Three Poems by Matthew Johnstone


Jaw Thrown Near / Here 


I still compose it that we left a place, 


apart to ways has

to me only enough significance 

to let / & I see absolutely 

no harm

walking out of cars with

the mouth / closed

                                        What is left of

the earth and sky is what 

was left to meant

to us, which is become


tilted /

the mouths flat across land, to

beat the hills / to get

drunk, this

language is being alone

with your pulse then

its dependence, now


rant matters concern bodies

of themselves, with their own

movement / some of it

is seen, some of it

are those involved / 

                                    I have this recurrence


to me, I still live with & are

inside / 

something nearly its own, quieting in 

what way how I know we are which

languages / all 

of them






Eater, of mouths


For when I demand nothing /

to share / deals in brush,

what /

it means to be at / something.

Dog bite / I am at

teeth / in your hand,

To parts you /

moving / souls,

meal / among

wolve / knocked doors.

Something about /

the parts /

of the mouth / do not piece 

together / something

without / itself has 

nothing to / at

with. /

Have few whenever, less / went 

to /

have / no more

to have it / with.

River / mouth.

I was swimming and the water / 

colding around me / was 

from me my from /

brings myself / to


At the tearing wall I /

was drinking / the water

we / were in but 

mouths / were not involved.








What                apertures


we also leap


caskets then

of us, 



                         to its ends,

out past reefy smogs


I thought you place in 





for which I need

              docks arriving 


blank               sea painter.





Matthew Johnstone is the author of Let’s be close  Rope to mast  you, Old light (Blue & Yellow Dog, 2010), and the chapbooks o n e (Inpatient Press, 2015), and Note on Tundra (DoubleCross Press, 2016). He co-edits ‘Pider (pidermag.com) and hosts the E t A l. Poetry Readings, both of Nashville, Tennessee.




Image credit: Robert Motherwell, Beside the Sea 1968 (open access at images.nga.gov) 

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