Poetry: Selections from M.P. Powers

the cemetery in my hometown                

broken little stones poking
out of the lawn
no flowers
for friends
no trees in the place
the tombs here are gorgon's teeth
their epitaphs
rubbed clean
long yellow weeds chafing their sides
the landscapers 
here don't bother cutting the weeds
with weedwhackers
if they can't reach them
with their riding mowers fuck it
why bother
it’s not like the dead care 
they’re dead
even mud
is more animate than them
besides no
visitors ever come
to visit them anymore
they’ve been lying with the chinch bugs
in the mud
so long no one remembers
no one gives a damn
the world has moved on
from whatever 
they were whatever they left
what were they anyway
but shadows cast by some moonlit vine
the wind chasing its tail
all of us
the same at last.

Love Unmaking

I know every part of her body now 
and I know what not to touch.
Her shoulders are off limits. 
And she doesn't necessarily like her breasts or nipples 
being touched.
I never touch her when she's sleeping 
as she is right now. We made love earlier 
tonight, but I'm not supposed to call it that.
I'm supposed to say we had sex or we fucked. 
Those are the acceptable terms.
There was nothing loving about it. 
But I love the love in lovemaking,
I can't help it. 
Love for me is the soul in sex and the truth beneath
the feeling and right now 
I can hear her breathing 
in the heavy animal darkness. She moves
her leg under the soft covers so her toes touch mine. 
She runs them up and down the topside
of my foot. She must be dreaming. 
This is as intimate as it gets.


The Garden
yesterday I was a suicide
a queen a dolphin a flower a man
trampled by runaway horses
today I don’t know what I am
lying under this still cloud in green
elfin silence lilacs and roses
for a bed a tree a peach tree
the world-tree amorous nectarbearing
and sprouting from my belly
yesterday I had a name today
I’m not so sure
wandering in a daze
through snow and half-light
the streets murky the steam trains
asleep brazen dogs of winter
cold wandering through doorways
through empty spaces acquiring
memories from objects I don’t know
what I’m doing out here wandering
yesterday I was a girl with unicorn
dreams today I am slushy
water rushing through underworld
I have discovered my love
finally finally I have discovered it
I have discovered my passion
in emeraldgreen ochre yellow ultramarine
these petals of golden stillness
tree sky water mud I have discovered
my love and will die for it I will die
somewhere high up in the music
I will die right here in the quivering
light of this burning tripod
I will die and the world will watch
Lying in the cool green garden
silences lying with coral
for bones my liver devoured
by crows yesterday I was a painter
of silence and cypress trees
of sunflowers green rivers
flowing over white
rocks yesterday I painted today
I paint the empty spaces

CW: Toes                

at the poetry
reading the poets
fashionably dressed with their fashionable
opinions and faces as soft and pink as a baby’s butt
prefaced their poems
with trigger warnings about bodily fluids
self-harm death even insects
the poets warned the audience about and after
the poetry reading I walked to the U-Bahn
station and there I saw a beggar from war-torn
Syria sitting on the concrete floor
his knees up in his chest his bare feet resting
on an old pair of shoes his feet were filthy
they had no toes
they were squared off at the ends like blocks
and when I walked
past him with my feet that had all their toes
I tried not to look down (I didn’t have any
change for him) and got on the up
escalator thinking about all the trigger warnings
he never got
never asked for even the word
pedicure could’ve been one
but he wasn't a poet
as far as I could tell.

Lange Nacht der Museen      

Is the one night
of the year
the museums in Berlin are free to the public
and open
all night. That alone should've been 
warning to stay away, but we went anyway, 
starting off at the Samurai
Museum, gazing at those strange
little outfits those violent little men
would put on
like sunlight.
After that, it was the Museum of Musical
Instruments. Violins
like hanged men in glass houses,
viola da gambas,
flutes from the collection
of Frederick
the Great, Ben Franklin’s glass
It was better than the Espionage Museum
that was so crowded
it was like fighting your way through
a hot and stinking factory
farm for cows. 
At the Unterwelt Museum,
the line of people started
outside the U-Bahn station and snaked
across a long marble floor,
slithering down a long marble flight of stairs
around a bend halfway down another flight
and into a door.
We abandoned that one,
bypassed the Planetary Museum
that had an even longer
line, and ventured yonder to the Spy Museum
where we sat alone on beach chairs in the drizzling rain,
a warped surveillance film from 1989
playing on the big screen.
We watched quite a few dull
scenes on that – it was mostly drunken punk rockers being
surveilled - then met our friends
for the tour, traveling in our damp clothes
through stale GDR rooms
with stale GDR furniture
under stale GDR
light. You could almost feel yourself sterilizing
as you paced
those gloomy wood-paneled halls.
Luckily, the tour was short
the rain
let up and we got an Uber
to some random bar, a brightly lit East Berlin
Kneipe with a balding,
taxidermized fox standing
in the window, autographed
guitars on the walls,
photos of Joe Strummer, and bellied up
to the bar
ancient ones cigar store Indian
punks punks
who’d been
since Helmut Schmidt was chancellor.
We watched them sway under the hot lights,
smoking, quaffing up foamy Czech beer
as some crazy drunken 
German with hair so thin 
she only had three wispy dreadlocks
on the back of her head
scurried into the bathroom
began howling for her mother.
a museum
going to.

M.P. Powers is the author of Fortuna Berlin and Hallucinogenic Dragonfly Intermezzo. He was recently featured on the Goethe Institute’s podcast The Big Ponder. Recent publications include the Columbia Review, Black Stone/White Stone, Jupiter Review, Mayday Magazine, and others. His artwork can be found on Twitter and Instagram