diode v9n1



Pizza for the Queen

I walk into
The kitchen
At my school
Where they are

Preparing the pizza
And shout
Pizza for the queen
It’s 7 in the morning

And the head chef
Yolle says
That’s all that matters
And with my head

In the ice maker
Cooling off from
The morning rampage
In my house

The two girls screaming
Out of their loneliness
The wife screaming
Out of her motherly horror

I think no
It’s kindness
And love
That matters

My face in the freeze
And why I should
Have been more compassionate
When I slammed the front door

Sick and tired
Of the polka dotted howitzers
And Lego semi-automatics
That tear up the neighborhood

The back of my psyche
The mailman’s mailbag
You don’t want people
To stay away

You want people
To come close
To get inside
The ice machine

With you
So when you rise
From the cold
Your faces all filled

With Antarctica
With polar bear
And glacier
You can get

Really close
So close you are not
But touching

And slowly warm
One another
Bring the pink back
The heat

Thaw together
Like nothing in life
Ever mattered
As much

One Big Perpetual Slingshot of Suck

When you wrench
Me into the cavern
Of being soft
I have my apron on

The onions are half-mast
Not translucent enough
The peppers
Have not been halved

While you are
Half a world away
In your rocking chair

Of Talmud and grace
Though grace is a hard thing
To pinpoint
But we try anyway

Amidst the You suck
You suck
I suck
The whole world

One big
Perpetual slingshot
Of suck
It’s a given right

That we try anyway
Me in my apron
With the ground beef
About to be braised

You upstairs in your black chair
Of borscht and simmer
An oven of rosemary potatoes
On high heat

A library of your books
Safe inside the world

This is what the world does
To me in the kitchen
Puts me inside
This cavern of soft

The sound of your
Sliding across the floor
Like the Mastodons

Are here
The shooters
From within

Their weapons  


Matthew Lippman is the author of four poetry collections, Salami Jew (Racing Form Press), American Chew, winner of The Burnside Review Book Prize (Burnside Review Book Press, 2013), Monkey Bars (Typecast Publishing, 2010), and The New Year of Yellow, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize (Sarabande Books, 2007).  He is the recipient of the 2014 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and The Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize from The American Poetry Review.