4 poems by M. A. Banash

Matt was born and raised outside Philadelphia. His work has been published in Poetry Quarterly, Penumbra St. Louis U Madrid, and SurVision. When he grows up he wants to play second base for the Phillies. Right now, his goal is to put everything into poetry.






Yelling “Fire” at the Crowded Drive-In


Ego should be like

Democracy high on dope;

The greatest good for all.

My friend, who does a lot of driving,

Once turned to me and said,

“Stan,” Though my name is Bob,

Waving his two o’clock hand across the windshield

Like he was polishing a mirror,

“What was once before us is now all gone behind us.”

I fell for it,

Sticking my head out the window

Looking for its disappearance

In the new horizon chasing our tails

I got my head lopped off

By a rural route mail box.

Now I can’t decide chewing my cuticles

Until they look like a badger’s midnight snack,

Am I a ghost or a myth,

An apparition or an aberration?

“Look”, he said,

“I’ve been driving this car

Or one very similar to it for years,

Along interstates, down boulevards,

Across this land of ours selling, selling, selling….”

Here’s where I picked up the thread of his yarn,

The cut of his jib so to speak and continued

“I can spot one like you a mile away:

You’re what a kid conjures in the mirror

At twelve o’clock midnight by saying

Your name three times and when you appear your

Red, white & blue colors don’t run…

They just go drip, drip, drip…”

The day had already been long enough

By the time we dropped our shadows off a nearby motel

And headed for a nightcap.

Suddenly he grabbed my arm with righteous fervor

And addressed the emptiness where my head had once been,

“I sincerely hope something speaks to you, soon, before it’s too late…”






I’m a member so I get 10% off all purchases (certain restrictions apply)

And have already formulated the discount in my head when I place my purchases

On the counter between bookmarks depicting the latest Vampire enterprise

And drastically reduced Easter candy.

Oh Chekhov she said I never read any Chekhov.

I wonder how anyone can get a job in a bookstore without having read Chekhov

And better yet or worse still how anyone can get a job in a bookstore without the common sense

To not mention having never read Chekhov.

The Philip Levine I can understand as I am new to him as well.

His proletarian poems stop your throat with smoke and stain your hands in mechanic’s blood.

Sixty years of history have still not washed away the blood to leave the rosy lens dilettantes and aesthetes alike prefer.




I await an inquiry that never arrives.


Once outside I check the infallible receipt in discord with my fallible mathematics

And realize why my checkbook remains unbalanced in perpetuity.

A man walks ahead of me on the strip mall’s wide sidewalk,

A plastic bag bulging in his hands,

A swollen canvas gym bag over his shoulder,

His thick gray hair cascades from beneath a baseball cap

And unfurls across his broad shoulders and back over a khaki green army jacket.

Dressed too warmly even for this damp early spring morning

He’s a hobo waiting for a train that stopped running by here decades earlier

If it ever passed through here at all.

I’m between jobs willfully so rush home to write this

Balanced precariously between the antipodes and

Choosing to live rather than work in this brief lapse.

In a democracy everyone goes to heaven, right?




The Turning of the World is Accompanied by a Constant Ringing


Let’s pull some jobs & move to Bolivia

With your Spanish tongue

And my eastern European good looks

We’ll retire in the sun

I’ve always like those little bowlers

And even if I don’t look good in one

Fuck it, we’ll have enough scratch not to care

And you can be Katherine Ross

Or whoever you want to be

Just keep your eyes

Those blue eyes clear as ice.

Our dreams will have a cinematic quality

And the flavor of a chocolate milkshake

Our lives a dream in a siesta;

Just keep an eye out for Strother Martin

Or is it Dub Taylor?