By Matthew Schwartz

From The Sky contained in the Shaking Tree

What you feel
reveals you.
for the sustenance
inclined to a source,
enamored of singularity,
quickly the following and quickly
gone, shadow from which
the body's braveness comes.
apparently stumbling.
I slapped one on my leg.
Its blood glowed.
Blessings for the palms follows quite a few speakers—often disabled audio system, who by no means as soon as determine themselves as items of criticism or self-pity—through the haunted dreamscape of “normalcy.” certainly, desires are non-stop presences during this surprisingly refined and stylish debut assortment that juxtaposes actual situations with the immense inside lifetime of the mind's eye. the themes of Blessings for the arms are actual and imagined confrontations—and reconciliations—between kin, pals, strangers, and animals. Matthew Schwartz’s quasi-autobiographical verse complicates and clarifies the sentiments ready simply beneath the styles and expectancies of the audio system’ sunlight lives, the place anger, pleasure, corporeality, and mortality all appear to collide. For Schwartz, poetry is a sleight of hand that retains the reader guessing via approximately imperceptible shifts among current imaginative and prescient and absent truth. Blessings for the Hands is a lyric reckoning of the strain among the existence we're given and the existence we're decided to lead.
Blessings for the Hands is emotionally powerful and imaginatively wild, specific, deeply relocating, with no an ort of self-pity, and pervaded via ‘compassion right down to your fingertips’ (which Chekhov acknowledged is ‘the in simple terms process’ either to jot down and to live). This perspective of imaginative and prescient is sharp adequate to unify a lot disparate material. The poems are transparent and musical and hence a excitement to learn and reread regardless of their gravity. I imagine this can be lasting work.”—Michael Ryan

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26 • Photograph, for a Class on Perspective She wanted to capture restlessness, I think, or the way you’re drawn to what’s moving if you stay impossibly still. She nudged our heads to the left, to the right, tried to get us to gaze at each other, or at the candle she put there, between us. When we moved or were too rigid for too long, the three of us couldn’t help laughing. We thought: friends don’t do this. It was funny, how deception was there, and truth, looking like some storybook romance, like we were waiting for something— sympathy, pity, self-pity.

27 • Dead Bird You drank death down, or death drank you, drew you in, your soul fled, and blood leaks from your bones now into the street that offered itself, that grew around you, lit with you, and every day, you were brought to me, or I was brought to you and your body’s angles pointing strictly back at themselves. • 28 • Fl o od Driving through a flood with you, trying to find my canes, the tires don’t touch the road. My father’s dying is the place we float in, and I’m not quite moving with grief, but stepping into it, dragging my legs through, but if I listen for breath, it doesn’t end, and if I listen for your heart in my heart, I can hold that continuance closer to me than I can hold my body to myself, and we’re both infinitely small, infinitely large.

33 • But love is here, learning with me every sequence and completion to abandon. We bend over our desks and begin frustration’s undistracted gift. Love is not attachment. It’s love’s confusion I borrow and want. • 34 • Fl owe rs Back in the smaller house, we call it “the old new house,” as if it were waiting for us. We take months to empty old boxes and settle back in. Wanting to make it more new, my mother tapes a stencil near the ceiling on the kitchen wall, leans any place she can for balance, cranes her neck awkwardly up and paints them slowly— purple flowers, small petals floating over separate stems.

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