Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Great Poems of Our Time: "Auditing the Heart"

    After a half-decade wait we have finally seen the sixth shoe drop:  Tim and Megan Green have published Frank Matagrano's "Auditing the Heart" in the Summer, 2012 edition of "Rattle" magazine.  Of the six 21st century poems we honor here, this is the first written by a {gasp!} male.  Hey, stranger things have happened.

    As with another in our "Great Poems of Our Time" series, "How Aimée remembers Jaguar", Frank's poem was posted on The Alsop Review's Gazebo workshop before being housecleaned away.  Unlike Erin Hopson, who vanished while completing her college degree, this time only the poem dropped out of sight.  Frank Matagrano has remained a presence on Gazebo, Eratosphere and elsewhere.

Auditing The Heart (by Frank Matagrano) from Earl Gray on Vimeo.

     Like our #1 poem, Margaret Ann Griffiths' "Studying Savonarola", "Auditing the Heart" is about romance, distance and time.  It treats the latter theme even better than Maz's masterpiece.  Like "Savonarola", "Auditing the Heart" starts very slowly.  Perhaps too slowly.  It isn't clear what the first three couplets add beyond a missed opportunity to create more ambiguity by using "was" rather than "meant" in S3-L1.

     In terms of sounds and rhythms, "Auditing the Heart" is not the masterpiece that "Studying Savonarola" and "Beans" are but S4 to S6, inclusive, constitute a clinic on remarkable linebreaks.  Teachers and students:  take note!

Auditing the Heart - Frank Matagrano

One mother who owned
   the sea, one father who walked

on water, and in a row boat,
   one brother who believed

marriage meant becoming
   the roof over a woman's head.

A room for the night with a view
   of the water, the moon a quarter

less than it should have been,
   the shape of my wife drawn

into the empty bed one memory
   at a time.  There were too many

stars to count, a registry
   of old gifts and receipts strewn

across the sky, a mess
   of things that died getting here.


  1. "Studying Savonarola" by Margaret A. Griffiths

  2. "Beans" by D. P. Kristalo

  3. "Antiblurb" by A. E. Stallings

  4. "How Aimée remembers Jaguar" by Eric Hopson

  5. "There Are Sunflowers in Italy" by Didi Menendez

  6. "Auditing the Heart" by Frank Matagrano

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