Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.



While painting a house in New Orleans some twelve-thousand years ago, the owner came out and started talking to me— had me to sit down, take a break, drink some water. Offered me a cigarette—all nice and friendly in the easy southern heat. One thing led to another when, from nowhere, he revealed his daughter had died in the Jonestown Massacre and he was suddenly weeping, choking, sobbing over his […]

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Afraid that when Beauty arrived he would be too late to meet her, he ran faster than a house on fire past all the houses not on fire believing his house to be on fire until he arrived in flames, burning everything in sight.   After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine and Redivider, among others. He […]

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The Hall of Two Truths


Hollow height entombs the space—causing withdrawal. Ceilings ping-pong the babel of TV from distant walls, stirring the phonetic mash of languages—coming—and going. Rooms—as large as football fields— Lilliputian the milling crowd lost and lonely. sterile gray tones wrap around the folks arriving departing travelers rush fleet-footed through turnstiles cogs spinning within full aisles Wheels within wheels—of mind—of conveyer belts—of scrolling flight times—of luggage carts—of taxis. Though their destinations are unknown: […]

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The sun is setting behind the mountains and pours its golden light everywhere. Whole Indonesia unfolds before my eyes. Rice fields, forests and rivers, banana trees, houses, mud ponds. Wide rivers and narrow ones, waterfalls, huge plains, roads carved into mountains, children riding bicycles, bamboo trees, late farmers coming back from work, two men sitting next to their bikes watching the sunset, group of youngsters cheering when the train is […]

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“The Darkroom of the Body”


– Lea Deschenes   Whatever’s developing is likely to remain sealed below   the skin’s great projection screen until it’s finally done   marinating in chemicals that will either decipher it   as the amazing answer to a litany of unasked questions   or expose it as yet another reminder   of that time I jackknifed the tractor while backing-up a load of hay   and sliced the tubeless tire […]

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Constellations for Dogs


Charlie stares at the faraway lights, winking back out of the dark sky with stories to tell: the long leash   leftover from the First Walk, the leg laying languidly on the horizon like an invitation, the Frisbee   spinning away toward dawn and beyond the reach of even the great outstretched jaws   of the Creator. The crescent moon fills the food bowl, lighting the way for both the […]

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They came upon some bones in the forest. She saw them first in the shadows and thought they were ferns forcing up fiddleheads from a bed of leaves. But he saw them first for what they were, bones of a small creature. It looked like some carnivores had shared a meal. Hollows clawed from decaying leaves told a story of a tragic scene unseen.   He was a police officer […]

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A sluggish morning


My day begins as usual, woken by click-clacking tracks as the 6.56 from Paraparaumu passes. I can hear birds in the garden bed below my bedroom window. They’re scratching at the mulch, uprooting the seedlings I planted yesterday. I’d thought of protecting them, placing sticks and weaving cotton thread strung with milk bottle tops, as my mother used to do. But milk doesn’t come in bottles any more; there are […]

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A wanderer returns


Lichen patches and rust almost erase my family name from the kerosene can letterbox.   Rata twines around the gate, kikuyu fingers stretch and join across the track.   The milking shed, roof broken by a weight of stars, crouches sway-backed against the sky.   Moonlight fills its windows, spills through gap-toothed walls, lies in lozenges along the grass.   Creamy fog pours down the creek, circles the swamp, backs […]

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The Columns at Karnak

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He once used a ring to prolong his erection, and panicked, rock hard and throbbing, when it couldn’t be removed.   I thought of the columns at Karnak, their sad priapism, blunt thrusting unable to detumesce once frenzy had passed and all the gods were gone.     Mercedes Webb-Pullman: Victoria University Wellington MA in Creative Writing, 2011. Her poems and short stories have appeared online and in print, including […]

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