Philip Seymour Hoffman, with Figurative Language
So many selves stacked on top
of selves, it’s easy to let some drop.
I’ve killed time this way.
Schlepping the cargo
through the sprawl
of lantern flowers & dollar bills.
Lugging the load across the drawbridge
that creaks like a passage from Lear
when it splits to let the barges pass.
It’s true, the mess I made
has a mouth. A flute for a brain.
A deviated septum of the heart.
It’s true, I just wanted joy
to fashion itself a body it could corrupt
& burst into smithereens.
Joy, it appears, is lazy. Even the Gowanus Canal,
green as leeks, recites the same well-worn
platitudes as it rocks itself to sleep.
I think I can, it thinks,
I think I can, I think I can, I think I can
even if it can’t, or won’t.
I think I could’ve been a monk in another life,
or a martian, or a butterfly that drinks
the salty tears as they trickle down a turtle’s face.
I think I could’ve been something
too true to be true. A beautiful glitch.
The bloated body of a humpback whale
washed up in the heart of the Amazon.
A rain of frogs spilling
from a silver sky.
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 in American 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.