Chance Operator

by Matthew D. Rowe

Reading your own stuff

doesn’t take your breath away,

it doesn’t make your mouth salivate,

your pants aren’t going to dance.


And if any of it did happen,

nobody’d hear it

to begin with.

Not in your reclusive state.


In front of strangers though,

in dance halls,

behind closed doors,

Six Gallery,

the dust of Brautigan,

Ginsberg’s howling honesty,

and the ever-constant-flowing-here-existence

of Cassady.

October chill in the bay air,

it doesn’t have to belong to you.


You see the struggle then?


Having to always reflect,

mirror images


however lucky it all may seem.


My luck,

or yours,

or his.

Someone had to have done it before,

turn scattered thoughts

into words,

into speakable dreams.


Then there’s a bitterness,

sour and scornful,

plastic on a public bus.


Everyone’s piss

smells the same

in the end.


Microcosmic monotony,

simultaneous self-proclamation.

It’s mainly tiresome.


Unless you keep it to yourself,

like a thief;

and that’s the worst kind of guilt.