Poem of the Week | June 04, 2008

This week’s poem is “Goodnight Everybody” by Matt Hart.  It is previously unpublished.  Hart is the author of Who’s Who Vivid (Slope Editions, 2006) and three chapbooks: Revelated (Hollyridge Press, 2005), Sonnet (H_NGM_N Books, 2006) and Simply Rocket (Lame House Press, 2007).  A collaborative chapbook,Deafening Leafening, with poet Ethan Paquin, is forthcoming from Pilot Books.  Additionally, his work has appeared in many print and online journals, includingGulf Coast, H_NGM_N, Jubilat, andOctopus.  He lives and teaches in Cincinnati where he edits Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, & Light Industrial Safety.

“I often read the book Goodnight Moon to my daughter before bedtime: ‘Goodnight mittens,’ ‘Goodnight kittens,’ etc.  However, there’s one page near the end of the book which is entirely blank except for the text, ‘Goodnight nobody.’  Suddenly, the book’s world with its comfortable/comforting, sleep-inducing house has vanished, and the mittens, kittens, moon etc. have been replaced by an emptiness-white light/white heat on a blindingly blank page.  I can’t think of anything scarier.  Welcome to the void.  Walk into the light.  Kiss this absence, this ghost.  In ‘Goodnight Everybody’ I attempt to fill in the BLANK of that page-to move through it-(which is what writing always does)-to give no/body some/body, so she won’t be so lonely when the lights go out.”

Goodnight Everybody

Constellations exhaling,
the moon is full of nobody, the night
blinks its eyes at me and your letter
on the desk.  A spoon in my belly-
I needed that-all blown to bits
with a horseshoe.  Saddest thing
I ever deserved.  I guess I’ve fallen
pretty down to earth again, off my high
horse or high chair or punk
rocker again.  All blown to bits.  And now
I can only repeat myself, because
there is almost nothing to narrate.
I go to bed late.  I wake up early.
Make coffee.  Feed the Daisy.  Take her
out.  Check my email.  Worry wart.  Then
when the baby wakes up, I talk to her.
I make her a waffle, plain, and an egg
scrambled.  We listen to music.  I tell her
I love her.  Smiling mostly I have
every reason to be happy, but I am only
a knock-knock joke I won’t repeat.
I go to teach.  I say some things.  I leave some
out.  My computer’s stupid.  Nobody’s there
in the rib cage beating.  Pretty down to earth
again.  I wake up again.  I go to bed,
and it’s true, man, I don’t bow down
to anybody.  I have every reason not to.
But now the night blinks like a creature
under water.  I tell you and everybody
I love you as always, but I am tired.
I am constellations.  Lately I am
second thoughts, can only growl
inside myself.  And outside myself
the blowing to bits.  So I read the baby
a story, which helps.  Goodnight rabbit.
Goodnight old pal.  Goodnight kerosene
lamp and glucose and glass of red wine.
Goodnight accordion and boa constrictor.
Goodnight hockey players bloodied in a fight.
Goodnight layers upon layers of signification,
like too warm blankets covering
my face.  Goodnight associations.
Goodnight deconstruction.  Goodnight
letterhead that made me wake up.
Goodnight clouds, and goodnight
preamble.  On to the amble.
Goodnight amble.