Poetry: Selections From Mather Schneider

Summer Morning Fugue 

Sprayed too much bug killer in my little room
feeling woozy in the fog
earlier I was reading Unamuno on the thrown
“a pedant is a caricature of a man”
damn tootin’ he is Unamuno
we want our desires and dreams clothed in legend
we want to understand the mystery of man’s destiny on earth
I breathe the fumes of pesticide
amid the fallen mosquitoes and silverfish
hogtied by morality
perhaps the mathematicians can figure it out
I lift my beer to taste infinity
and forget that my love is dying
from out my window the eternal music
of the Mexican ice-cream truck
tooling through the lonely colonias

Trout Fishing Dream

Natalia and I get in a fight on Christmas morning
I stay out in the shed all day and night
when I go to sleep I dream I am walking to a lake
to go trout fishing
a kid pops out of the pines and walks beside me
his name is Doug
he has no friends nobody likes him
at the lake we don’t catch any trout
then some cool boys wander over
and begin to make fun of Doug
I don’t stick up for him though I should
I walk away to my green Volvo
I get in and drive it into the lake
a couple of months later I see Doug and Uncle Harry
outside the Stop-n-Go
where I bought two frozen trout
Uncle Harry says,
We know you and your friends tried to kill Doug
we’re going to take you to court
he looks at me with a chilling hatred
Doug nods his head in agreement
Uncle Harry says,
We know you purposely stopped Doug from catching any trout
and we also know you’ve been following us
because you still want to kill Doug
I say,
Nobody caught any trout that day, Uncle Harry
Oh, he says, so you admit you were there?
I’m sorry, Doug, I say
Uncle Harry says,
We saw your green Volvo outside our house last night
and we have proof
I roll my wheelchair away from them
because my spine was crushed
when I drove my Volvo into the lake
they fished me out but the car is still down there somewhere
I feel sad for Doug
I feel sad for myself
I feel sad for Uncle Harry and Natalia
I feel sad for pretty much everybody in the world
and that’s the truth so help me God


My neighbor planted 12 banana trees in his front yard
he waters them constantly
I guess he loves bananas
or the idea of bananas
he looks sad when he sits staring at his banana trees
big green leaves waving in the breeze
bananas are pretty good
I got no problem with bananas
but I’m not holding my breath for a big crop
this is not South America
I don’t want to bust his bubble
he’s got enough problems with his wife who yells all the time
and his kid who’s a little slow
his car is always breaking down
and he’s got gray hair at 40 which isn’t common for a Mexican
my wife Natalia hasn’t been out of bed in a couple weeks
the doctor says she probably won’t get up again
I open the curtains so she can see the banana trees
bananas have anti-oxidants
potassium and other nutrients
but Natalia can’t eat them anymore
my neighbor moves the green garden hose
from one tree to the next
wait there are 13 not 12
I counted wrong
13 banana trees to brighten our days

Dream of My Big Escape 

I have a Schwinn bike with a banana seat
I decide to ride it as far away as I can
because Natalia doesn’t love me anymore
I ride all day until I reach a town I don’t know
I realize I left my phone at home
I want to call my mom
I forgot to pack a lunch and don’t have any money
that’s when I see my dad
he is loading bags onto his truck bed
with a woman I have never seen before
she is pretty and dressed like a landscaper
her and Dad yell at each other while they load the bags
there is an endless pile of them
I say, Hey Dad can you give me a lift?
he says, Sure
I hop in the truck bed with the bags
Dad says, Wait here
he and the woman walk away and never come back
it is getting late and I don’t want to ride my bike in the dark
plus I have forgotten the way
that’s when I realize I have my phone in my pocket
it’s been there the whole time
but I can’t remember my mom’s number
I think maybe I can drive Dad’s truck
but the steering wheel is huge
I can’t see over it
I can’t reach the pedals either
the keys dangle from the ignition like fish bait
I grab at them but they squirm away
I think,
Maybe Dad’s got some food in the glove compartment
I reach my hand into the dark
something bites my finger and I wake up
I remember the ugly things I said to Natalia
while she was still alive
there are ants in the bed again
I brush them to the floor
follow their trail past the dirty sink
to the front door
open it and stand looking into the dawn light

Dream of Somewhere

A big fat Mexican lady lies down on me
she doesn’t do it out of meanness she’s just lonely
the weight is comforting  
but after a while I lift her monstrous leg
and climb out
she smiles and holds a pistol in her hand
You want to buy it? she says
That’s ok, I say,
I don’t feel like I need one just yet
You sure got a good life, she says,
I watch you
she points out her window to a house across the street
Do I live there? I say
You live there with your wife, she says,
You are both so beautiful
I stare at my house
it has huge windows all along the side
and a big front and back yard
it is made of brown brick and has some ivy
and a big tree in front
Where’s my wife? I say, Where’s Natalia?
She’s in there, she says,
She’s still in there somewhere

Mather Schneider's poetry and prose have appeared in many places since 1994. He has 6 books available and lives in Mexico.


Popular Posts