Matt Duggan (Western Voices 2020)

Exclusive: Western Voices, 2020: Edited by Scott Thomas Outlar
Bio: Matt Duggan was born in Bristol 1971 and now lives in Newport, Wales with his partner Kelly. His poems have appeared in many journals including Potomac Review, Foxtrot Uniform, Dodging the Rain, Here Comes Everyone, Osiris Poetry Journal, The Blue Nib, The Poetry Village, The Journal, The Dawntreader, The High Window, The Ghost City Review, L’ Ephemere Review, Confluence, Marble and Polarity. In 2015, Matt won the Erbacce Prize for Poetry with his first full collection of poems Dystopia 38.10 (erbacce-press). Matt won the Into the Void Poetry Prize in 2017 with his poem, Elegy for Magdalene. Matt has previously published two chapbooks: One Million Tiny Cuts (Clare Song Birds Publishing House) and A Season in Another World (Thirty West Publishing House). In 2019 Matt was one of the winners of the Naji Naaman Literary Prize (Honours for Complete Works). His second full collection Woodworm (Hedgehog Poetry Press) was published in July 2019. His latest collection The Kingdom (Maytree Press) came out on the 10th April.

A Question of Dissent  
During Summer–
its broken and black sun
day had spread only vacant spots
we could see without being seen —
where a mother held her baby
made a bird from bone and soil 
placed it into her top pocket;

Angel guilds her chaotic soul
now she may fly to the highest gates
watch the blue earth fading away
below her tiny mortal feet.     

Place fear into the small tin boxes — 
store them in compartments on a train. 
Our thoughts of the journey are hidden
our guts placed themselves behind
the eyeballs of a 9-5 pulping machine. 

The years have passed
are they circling it’s as if a bite of the ribcage
or the taste of an eye would serve them to see
why we fly and they simulate cloning
the emotive repetitions of before — 
being an attentive termite that is grinding at the final heap;  

(How they will all be picked for their own delectation) 

The Subjugation of Pan   

Held on the last Tuesday of every month
Pan attends the sexual addict’s clinic
curbing his zoophilia addiction
a god not born for this world
shaved his hind legs a pinkish familiar colour.
Cutting off two horns with a rustic circular farming tool.
Clipped hooves are hidden inside
flappy enlarged leather boots;
Where two bony white bolts remain
resting underneath his head of goat curls, 

Covering his snout with a scarf
made of red tissues — his small white tail
peaks through holes in plastic white chairs.
What were the poisons he first tasted?
the new shoreline — enlightened
what would return undecided?  
They look inside hollowness
found only red wine instead of blood
when time allowed the land to rest and dry —
we’ll eat from tables filled with fake grass
on large oval dinner plates
shaped like fig leaves pitched in the thick red mud.

The River Flows West When the Dead Are Sleeping   

Guilty sentiments stored in cupboards
where birds — no longer wake us with song 
If I ever see the stars breathing out again that majesty of light
that hangs like shining chariots — carrying angels across yellow moons;
This day that gusts our dreams from high stirring bellies in sleep where leaves blew 
like sparrows hopping between apricot stems — 

I gaze from corners of east and west
when our past is caught in a clock’s mechanism —
metal boats in industrial blue sleep beneath feet
the river only flows west when the dead are sleeping. 

Resting oyster catcher glimpse
the end of passing day and dreams
when we are the mud on other people’s feet —
the anatomy of god eating himself 
we will shoot burning arrows of venom
skate on Vaseline as thrown flaming heads
fall underneath metallic sloping cranes; 

Our lady of derelict tenements
be our ripped body a canvas of rolling sirens
where rotating billboards moved 
a veneer of eyeliner and sickly pulp; 

Dead sunflowers hang like rusting shower heads
composer to our forest of dreams —  
impaled among a troop of swaying cedar.
Drunks slept on a green arena among oak effigies —
while lunatic dogs feed on the moon’s sediment
as spirits that dance under black tinder of sea. 
Stolen waves replaced the clouds 
a cold giant wet light — our world consisted of two parts
machine had separated itself from nature;
eating the outside-self of its own heart. 
Did we sleep with the woodworm? 
a forest with no exit; when eternal cities
engineered social extremes – appearing like grass snakes
when the sun halved the shadows of man into two. 

Stirring for the vulnerable path
it circles in bad stone 
hidden under statues moveable and grey;
tracked and easily persuaded
it’s what lies beneath the kingdom’s belly
inside the cracks in giant walls
Secrets hidden from ghost towns  
where the dead stitch elastic patches
onto the foundations of half-broken homes;
it’s what the earth that built our world is made from
bones that stick out of bigger hungry mouths;
what is treaded into our blood-stained soil;
that gives our half-broken kingdom —
more days of polite darkness than reality or light.

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