Avatar Review Index

Frank Matagrano

Frank Matagrano, born 28 December 1971, has had his poetry accepted in various publications including Exquisite Corpse, Cross Connect and The Melic Review. Pudding House Publications (www.puddinghouse.com) released a chapbook of his poems, "Moving Platform," in April, 2000. Currently, he lives in New York and serves as an Assistant Vice President for a corporation in downtown Manhattan.

Holding on before Letting Go

I pull her hair to share
the anxiety, always this close 

to hitting a car,
the last one filled 
with nuns, their quick 
swerve left,

unwilling to meet 
Jesus dressed like this.

Everyone's hand on something:
door handle, head rest, belt
buckle, braced, pure white grip,

my fingers wound
round what resembles.

© Frank Matagrano

Cc'd on the Crucifixion

Never met the one who jumped 
off the roof of the Merrill Lynch -

it's called Black Friday
for another reason:

a quote from the Latin
transcribed on ticker,

last floating in shreds
above the world

series parade

from the 44th floor,
a white body

adrift, a man's
crucifixion via email.

I was cc'd;
his last name, Parent.

© Frank Matagrano

Flagging a Cab to the Airport

If salt doesn't melt the snow,
a tire headlong down 33rd will.
Fifty more cabs 
will pass yet - a crack
on the passenger's side;
a breath, white, excess,
leaving, always someone.
I will flag one down
rather than take the train
to Penn Station
this time; a duffle
slung over shoulder
will be enough.

I know the phone numbers
by heart, the names to ask for.
I'll leave my work here:
one fifty token,
metal turnstile,
broken intercom,
muddy sole, gloved palm,
crumpled feather,
crowded platform,
step aside, giddy up.
I will dust ghosts
off my shoulder;
for the last time,
I will tell the driver
where to go. 

Frank Matagrano

Laid out on a Mead near the Fox River

I spread myself thin.

The graze has its way 
with me without you 

here, my water, 
my honey,
my drunk fuck.

The breath of the Fox 
runs over the fuzzy mead,
pushing origami

sails to the paper edge
of this hair I call you.

© Frank Matagrano

Counting the Number of Angels of Death at the Hospital

In rabbinic writings, there are at least a dozen angels of death...
-- from A Dictionary of Angels, by Gustav Davidson

I counted three last time:
two on smoke break
near the door on York Ave;
name tag affixed
to wing, and upstairs,
the third, room 915 B,
the shadow of a ruffled
feather over grandma's diseased
breast, one long florescent bulb
above the bed, a box of white
tissues from the grocer,
a half-empty glass of juice
on the tray, mom asleep
in one of two visitor chairs,
her sister in the other,
bent over, pulling up the tongue
of an untied shoe.

© Frank Matagrano
(first appeared in Supralurid, Volume 1, Issue 2)

The Spokes of Her Wheelchair

What Anthony did was stick
an eight of clubs between

the spokes of her wheelchair.
Every time she clicked

from the sink to the stove,
her great grand-daughter lost it,

bent over in stitches,


hanging for dear life to a scalp.

© Frank Matagrano

Telling Rita the Truth

You crave 
other words

in exchange 
for "place,"
I offer three

on this couch,
112th, a third 
floor space
across from St. John

the Divine pipe 
organs bombard, 
swell, disintegrate.

© Frank Matagrano

Clearing the Table with Angel Feathers

The bus boy cleared the table
with angel feathers.
A minimum of fifteen pins
on her suspenders,
the waitress served slabs
of pork drenched
in "our famous Jack Daniels
glaze," a stitched grin,
upselling margaritas
to the "ultimate" size,
eighteen ounces of goodness.

© Frank Matagrano 

Peeling Potatoes

She removed the eyes, 
every one of them 
that looked up her skirt 
from the sack. 

Mashed with the same milk 
used to keep the cat quiet 

© Frank Matagrano

Miss Julie Watched from the Porch

The pug dragged baby Jesus
by the ankle across the lawn;
its owner chased the dog
with a broom, all six footprints
blurring circles in the snow.
Miss Julie wore an extra large sweater
over a sleeveless sun
dress, pulled up
enough by the draft
to show a piece
of something.

© Frank Matagrano 

Three Photographs of the Same Girl


She stood beside the bride in front
of a church whose name didn't matter.


Half her body reflected in the aluminum side
of a subway car, a teardrop 
on the cleanest surface inside that train,
a hole in the middle of a plastic seat
to her right, white gauze stuffed in
the crack, forced in place by a thick clear coat.


Atop a staircase that creaked,
black dress strapped to a thin
waist, my arm wrapped around it twice,
her teeth pulling, pulling the tongue
from my mouth, resting it in her own.

© Frank Matagrano

Setting the Liz Christy Memorial Garden on Fire

Someone left the cake out in the rain.
from "MacArthur's Park"

The long spine will feel what
the cigarette flicked a few steps 
behind me has done,
nerve rubbed two ways: 
one toward 59th and Lexington,
the other going back down Route 4 
to the River Road exit - 
an office on one side,
small church to the right,

a mile past the A&P to Baldwin,
the Japanese maple gone, 
hole scabbed with lawn,
combing the block for an hour
before recognizing which car
my father drove, which bent
tulips were planted by my mother,
the painted part of curb
that served as third base, 
letting the smell of cut grass
and gasoline have its way 

one more time, long gone
before the first siren begins 
its doppler from 8th Avenue
to the Liz Christy garden,
the burning there, the burying:
fruit sold, lottery ticket, 
stroller carried down stairs 
and hoisted over turnstile, boom
box propped on boy's shoulder,
a diva wailing for that recipe again.

© Frank Matagrano