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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.

Pavilion of Leaves

Matthew Rohrer

Central Park in a
pavilion of leaves
with extra sauce
for midday
is only a snack
and a photograph
of cold cherries
like a young woman's
legs softly peeling
after burning
a pennywhistle
in the distance
with the piping children's
voices which are
distant peace
in a breeze
two white butterflies
trying so hard

Copyright © 2012 by Matthew Rohrer. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2012 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


I believe there is something else

entirely going on but no single
person can ever know it,
so we fall in love.

It could also be true that what we use
everyday to open cans was something
much nobler, that we'll never recognize.

I believe the woman sleeping beside me

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
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