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About this poet

In 1970, Matthew Rohrer was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Oklahoma. He earned a BA from the University of Michigan, where he won a Hopwood Award for poetry, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Poetry from the University of Iowa.

Rohrer's poetry collections include Destroyer and Preserver (Wave Books, 2011); A Plate of Chicken (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2009); Rise Up (Wave Books, 2007); A Green Light (Verse Press, 2004); Satellite (2001) and A Hummock in the Malookas (1995), which was selected by Mary Oliver for the 1994 National Poetry Series. With Joshua Beckman, he is co-author of Nice Hat. Thanks. and the audio CD Adventures While Preaching the Gospel of Beauty.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York and teaches at New York University.

The Emperor

Matthew Rohrer
She sends me a text

she's coming home

the train emerges

from underground


I light the fire under

the pot, I pour her

a glass of wine

I fold a napkin under

a little fork


the wind blows the rain

into the windows

the emperor himself

is not this happy

Copyright © 2010 by Matthew Rohrer. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2010 by Matthew Rohrer. Used with permission of the author.

Matthew Rohrer

Matthew Rohrer

The author of several collections of poetry, Matthrew Rohrer's book A Hummock in the Malookas was selected for the National Poetry Series

by this poet

poem
The narcissus grows past

the towers. Eight gypsy

sisters spread their wings

in the garden. Their gold teeth

are unnerving. Every single

baby is asleep. They want

a little money and I give

them less. I'm charming and

handsome. They take my pen.

I buy the poem from the garden

of bees for one euro. A
poem
Money cannot find me. 
I try to be reasonable but money is horridly banal. 
Money, blow and blow is what I think about you. 
Street urchins make more than me. 
Water tastes funny without cups. 
How far will I go? 
Jingle jingle jingle. 
Despite holes that compromise living rooms, friends visit. 
Money money and
poem
Then there was the night I decided that if I ignored everyone
I would transcend,

so I covered my ears with my hands,
stepped off the porch and rose like a wet crow

and the sprinklers chattered to each other over the fences.
And "How long will you be gone?" my neighbor called nervously,
my neighbor whose saw I