Matt Longabucco

What is it about that moment when the one’s voice is on the other’s lips? This poem is the kind whose germinal phrases you scrawl on a cocktail napkin when you’re out for a drink to come down from a night that stretched your nerves to the limit with stimulation. Its sources—“Holy Grail,” Wuthering Heights, Claudia Rankine’s reading at the Poetry Project in December 2014—are operatic in their intensity, emitting haunting echoes, vital interference.


codeX feat. EB

split-second when Jay-Z falls back onto the bed

and Justin Timberlake’s voice comes out of his mouth

to 79 million views (that’s a million plus

my 78 million)

:: he himself is emphasis


like Heathcliff’s unmistakable breeches

two brown circles on the knees


years later, passing amongst the chilly graves

they heard two muffled noises they couldn’t have known

were the cork from the champagne bottle placed in his coffin

spontaneously popping, followed by its ricochet off the lid


didn’t Claudia’s kindness hurt, the other night?

fan out, seethe in repose, die unreconciled, wear no collar, be butane

to cognac, commit falsetto, geek ye out on meter, loungeth upon the bleachers—

your wayfaring throws a shadow we add to cover

no, not “kindness”         no, not “hurt”


Matt Longabucco is the author of the chapbook Everybody Suffers: The Selected Poems of Juan García Madero (O’Clock Press 2014).  Other work has appeared recently in Capricious, The Brooklyn Rail, and Parkett.  He is a co-founder of Wendy’s Subway, a 24-hour library, workspace, and meeting space for writers, artists, and readers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  He teaches at New York University and lives in Brooklyn.

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