rest of our unfeline
life, it will only keep closing in on one.

Ways to Say I Love You

Buy her favorite color in an aerosol can (diamond
white, fire blue, beige, cactus, whichever) and tattoo
her name on her favorite overpass:
there's nothing wrong with making her laugh.
Hire a sentimental baker to make love
donuts for her. Order her a box of two hundred
ribbed condoms 'For Her Pleasure,' and watch her
balk, then smile, aware they come
from the spongy heart of your hard-on.
Pray you won't stop her period. Pray you will
be hers no matter what happens: hydrochloric acid
burns; dandruff; her lottery success; narcolepsy;
her death; a Baptistic awakening (she's not
so agnostic she won't understand). Make her understand
why you can't sleep some nights: you're fevered
for her, she's cool as cucumbers, and you can't stop
thinking her name. Do what's right: give her
the clicker and let her choose
'Jeopardy' or 'Family Feud.' Try to read her mind,
or be blunt as a murder object:
it's not the best move, but just say it loudly,
then ask, and make her prove, if she loves you.
Mathematician's Love Poem

I can't subtract the angle at which your two
irides let go of no frequency but blue.
Who knows our initial condition, or why
you complete my square' Together, we function
like eleven, but the limit of the both
of us is one as we approach nothing but
infinity. I can't solve for our unknown
variable: it's our lone solution. Love,
with us, there are no real numbers, but I'd give
them up if they existed. Factorial
my scalar heart: I can count i in your eyes.
Physics Walks into a Bar

Delayed by neurotransmitters
and speeds of sound and light, e-
verything we sense was, is only
after the fact. One minute,
Newton's the second coming, the next,
a guy with electrocuted hair
explains creation with three letters'
perhaps. The universe is expanding.
The universe is contracting.
The universe is sewn together
like a soccer ball. Kitchen sinks, all 88
constellations, ten dimensions,
family trees, Belarus, sheet music
to a kid's ditty--it's all falling down
like subatomic dominoes,
it's all made of a faith. You witness
(a little flutter of air, a burst of orange,
a micro-waft of Mexico)
a Monarch flapping past,
beautiful and idiotic, and suddenly,
consciously baffled, I need a drink.