Matthew Tuckner


The human being is a series / of tendencies
that need to be overcome / my dead grandmother says
in a dream and I am up / out of bed
overcoming them / the first tendency being the question
who am I? / I am in love with the words who am I
I have failed to overcome whoever this I is
like any good human / like any good human
I must cherish what is outside to change what
is inside the doctors tell me / hello
Dow Jones Industrial Average
I would so like to be you / I can’t stand your
oil / soda cans / running shoes / cell phones
people love your curves / your rumored trickling
rivers / so much bad can happen when you fall
to your knees / hello Prozac bottle
with my name on it / with my doctor’s name on it
I own you and you own me / what a perfect economy
we form / hello Gowanus Canal / your Advil-green hue
looks so sure of itself in the midday sun / hello poems
you are machines / organisms / toothbrushes
cactuses with names like prickly pear and bunny ears
hello poem from the perspective of a cage / you are
what I spend my day perfecting / how can I be cagier
is the question I ask of you / what can I fill
myself with / hello poem about Schopenhauer’s
favorite birds / hello poem from the the perspective
of oxygen / poem from the perspective of
an ant / poem from the perspective of a prescription bottle
what are your last requests / when I walk
outside / so much is happening
I have to open my eyes wider / two geese licking
the muddied feathers of their goslings / a man
facedown on the sidewalk I startle
awake for fear of his death / or maybe mine / a grackle perched
in a plane tree / writing a poem
from the perspective of a human / a poem
that sounds suspiciously like birdsong / a comfort
to the series of tendencies / I slap my name on / and send
down the assembly line towards evening / there is a wedding
in the park today / the flower girl is repeating the words
indian paintbrushes indian paintbrushes indian paintbrushes
testing their sound in her mouth / I want to overcome myself
and marry those words / I want to marry my Prozac / I want
to marry poetry / I want to honeymoon with the Gowanus Canal
I want the Dow Jones Industrial Average weeping at my funeral / my far
far away funeral / but how far is far really / it turns out
my dead grandmother was wrong / the human being
is the tendency / to need to be overcome / so go ahead world
overcome me / indian paintbrushes don’t you like the sound
of my name in your mouth? / whoever I am won’t you please
love for me for who I am?