Tag Archives: M.A. Schaffner

“Follow Up” – Poetry by M.A. Schaffner

Hospital Visit - Kathe Kollwitz, circa 1928
Hospital Visit – Kathe Kollwitz, circa 1923

“Follow Up” is one of four graceful & plaintive poems by M.A. Schaffner in our Winter 2015 issue.

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YOU CAN’T TELL BY LOOKING IN OUR FACES.
For some of us the tests are just routine.
For others, of course, a sentence of death.

Brave or stupid, cowardly or aware,
more or less imaginative or astute —
strange that we should all be called a patient.

Then the friendly helpful receptionist
who shuffles and cuts evolving decks of files.
Then the corridors, buffed and vacuumed daily.

As many times as we sit and wait
for each procedure labeled as routine,
the first that isn’t can only mean

but one link in a chain that holds a swing
on a porch from which we watch the healthy pass.

{ X }

M. A. SchaffnerM.A. SCHAFFNER has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry IrelandPoetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

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“Act of Contrition” – Poetry by M.A. Schaffner

ManRay
Optical Hopes and Illusions – Man Ray, 1928

“I detest all my sins because they offend thee, my God / who art all good and deserving of all my love,” says the Catholic prayer known as the “Act of Contrition.”

“The next age’s illusions will depend /  on Gods we’ve yet to discover,” writes M.A. Schaffner in “Act of Contrition,” one of four poems he contributed to our Winter 2015 issue.

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IF GOD WERE HEARTILY SORRY WE’D UNDERSTAND,
but there are no sins, not even creation
ranks above reflexive pathology.

I’d clean the erasers for that schoolgirl
each long afternoon her mother spent at work
mixing poisons for her daughter’s future.

It wasn’t just wanting only one thing
but continuing to want, and to plan
a life along those lines of honesty.

The garden will go in just a little while,
the soil scraped back to the Pleistocene,
and stacked with pre-fab sections of Versailles.

The next age’s illusions will depend
on Gods we’ve yet to discover — on prayers
pleading for eternities just like this.

{ X }

M. A. SchaffnerM.A. SCHAFFNER has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry Ireland, Poetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

“Anthropogenic” – Poetry by M.A. Schaffner

Pterodactyl Reconstruction - Edward Newman, 1843
Pterodactyl Reconstruction – Edward Newman, 1843

Pterodactyls were not marsupials, as scientist Edward Newman once theorized. But we like imagining them as prehistoric mall-rats whenever we read “Anthropogenic,” one of four poems by M.A. Schaffner from our Winter 2015 issue.

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THERE WAS A TIME WHEN PTERODACTYLS FLEW
around the atrium through the fountain
that spurted up three storeys in the mall.

This shows it was never about just shopping
but the seafood crisis and thermal drafts
emanating from the first floor food court.

No, I can’t imagine what it felt then,
torn from oceanic vistas and plains
as vast as half the planet, as the roads

that tie one outlet plaza to the next
in a necklace of the world’s great wonders
then hung around its winged serpent’s neck.

Our own necks swell each day.  Our collars shrink
to match the slow contraction of the time
allowed for empty spaces on the maps.

{ X }

M. A. SchaffnerM.A. SCHAFFNER has had poems published inShenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry Ireland,Poetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

FLAPPERHOUSE : Year One

Coming soon in soft, pulpy paperback.
Stay tuned…FY1F&BCs

 

“Cue the Lutes” – Poetry by M.A. Schaffner

Sunset on the Seine in Winter - Claude Monet, 1880
Sunset on the Seine in Winter – Claude Monet, 1880

Our Winter 2015 issue has no shortage of the dark, weird, sexy, funny lit you’ve come to expect from us. But with this latest issue, we also tried to have a little more heart than usual– like in M.A. Schaffner‘s wistful and exquisite poem “Cue the Lutes.”

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IT’S THE SMALL THINGS I NEVER QUITE FORGET:
the wild orange clouds after a dark dank day
as sun came out just long enough to set.

Your question at the moment we first met
about the train — then, if I’d show the way.
It’s those small things I never quite forget.

Our first free evening, and my world upset —
how busy our lips with nothing to say.
The sun came out just long enough to set.

Outside, the rain; inside, how warm though wet —
your hair a path from which I couldn’t stray.
It’s the small things I never quite forget.

A few short nights enclosed me in a net
that melted when touched by the weakest ray.
The sun came out just long enough to set.

I never saw you since without regret
for the bloom before my dawning gray.
It’s the small things I never quite forget.
My sun came out just long enough to set.

{ X }

M. A. SchaffnerM.A. SCHAFFNER has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Poetry IrelandPoetry Wales, and elsewhere. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.