Poems from Mather Schneider


It’s easy to wor­ship the world
but hard to wor­ship peo­ple.
Life should be like fight to a dog.
But all mod­ern life con­sists of
is soci­ety,
learn­ing how to nego­ti­ate soci­ety
how to deal with the pres­sure of oth­er peo­ple.
The suf­fo­ca­tion of too many rules,
too much forced equal­i­ty
and the moral strong arm.
So many lives go by
with­out ever set­ting a foot

in the for­est,
wilder­ness like a worm­hole to san­i­ty,
a cor­ri­dor to the ancients,
a main­line to the heart and essen­tial life
and what is beyond life.

Every prob­lem soci­ety fran­ti­cal­ly tries to solve
is caused by soci­ety itself
and soci­ety can’t just
solve itself
except for one way,
and we don’t like to talk
about that one.


I am begin­ning to under­stand how some­one
could dri­ve their car
over an ani­mal

on pur­pose, as they’re dri­ving down the black­top
at night in their truck,
how they could rev the right­eous

engine into a fur­ry crea­ture
just wan­der­ing out in the cold
dark beau­ty of the earth with­out

favor or expec­ta­tion,
how see­ing pure fear
in tiny con­fused eyes can make

one glad, hideous, how dumb
one is with the need
to feel supe­ri­or

to some­thing, to any­thing, to bend
a life to a

when one is weak
and alone
and no one is watch­ing.


I don’t know if you know any­thing
about chick­ens,
but they lay a lot of eggs.
When I was a kid every morn­ing we’d go out
Some of the hens liked the coop
but if they set their tiny minds
on get­ting out they
clipped wings or not.
Don’t wor­ry, there were plen­ty
of eggs, it was East­er every
freakin' day.
Brown ones, white ones,
dou­ble yolks, some even had
embryos in them.
These were the ones that made
my sis­ter barf.
After a while we just let the wilder
ones go,
truth is you just get
tired of them
and we couldn’t sell the eggs
because every­body around had their own
Some­times we ate
the chick­ens them­selves, but we were too lazy
to pluck the feath­ers,
instead skinned the stringy crit­ters
and ate a tough meat
with­out the best part.
We were all thin
and mean, squab­bling
and kick­ing in
the dirt.
The roost­ers slept around us
in the trees
and always woke us up
in the mid­dle
of a dream.


There­sa gets tired of me try­ing to kiss her
so she throws my bicy­cle
into her El Camino and drops
my fif­teen year old
drunk-on-rhubarb-wine ass
on the lip of a gul­ly out
by New Fayet­teville,
five miles from my mom’s,
mid­dle of nowhere,
and push­es me away.
I fly down the gully's green throat
my hair straight back
like a high dive into the future
watery as blood
dis­tort­ed and dizzy
and faster than sum­mer
comes the one lane bridge
with the sil­ver flash
of creek beneath it,
a red riv­er spring­ing
like a roar from my mouth
into its mir­ror image,
the giant seem­ing­ly end­less
climb in front of me,
and one small quick fish
swim­ming in cir­cles.

Math­er Schnei­der is a 40 year old cab dri­ver from Tuc­son, Ari­zona. He is hap­pi­ly mar­ried to a sexy Mex­i­can woman. His poet­ry and prose have appeared in the small press since 1993. He has one full length book out by Inte­ri­or Noise Press called Drought Resis­tant Strain and anoth­er full length com­ing in the spring of 2011 from New York Quar­ter­ly Press

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