I once sang operas and burned candles
in a place made holy by nothing but myself
and whatever there was
 — Charles Bukowski.

And for a while I lived with a very artistic couple
in an old convent in New Orleans with 16 bathtubs
and 16 toilets, huge rooms above and below
and one massive staircase to separate us—
they would speak to me from it.
But I was starving as they made their art,
and used to sneak into their pantry
to slip my finger inside the peanut butter jar,
snip a piece of cracker, and once I cried,
tears formed from what lifejuice I did not know
remained, when I saw their well-fed
turds floating in the bowl.

But I also had parties to which they were not invited,
and I danced and drank with many ladies
all screaming and screaming through
ribs of hunger blues until one morning
I was awakened by the female from upstairs
ordering me to leave the convent
and I actually lay in bed thinking
I was too old, at twenty-one,
to have nowhere to live,
before going back
to sleep.

Image credit:Daniel Barnes

After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans (street musician,

psych tech, riverboat something-or-other, door-to-door poetry peddler, etc.), Matt

Dennison finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where he won

the National Sigma Tau Delta essay competition (judged by X.J. Kennedy) and placed

third in the Southern Literary Festival for fiction. He is the author of Kind Surgery, from

Urtica Press (Fr.) and Waiting for Better, from Main Street Rag Press. His poetry has appeared

or is forthcoming in Verse Daily, Rattle, The National Poetry Review, Bayou Magazine, Autumn

Sky Poetry Daily, DIAGRAM, The New York Quarterly Magazine, Modern Haiku, Whale Road

Review, The Inflectionist Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, San Pedro River Review,

The G.W. Review, Gargoyle, Slipstream, Midwest Quarterly, Saranac Review, Sheepshead Review,

Blue Earth Review, Pembroke Magazine, Tulane Review, Chiron Review, Steam Ticket, Redivider

and Cider Press Review, among others. His fiction has appeared in ShortStory Substack, THEMA,

GUD, The Blue Crow (Aus), Prole (UK), The Jersey Devil Press, The Wondrous Real,

and is forthcoming in Story Unlikely.



He has also made short films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta