This is a story in decoupage. It is written by Matt Comi who is prudent and wise and enormously wide. Especially in the shoulders. Which has ofen earned Matt Comi the average passerby’s startled acknowledgement Hey! That guy! He’s got the broadest shoulders! But it has also earned Matt the difficulty of normal tasks. Tasks like walking through doors. Or climbing out windows. It makes him astonishingly easy to recognize. You could pick him out in any crowd.
Matt Comi never feels lonely.
Matt Comi never goes unnoticed.
Matt Comi has an infinite number of friends. They spend all their time making him happy.
FROM MATT COMI’S MOST PRIVATE DIARY!
Without blood, my mouth
tells me how my lips
and filled with paste.
Go back to pre-
traced from my hand.
from three circles
of 60lb business stock
I want to color black eyes,
a brown pipe, and red scarf.
But when the tips of my fingers are pricked,
and my hands move
automatic — markers whose felt tips are dry
leave nothing: pale ink and the
scrapings of pulp off paper.
THE FIRST GREAT TRAGEDY!
Matt Comi is three years old. He is very close with his lady friend, who while being both petite and delicate, is also adventurous and scarily beautiful. His lady friend’s name is Maggie. She has no second name like Matt Comi. While on a long walk together, near the back of the playground, she confides in him that she would very much love short hair. Matt Comi, being the gentleman that he is, readily agrees to cut her hair at craft time, where he will have access to the appropriate tools — scissors, napkins, and crayons. But before he can finish the deed, earn her love and the subsequent fifteen year after-school-make-out session that would have inevitably followed (and which would lead to their future marriage (at age eighteen they pause to say I do then begin kissing thereafter)) something terrible happens. The teacher, whose name he cannot remember, catches him. She totally misunderstands the situation, calls home, and, at Maggie’s parents’ command, the two remain estranged forever. So far apart that one could not hear the other. Even if the other was yelling at the top of his lungs.
MATT COMI ADMITS THAT HE CARES NOTHING FOR NATURE!
Because it has nothing to do with himself, and it cannot love him back. Except for dogs. He makes a special exception for dogs because petting a dog feels nice.
MORE FROM MATT COMI’S MOST PRIVATE DIARY!
Let’s hang our laundry to dry,
clothes-pinned tight to folds that come
off our cheekbones, jawline, ridge-line.
I’ll dry the sheets and you’ll puff
your cheeks so the blood rushes
where the wind rushes out.
Or, let’s leave them on the floor,
creased and molding.
An understanding of the author’s up-to-present autobiography (as compiled by the author) lends surprising insight into the identity of the “you” present in this poem.
HE IS SO INTELLIGENT!
NPR is a constant comfort to Matt Comi in his later early years. Once he achieved infinite wisdom and no longer relied upon learning, Matt Comi, while at college, learned that the internet-based textual reiteration of public talk radio, is, without a doubt, the most important single source for knowledge in the modern world. A genius named Michael Krulwich writes a blog for them. He writes this. It changes Matt Comi’s life forever.
Now I understand why all those pre-Columbus sailors thought they might just fall off the Earth into the void. On the moon, that horizon seems like a perpetual cliff. It’s different on Earth. On a clear day, the Earth’s horizon — say you are standing on the edge of Lake Erie looking at the water and you are six feet tall — the horizon is about three miles away. On the moon, it’s dramatically closer: 1.5 miles away. The horizon on the moon looms closer because it is closer, plus the lunar ground is bright and shiny, the sky menacingly inky and black. Living on the moon would feel elementally different from living on Earth. You’d always know you were on a ball. Deep space seems to be waiting, just a few miles in front of you.
ENOUGH OF THAT, HERE’S A SELF PORTRAIT OF MATT COMI!
ALSO, THIS IS A HIEROGLYPHIC THAT MEANS I WANT TO BE CONTENT FOREVER!
THE SECOND GREAT TRAGEDY!
Matt Comi is in the third grade. He goes to recess and climbs on the monkey bars. Matt Comi falls off the monkey bars. As he fall, he turns upside down, his eyes stuck on the horizon. When he touches the harsh, spinning ground he hears a snap. He spends his day in the nurse’s office, then the doctor’s. He gets a sling. Then a cast. He walks home after school. His leg bone’s connected to his hip bone. His shoulder bone’s connected to his back bone. His arm bone’s connected to his shoulder bone. His wrist bones shake like a maraca. He sits inside, or walks or runs. At recess he plays kick-ball. After school he walks home again. He’s always walking somewhere with the cast. The cast comes off. His arms are held together by little white bones growing into big white bones.
EIGHT YEARS OLD, OVER THE ATLANTIC!
Matt Comi sits in the window seat, beside his older brother, and in front of his parents and sisters. He looks out the window through the cloudless noon sky. He sees the pale blue of the far-away ocean. At first it goes on forever. There is nothing alive to see from here. It is the greatest swathe of desert: unchanging save the slight bend on the horizon that says this water does not own the earth. How many people would it take to drink up the ocean?
BEN DOLLER GIVES MATT COMI ADVICE!
Hey Ben, will you help me with my biography? Why is it broken?
“Thank you for your question. Your ode is too short”
A LONG WALK IS A SHORT TRIP!
If Matt Comi drives 140 miles it will take him a little over two hours. Let’s say three hours, on a highway. Let’s be generous, four hours. If he walks 140 miles at an average pace, with a full, heavy pack on his back, with food, clothes, a tent, a sleeping bag — it will take him at least a week, or as long as two. If he walks 140 miles at an average pace with nothing and he does not forage or look for water or receive help from friends or strangers. He will not arrive.
MATT COMI’S DIMENSIONS!
Chest Size: 34–36 inches depending on breath.
Waist Size: 28 inches.
Inseam: 30 inches.
Foot Size: 9 U.S.
Weight: 130 pounds.
SIX YEARS OLD, OVER THE ATLANTIC!
Matt Comi sits in the window seat, beside his older brother, and in front of his parents and sisters. He looks out the window into the cloudy noon sky. He sees nothing but the milky fog, and if he cranes forward, the wing in front of them. The curved edge of the globe is missing. He’s spinning out into the white.
THE SINGLE GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT!
Matt Comi is a legendary walker. He walks for more than a mile at a time, at times he literally walks miles. Sometimes he walks a half-mile to school without so much as pausing for a breather. Today Matt Comi is with his friend. Together they are in Boise. Boise and Matt Comi and his friend are together and together they are in Idaho. Boise is spelled like boisé. Boisé means ‘wooded’ in french. There is a path in Boise called the greenbelt. Matt and his friend do not walk the greenbelt that winds through the trees along the river. Today they walk along the highway for nine miles back, from downtown, to the house where they stay. Matt Comi is especially courageous. He leads without fear when they stop for the mercifully hospitable massage chairs at the furniture outlet. He pays without thought for lemonade when he gets thirsty. They arrive back. Matt Comi has sore feet. But he has realized something. Never before has he achieved what he achieved today. He rests in an easy chair. He applauds himself rightfully. He drinks instant coffee.
HE’S GOT THE BROADEST SHOULDERS!
The story is progressing along well. Matt Comi is developing marvelously. The reader is engrossed in the story. We are well over half-way through. The fiction of this is the truth of this. This is especially exciting.
EVEN MORE FROM MATT COMI’S MOST PRIVATE DIARY!
For the largest leaves I
had ever seen
in a green house,
at a zoo deep in wheat
They poured out of
fruitless banana tree
Make me feel small.
Make me feel
Same as bright Mowgli,
the smoothest and
waxiest, to wrap up
like a blanket
around bony shoulders.
Leaves stretched over
frail bamboo frame
downstream, out of the
jungle, to the wide
DRIVING THROUGH WYOMING AT SUNRISE!
Sitting in the front seat of a grey nineties Honda, Matt Comi and friends drive east in the dark. The sage brush and soft undulation of the lunar dirt glows in the empty night. At six thirty in the morning, the desert sky turns orange, and the sun rises up at the very end of the horizon. For a moment everything is brilliant. No one can see where they are going. Their eyes adjust, they see the long, distant flatness. They see the sun reflecting off dry soil. And on the narrow curving edge Matt Comi swears he can hear the light telling him about water, that rippling tides are up ahead, that on the eastern end of this state is an ocean called Nebraska.
THE THIRD AND FINAL TRAGEDY!
Matt Comi is twelve years old. He fishes with his friend at Twin Echo Lakes. It is beautiful outside and despite Matt Comi’s penchant for silent brooding and instinctual knack for angling, he is unable to catch a fish. This brings his sum total of fish caught throughout his life to a new high of no fish caught. When he is fourteen he tries again. Though he walks the patient walk of the quiet fisherman down to the shore out to the dock. He is unable to catch a fish. Nineteen he again fishes. Again he catches no fish. At twenty, he watches someone spear hunt for suckerfish. He supposes it’s all a matter of luck. Or fate. Or the angriness of the water and the land and his own broad shoulders. How they must scare the fish. He cries the quiet cry of his latest, greatest tragedy — unchange.
THE TRUTH ABOUT EVERYTHING!
If Matt Comi walks from point a to point b. No matter what else happens, when he arrives, he is at a different place than when he started. If, over the course of a few minutes, Matt Comi walks from point a, in a circle, and ends again at point a. No matter what else happens, when he arrives, he is at a different place than when he started.
A NOTE, SCRIBBLED IN MATT COMI’S MOST PUBLIC DIARY!
While bathing in hot springs in the Payette Valley, Matt Comi looks at the trees. They are not shaped like him. Matt Comi thinks about Mary Oliver. She loves nature very much. She says the sun holds us, like great arms of light. Matt Comi knows better, he has arms, but light doesn’t have arms. He tries to relax in the hot spring. He pours coffee from his red thermos into the red plastic cup that doubles as a lid. The mountains hide the horizon. He tries to ignore the beer cans, and the dry white he hopes is candle wax.
P4 — Now I understand … in front of you — From Michael Krulwich’s article, “Falling Off The Moon” written for NPR sponsored blog Krulwich Wonders, 2013.
P6 — Thank you for your question. Your ode is too short — One of Ben Doller’s poems entitled “FAQ.” Published in FAQ:. Asahta Press, 2009.
P10 — Great arms of light — From Mary Oliver’s titular poem “Why I Wake Early.” Published in Why I Wake Early. Beacon Press, 2004.
Matt Comi lives and writes and makes art in the Pacific Northwest.