Music at Matt Tierney’s


It was nice to hear him cite his Kipling
but not so nice to see him lying there
with breath just dribbling into him. The band
mute up to wait for thumbs extended while
the folk with eyes half-rubied sigh and fret
till the song comes out to soak again.
Despite their winter wool they’re rather kind
or moot at least, where dram whets their mettle,
instead a blossom at their cheek or their lapel
to impress you. But long enough you’ll see
their hands make leather gambling cups
while they reek must and feign aversion,
leering past whatever you just spoke.
They’ll all the same still mill your toes
if you dare to linger close and curious
as this world’s hostile to the nonbeliever
as those who are the young and flaunting beauty
(so they say). But even so, they’re rather kind,
and even might a lover take your lap
to a tune of Mary Anne’s Ashore
and nudge your ear to hear the twinflute
mocking at nocturnal shrieks of gulls
and rattling crab corpses, claws mismatched—
not the last you’ll think toward teratology.
And with the clop of maple heels
like an autumn hail on the brain,
Katie in the basement counts her chits
and flicks another moth’s head in
at her office of the enterprise,
another wormhole in the underspine
while they in question feel fine in flush
with welters of their wooden coin
stored up across the several childhoods
they’ve enjoyed, a three-score of milk for ale
and ale for milk and kids on their sleeve
to tug and grieve in silence, as was taught.
But that’s the furthest thing this Saturday,
whereon the wines of eld fill out their channel
and the Monas and the Mollies stomp around
to a sound like a giant bee’s wings
as it pollinates. And off of Knockboy
summon we the fog off its flanks: black fog.
And a son is wincing, out of ken,
imprisoned in an hour of the future:
now’s for dance. Our Jim Tee thinks of Ma
and her willow-wand and the whaler-man;
you can hear him even from this table.
Our Mikey Mintz is squinting at his fist
to draft himself out onto Flanders field,
or Roger’s jig is pounding at his atlas
and his anvil and stirrup have him dizzy.
Here they try to stand and ask for lamb.
And this by what right? The bar’s timber
wedged and shaven of its widowmakers
and worried slick by a one called Wyan
with a sledge for his red cranium
coming down to see his work and throw a round
and throw it once again once he comes home
and wakes his wife with a werewolf wheeze.
And he shaved off the lichen and the eyes
and tipped the dross and twigs into the ditch.
And the ditch fed soot to the pond and
made its maiden back into a fish-skin.
But so’s the check to pay the feasting,
the old man stitched his lungs to his shirt
and he won’t hurt once he’s upright
and fast within his private night-bus.
The band play his exit to a ballad
while a wirecoat makes herself a mop
round the ankles, grease and spit and God knows
in the sawdust, the dog a friend to all
whose hems would dally by the snout
as they laugh and wear their elbows out
till someone stretches down to coddle
and restrain her. Have a look at these chops!
That’s our girl fallen to greed again.
But it’s nice to be small in a lap
at last contained like a seed in a sheath
belly-up like for a resurrection
beneath the furrows and earrings of Ellen.
Well, little one, what did you bring to sing?

Cameron Charles Martin (b. 1991) lives in exile from his birth state of California. He has previously won minor awards in his careers as a barista and as a software engineer. He likes perfumes that are a little stinky.