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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.

venus waning/apollo waxing his car

Matthew Rohrer
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 had borrowed,
and "Come down right now!" my landlord called out,
climbing to the roof of his Cadillac to reach me
as he got smaller and smaller.

And there I was with the stars hanging above my house like live wires
and the night sky the color of stockings.

I stuck out my tongue to taste the sky
but could not taste.

I inhaled deeply
but could not smell.

I used to look to the sky for comfort
and now there was nothing, not  even a seam,
and I looked down and saw that it did not even reach the ground.

And my only company was the satellites counting their sleep
and the Sorrowful Mother swinging her empty dipper in the darkness,
the Sorrowful Mother picking her way through the stars over my roof.

And I knew I was nowhere and if I ever took my hands from my ears
     I would fall.

From A Hummock in the Malookas, by Matthew Rohrer, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 1995 by Matthew Rohrer. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

From A Hummock in the Malookas, by Matthew Rohrer, published by W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. Copyright © 1995 by Matthew Rohrer. Reprinted by permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

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
In another jungle the monkeys fret. 
Vibrations are tremendous. 
Terror begins. 
Mist dissipates. 
Monkeys alight in unison 
while beneath them nothing sexy happens. 
From within one mangrove a monkey flutters helplessly, 
another watches. 
Noise like refined alabaster drifts across our monkeys. 
Human intellect
poem

If you, Tom, could see this inflight video map

of the world turning wildly on its axis

you would not, I think, be mad, though it is not

on paper, and that is what you do, but it is

a useful thing to see the earth twisted up like this;

it is our minds that are

poem

1. Though our radiator is painted the color of the walls we know he's there. Whatever we set on top of him bursts angrily into flame. He has come to be known as Petulant. He has come to be known as Wasted Space. To be contrary, the radiator will not heat us when we need it. "If only I could find his fucking face,"