Matt McGuirk

Matt McGuirk teaches and lives with his wife and two daughters in New Hampshire. He was a BOTN 2021 nominee, is now a regular contributor at Fevers of the Mind and has poems and stories published in over 75 literary magazines with over 100 accepted pieces. His debut collection, Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities with Alien Buddha Press is available on Amazon, linked at the end of the bio and also on his website. Follow him on Twitter: @McguirkMatthew and Instagram: @mcguirk_matthew. 


Daydreams, Obsessions, Realities:

The Wild West

My wife bought me a leatherbound, 
hand-stitched notebook for Christmas and
it got me thinking about what I could put in there.
It’s something from a time far removed,
one where we weren’t on sensory overload 
all the time.
The gift belonged somewhere out in the wild west,
far from buzzing phones and chattering TVs.

You know, there’s something romantic about that time too,
it all  makes sense though: 
the slowness of life,
the gravity of the stories
around the glow of the campfire,
the sizzle and sparks and raw meat
seasoned with just the cast iron
you carry in your sack. 
There’s something beautiful in the nothingness out there
and the way each day could be your last:
the firing bullets in streets or a saloon, 
disease cutting lives short like starving wolves brandishing teeth 
or just getting lost in the abyss of sand,
one foot in front of the other until
they all just disappear in a swirl. 

The notebook is still blank, 
but I’m sure an adventure will end up in there

Heart of a White Pine

Cones clad with bristled skin, 
but hold a heart that will grow beautiful in time.
If their needles drop to hard New England soil, 
they fall as one, five needles pinwheeling together in bursts of snow.
Lower branches shed like snake skin,
the tree isn’t worried about past seasons
and is always looking at the constellations above.

Backstory through a Photo

“That’s your uncle.”
“I know he’s a little thinner
and a lot younger,
but that’s him.”
Her eyes sparkle, 
but I can tell she’s still wondering
where this one has gone
and who brought in the new one.

I notice the sideways smile, 
that night’s lighting,
the faint traces of cigarette smoke
and I’m sure I can feel the rhythm
of the music, 
even through the photo. 
I imagine the twisting bodies on the dancefloor
and the DJ’s lights bursting through glasses
like prisms. 
All of them blanketed in the night’s moisture,
the loud voices coming in muffled
under the music’s roar. 

I looked back at her and assured her that was him; 
the uncle that traced letters with his fingers in playdough
or played peek-a-boo behind the newspaper.
It was him,
but from a different time
before anyone called him uncle
or me, dad or mom, mom. 

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