the poetry that matters

Scott Hartwich

Scott Hartwich grew up in and around Seattle, Washington, USA, and currently lives in Bellingham, Washington. He received his MFA from the University of Montana in 2003. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Colorado Review, Bateau, Glitter Pony, Cue: A Journal of Prose Poetry, Softblow, and Thrush Poetry Journal.




She was so scalene with her facial anomalies. Now, in the moment, a grand hand—whining having become it’s own necessity. We were feral, that much came clear. 


To obviate / stance took on this mega-role, the cherubs with their trumpets oblivious to the Gaze, they were young and unfazed as thunder eggs hiding their glittering innards.


Our claws as yet unformed all that emerged was effluvium, choking off dissent surely as Grendel’s scabrous bellow. [There are three sides to the story.]


Our shame a broken diatom, valves laboring / cupid wings limp against our backs. Please, she says. Won’t you mass at Culler’s gap. So beauteous, your back-strolls. 






Decoder Ring


All of the room I was given did not translate into yes. She took the final day in her palm and we were sighing and wiping our brows. Here she vagaled, her timing, as usual, crisp. There would be no more push. 






 Blue skin chiding, failure to recognize a fatal syndrome. We’ve tried to be careful, to take care, but all this clarity requires suspension of disbelief. 




                                                                                         Bantu proverb.


 What we believe is an urchin’s soft flesh. If a certain fish will kill you, cut around the kill zone. Trust the man with the long knife. I obsess over each breath because that is what I do when my surface is breached.


                                                                                          Decoder ring. 


                                                                                          Decoder ring. 








Idols helped me with their wooden switch. Each strike hung in the air like the essence of, the air grown heavy mistaken like a dove in bas relief like the flick flick of a serpent tongue. 


You know attar as essence of flower. Three stems was all it took the chancre so crimson I was adorned, the aftermath a tangle of trained fingers. I can’t go back for spades. [What is soiled remains soiled.]


Keep your nails leeward for I claim no grief-welts. None of this if we’d tooled into ourselves. I read it two ways losing sight of you, but brown is dry is brown wilt emerged from a tarmac’s fissured waver. My hands tracked of their own accord.





Tomb of Aegisthus


We have our pins we have our map to his body. [Densitometry is Greek to a jellyfish.]


Here the doll with feet of lead and gold leafed from a good pounding. One goat led to another, darling. Anyone would struggle with this.


Do not cry for a soul held up to the light, transparent like Stomolophus meleagris. Take your tool in hand. 







We were to the point where none of it mattered. Not the shy dog, not the imprecision of a stranger’s gesture. We raked and raked. Sad became the watcher, tangled the hair / we mustn’t lose our grips. There was this feeling, a tightness in the chest. There was this crowding tremolo and no stand to be made.


How often does a strange chest sit unlocked, precisely at the moment? We are plied / we stones of hesitation for this is our nature, unless by design the coming of saints / to preserve the left-hand path is to understand the swale is to / why. We blinked in and out. Shudder became us.


At night the stones retained their awful heat / as remaindered as left in the sun to dry the sun brittle as the huddle brought with it the vestige of warmth, who knew where the ache began or how to answer the echo / they would not rest their beckon / O to follow O to chance the steep.





Martha Stewart Lying


Pleasant are the tendrils filling my throat pleasant is a rescued mutt with smooth fur and canines worn down by an age of tongue / I hold mine


in that way


every heather knows the risk or should, given the gardener’s wife so husk-like as she evils. Still


I loved 


the underlay / with skin-slough / with anything solider than “It’s a good thing.” Measure strides and set these stones symmetrical for someone 


has lacquered the tulips.



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                                                                                                                 April 21, 2013