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: https://www.amazon.com/Daydreams-Obsessions-Realities-hybrid-collection/dp/B09M5KY8HH/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
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 someday.
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.