Preeminence, Pulchritude: Ordinary Sun, Matt Henriksen Ordains the Inland Empire–Inlandia Institute, Poetry Reading Palm Springs, CA March 7, 2011
By Maureen Alsop
The earth is not large enough.
And among a sea of pink cafe chairs the conversions of language imperceptibly distill above the urbane traffic’s hum.
Here less staunch poets would wane against burnt lashings of muzak, that dormant elevator spindle, as if through a blurred supplication of Hell’s hallway mirrors, but Matt Henriksen’s words spiral, showering ash as an immunity against snow-capped San Jacinto peaks.
And we (listeners or windows) are held less into being in a place as we are are held toward a swarming. Gathering continuity as perfection’s gloss.
Allowance is given as if we are again seeing someone in what we know.
And time connotes a new form of conclusion. Vacancy is befuddled. O witness: inner possession, connectivity as a medium, is razed.
Beyond my inexplicable control, in trying to record Matt’s reading, and exclusive trek through the desert, this was the only poem which remained available from that evening. Matt reads the poem “Insomnia” from Ordinary Sun (Black Ocean, 2011):
by Matthew Henriksen
I had the busted leg of a plastic chair
to pillow a highway sign’s dream.
Once a person on his roof begins to think
about saying fuck you to the particulars,
the only blessing is a stagnant block
in the middle of a dead neighborhood
in a city that has been nowhere since
before you or I were born. And who
and what are we, after words, but
mourners signing a petition at someone’s
grave, for better dreams, better meals, better
orgasms, though most of us would rather just
sleep well more often. Jesus, why must it
be so late, so bright and so early?
Matthew Henriksen is the author of Ordinary Sun (Black Ocean, 2011) and the chapbooks Another Word (DoubleCross Press, 2009) and Is Holy (horse less press, 2006). Some recent poems appear in Fence, Realpoetik, Raleigh Quarterly, Alice Blue Review, Sink Review, The Cultural Society, Handsome Journal and Two Weeks. He co-edits Typo, an online poetry journal, and publishes Cannibal Books, a book arts poetry press. From 2005 to 2008 he organized The Burning Chair Readings in Brooklyn and now hosts irregular readings throughout the country. A special feature of Frank Stanford’s unpublished poems and fiction, selected by Henriksen, will appear in Fulcrum #7. He lives and teaches in the Ozark Mountains.