Matthew Schmidt
Masticating an Eye

Alizarin crimson, amaranth, American

rose, auburn, burgundy, cardinal,

carmine, carnelian, cerise, coquelicot,

crimson, dark, electric crimson, fire

brick, flame, folly, fuchsia,

garnet, henna, Indian, jasper,

kermes, lava, lust, magenta,

maroon, mahogany, nebula, oxblood,

Persian, pink, quiet, raspberry,

rose, rosewood, Rosso corsa, ruby,

rust, scarlet, terra cotta, Turkey,

Tuscan, Tyrian purple, Upsdell,

Venetian, vermillion, -violet,

wine, xenial, yarn, zeugma

shades backdrop the mountain

until it is the opposite of expectation:

snow crusts the base as flames

scald the peak. And all of the dank

entrances where the families live

feel the conflagration urge,

to meet their scalloped tongues,

assess how to step outside

and look into the cold light.

Red hues that levitate, lurch, lap.

To be a world pigmented,

a pigment that clings as tone

when the orchestra ceases

and patrons sit, blood ringing.

Matthew Schmidt
The Center Colors Kindness
emaciated body
a cane’s middle finger

bone projects
sere tree’s charcoal husk

wound our

an owl walks
its wolf to gnaw awake

this violent
Matthew Schmidt
Eat the Boat as a Bird

See yourself in the mirror/chalice.


The bodies that you’ve been/loaned.


Can that be your schooner/yoke?


And the waves from the hand/ocean


have ensnared the hull/pocket


who is the mountain/sits the octopus

automaton/conjures itself

…you have separated the gloaming/loam

come apart in the coral/on the slick crops

…you have witnessed repetition/whittled words

come apart in the crossfire/on the sick copse

…/…you have sycophant wishes/sundered like cephalopod suckers

the infant mouth/the uncertain basking in salt

…/…you that were enfleshed/flensed

the distant wreckage/archaic sloop.

Matthew Schmidt
Receipt in Triplicate

And the magpies morph into pelicans:


The wind pinch on molten feathers:


Avian conglomeration bodes tornadic:


Comes together to form a creature:


An enormous antelope:


Steps across the chasm:


Shadow may never be clear:



[“To live is not like walking through a field.”]

So we describe it by words and pictures:


Matthew Schmidt
Of Sigil and Crest

Considerable: the enveloped kite of bones

I carry forth today.

To want flight as a casket.

I have lived dialects, mute to cacophonous—

mauve diction from uvular crux:

Birch Eye

Nag’s Be

Ductile Thrust

glom the gonfalon.

I eulogize swart armor with ocular


Eye stitched into trunk, horse under leaves,

embalmed winches accept

my fabric hand, flay froth from spume.

I wade into the unknown boulevards,

a flagpole’s groove

through birddom and grief.

Matthew Schmidt

The red and

Air Force, air superiority, Alice,

azure, baby, Bondi, Brandeis,

Cambridge, Carolina, celeste,

cerulean, Cobalt, Columbia,

cornflower, cyan, dark, deep sky,

denim, Dodger, Duke, Egyptian,

electric, Eton, Federal, glaucous,

Honolulu, indigo, International Klein,

iris, jaded, Kashmir, light,

Majorelle, Marian, Maya,

medium, midnight, Navy,

non-photo, Oxford, Palatinate,

periwinkle, Persian, Phthalo,

powder, Prussian, Queen, royal,

sapphire, sky, steel, teal, Tiffany,

true, Tufts, turquoise, UCLA,

ultramarine, violet-, viridian,

waterspout, Xanax,

Yale, YInMn, zaffre

we associate with blood, vessels,

the body in death, un-oxygenated.

Sea creatures accustomed to living

beneath the grind of machinery.

Maggie Nelson’s Bluets

[“what goes on in you when you talk about color

as if it were a cure, when you have not yet stated your disease?”]

reminds us that we think in color.

What, if not emotion, do we call the palette?

And the palate tastes berries.

Our accomplishments on pallets,

in the memory banks:

the place we went to college


our favorite team

[Los Angeles (formerly Brooklyn)],

military service

[Air Force],

newly discovered


and the cardigan love


we plant as a flag on our body.

This is to say that I see you

in the reflected color

my light receptors transmit

to my brain. That is to say

you in all your shades.