poem index

sign up to receive a new poem-a-day in your inbox

About this poet

Born in International Falls, Minnesota, Matt Rasmussen holds degrees from Gustavus Adolphus College and Emerson College.

His poetry collection, Black Aperture, was selected by Jane Hirshfield as the winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets and was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2013.

Rasmussen is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Bush Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, The Corporation of Yaddo, the Loft Literary Center, the Jerome Foundation, Intermedia Arts, the Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota, and the McKnight Foundation.

Rasmussen is also the author of a chapbook, Fingergun (Kitchen Press, 2006), and is the co-founder of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC. He teaches literature and creative writing at Gustavus Adolphus College and lives in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.

In Whoever's Hotel Room This Is

Matt Rasmussen
If it were up to me,
the bible would begin:

A man steps into a field...
I'd forgotten what was in

the background when you took 
the photo of me I wouldn't 

see until later. When I did, 
it was just a wall, and my smile 

was a mouthful of rocks.
A little after it was clicked off 

the T.V. screen's light
condensed down a drain.
 
Even when the television 
had become an aquarium 

full of black water
that last bright dot 

burned in my eye.
On the back of my photo

you wrote, This isn't you,
and you were right,

it no longer was.

Copyright © 2012 by Matt Rasmussen. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2012 by Matt Rasmussen. Used with permission of the author.

Matt Rasmussen

Matt Rasmussen

His poetry collection, Black Aperture, was selected by Jane Hirshfield as the winner of the 2012 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets

by this poet

poem

X.

Kafka said, A book
must be an axe

for the frozen sea 
inside us, which sounds 

great, but what good 
is an axe against 

a frozen sea?
Perhaps this is why

he said, while dying,
Destroy everything.

There is little comfort
in knowing there

are worse undertakings
than killing yourself
poem

             after James Wright

Startled by my breath it bolts 
to the other end of the field. 

The horizon's brow rasps 
against a green cloud

which seems both
desperate and sincere.  

Into a dead tree
a flame of bird

drives its burning beak.
And somewhere out here

I have come to terms
with
poem

A sword thrust
into the city.

From inside
the café, the letters

on the window
look like a new

language. It’s this
simple: There is

nothing within us
like what we are

inside this window.
Colossal seppuku,

you are the sky