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By Matthew Schwartz

From The Sky contained in the Shaking Tree

What you feel
reveals you.
for the sustenance
inclined to a source,
enamored of singularity,
quickly right here and quickly
gone, shadow from which
the body's braveness comes.
apparently stumbling.
I slapped one on my leg.
Its blood glowed.
Blessings for the arms follows quite a few speakers—often disabled audio system, who by no means as soon as determine themselves as gadgets of grievance or self-pity—through the haunted dreamscape of “normalcy.” certainly, desires are non-stop presences during this strangely refined and chic debut assortment that juxtaposes actual conditions with the massive inside lifetime of the mind's eye. the topics of Blessings for the arms are genuine and imagined confrontations—and reconciliations—between relatives, associates, strangers, and animals. Matthew Schwartz’s quasi-autobiographical verse complicates and clarifies the sentiments ready simply beneath the styles and expectancies of the audio system’ sunlight lives, the place anger, pleasure, corporeality, and mortality all appear to collide. For Schwartz, poetry is a sleight of hand that retains the reader guessing via approximately imperceptible shifts among current imaginative and prescient and absent fact. Blessings for the Hands is a lyric reckoning of the strain among the lifestyles we're given and the lifestyles we're decided to lead.
Blessings for the Hands is emotionally robust and imaginatively wild, distinct, deeply relocating, with no an ort of self-pity, and pervaded through ‘compassion all the way down to your fingertips’ (which Chekhov stated is ‘the in basic terms approach’ either to jot down and to live). This perspective of imaginative and prescient is sharp sufficient to unify a lot disparate material. The poems are transparent and musical and for that reason a excitement to learn and reread regardless of their gravity. I imagine this can be lasting work.”—Michael Ryan

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29 • II Suspicions That the dream classroom is a real classroom. That I want the same frustration, that cold, cramped seat, the same chemistry formulas or history I haven’t studied because I haven’t learned not to want, or that wanting is a path or nothing. That I call it something and want it to stay so I can learn it in the good teacher’s lecture, the crux, the trick, the turn, the stop. But I’m here and there is no teacher or everything teaches, the desks, the paper, the margins, the wall, and someone I love knocks on the wall from the next room.

Meeting-place, holding-place, wayward angel, car window. • 54 • Both of us young, my father swung me, when I cried, to a song called “Communication Breakdown,” the singer screaming misunderstanding, screaming the crescendo of sweet, consolable grief. Years later, no words, so we screamed and muddied them, a first departure from trust, one staccato beat, one high note searing through the body, abandonment played again and again to get at the words, anger stirring in the lost thing. But nothing is ever lost.

They could hear Frankie breathing in their cabinets, with the five-year-old unopened soda cans, behind the butterfly wallpaper. Grandma forgot her words, and Frankie swirled in the dust of her dictionary, shook its rickety table. He stirred the leaves of the spider plants she kept in the severed bottom halves of milk jugs. The leaves grew until they almost touched the pictures of our half-forgotten relatives. When Frankie killed himself, they couldn’t love him without an enduring refusal to forgive him.

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