Let’s Get Acquainted

Adrian Matejka

while we talk about hunger & loss. I once had artful chatter before it gotunsustainable. I once beat everything around me like an unrelatableheart. Once I spaced out at the skull-bright codicil before it got bland& unreliable. I once had a red hammer in my hand. I played it in the freight carof my singing emancipation. I once had, I once had. Two guitars fromthe pawnshop instead of feet & I still couldn't swing my big ideas. A woman so fineI quit eating meat of any style. I once had sixteenth notes where other people have gears.An altruistic jones for affection & touching despite my engineering. So muchI didn't matter as much. I once had a heart but sold it for sauce. I once hadsome semi-glossed gators but lost them in the static. Really: I had a doublecross & a six-string, clean as tap water. I lost both beauties in the radiatorsteam. Really, I had somebody who loved my frets & strings forever.Imagine that: anybody loving my rust-bucket & cardiac needs together.

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Adrian Matejka is the author of six books, most recently a mixed media collection inspired by Funkadelic, Standing on the Verge & Maggot Brain (Third Man Books, 2021), and a collection of poems Somebody Else Sold the World (Penguin, 2021). His collection The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013) was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He lives in Indianapolis and was Poet Laureate of the state of Indiana in 2018-19.

"Matejka’s up-to-the-minute collection, his fifth, turns to poetry as a way to process the sometimes surreal disruptions of the pandemic, when people wore 'Different / kinds of masks for being & breathing.'"
The New York Times Book Review

"Adrian Matejka’s muscular and mellifluous soundtrack is a savvy directive that reminds us that even chaos has a rhythm you can dance to. With a masterful ear for lyric and eye for the detail that jolts and surprises, the poet adroitly reintroduces us to a world where a simple breath was never too much—here are reminders of love’s fractured mechanics, the heart-rending frailty of fathers, that twinge in the belly at the first downbeat of that song. Matejka even manages to dismantle that wee icon of violence—the bullet—until it is bared of its sin, its ability to end every story it enters."
—Patricia Smith, author of Incendiary Art

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