top of page

Kurt Cobain, with Figurative Language

Matthew Tuckner

From my very first intake

of breath on this planet

I wished to know

a brick to the face

the wind of it

its granular tough

its pink clay love

& when the rain

found me horizontal

in a field mottled with holly

left fist wrapped around a forty

right gripping a page

from Ham on Rye

I assumed my wish

was granted

I stood up

trapped a squirrel

in a shoebox

stockpiled water

from the drip

of a drainage pipe

& injected my legs

with suet & protein

just to get the muscles

moving on their merry way

among the puddled streets

of Aberdeen

waving hello

to the dead salmon

deep in the octagon

they used to call a cannery

waving goodbye

to the grand machinery

that holds me aloft

the dogged Gods

& their puppet strings

the malaprops

plunked down

in my voicebox I megaphone

while I’m out & about

gesundheit hollered

at an idle broom

in a doorway

come & get me,

muttered to

the cantilevered

air conditioners

threatening to drop

from above

it’s easy to forget

with all of this ceaseless

running off at the mouth

that I begged for this peril

the bricks that fall

from the sky

like so much hail

the resplendent finches

that leave me dosed

& euphoric on my bed

locks of blonde hair

clasped in their beaks

as they fly south

for the winter

you are so very everything

I shout to them

forgetting the word

for beauty

having never gathered

firm footing as a human

despite each day

I unplug my nose

with the fleshy scent of roses

a chemical fire in Yakima

a tinge of vinegar

when the powder

bubbles in the center

of the spoon

despite each day I choose to

unstick myself

from the dried blood

on the silk sheets

further sullying the few

scattershot glimpses

that remain of my native galaxy

its doric columns

its translucent starfishes

the stray wafer of a comet

that refuses

to forfeit its orbit

lodged forever

in the purple sky

like a third moon

Matthew Tuckner is a writer from New York. He is currently an MFA candidate in Creative Writing at NYU where he was Poetry Editor of Washington Square Review and taught in the Undergraduate Writing Program. He was the winner of the 2022 Yellowwood Poetry Prize, selected by Paige Lewis, and was a finalist for the annual Mississippi Review Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming inAmerican Poetry Review, The Adroit Journal, 32 Poems, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, Pleiades, West Branch, The Cincinnati Review, The Missouri Review, and Poetry Daily, among others.

bottom of page