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Poetry by Timothy Matos
  Music by Steve Kane
  Art by John Barbato
'Zygotic Mysteries' (c) 2005-2006 John Barbato
Zombie Metaphysics
—After Donald Davidson

He devoted most of his time to zygotic mysteries,
to zombie metaphysics,
to the intentionality of the swamp man.
It could mean only one thing.
He had not loved in time, chance forbade it,
and yet the fault was certainly his own.
"It's not you; it's me."
It never happened like that—to anyone—he was sure.
However, having missed all the bull, he was left only with hermetic
after-images:
hoary lips in his ears,
a left shoe that would not stay tied.
His mother loved him gravely,
and it was her gravity pulling too hard
that stuck him in the ground.
The Gated Community
'Zygotic Mysteries' (c) 2005-2006 John Barbato
Every night he checks the doors,
and every morning they are unlocked.
Nothing is ever stolen.
There is never any sign of intruder: human, animal or otherwise,
and his wife sleeps late into the afternoon most days.
There are no kids
and there have not been any ghosts in this town for years.
Since the new legislation, since no one can wake a sleepwalker,
they have all been moved to the outskirts of town
where they can wander the gated community
free of fear,
safe from traffic and the humiliation of waking up
cold and mosquito-bitten on the neighbor's stoop.
No one ever knocks or rings the bell—
the keys don't catch, the dogs wear muzzles
or face hard time.
'Zygotic Mysteries' (c) 2005-2006 John Barbato
Indian Burial Ground
He sold them all—he imagined—
authentic, Indian burial ground—horror movie stuff.
He sold it faster than he could buy it back—
hawking land and vanishing on young couples and old couples
romancing for cheap land
determinately dusty, sagging to one side,
and only a few hours commute on a dirt road.
Not heaven, not even close, but standing.
He pulled onto the freeway, sadly afraid of the hauntings in earnest,
of blood in the dirt which would eventually reach the porch steps
and the stone kitchen.
They never stayed long—those people—
their courage sapped,
telling no one malevolence—
and leaving without compensation and malevolence.
malevolence—
Exodus
'Zygotic Mysteries' (c) 2005-2006 John Barbato
The people never sleep here.
Eye-drop stock soars.
Songbirds smash listlessly into glass windows.
Moths hunt for a rare forgotten bug lantern,
and what a joy to find it.
Flashlight CEOs throw themselves from high windows.

When a dark cloud of locusts settles in town
and blocks out the halogenetic light of the street lamps,
everyone is happy to be in the dark.
The town sleeps.
The hand of god is on them.
When they awaken days later,
the locusts are gone, the lights are on
and the sky is fallen.

'Zygotic Mysteries' (c) 2005-2006 John Barbato
The Off-Season
The fog came in to cover their escape every time they needed it.
The mornings became understandably uglier.
At night, they came home with wings hushed;
usually their wives were still awake.
Some were with them,
coming in through windows at the back of the house
so the neighbors wouldn't see:
weeds in their hair, grass stains on their robes,
sandals muddied.

And the kids?
(slotted to fill holes by those more recently departed)
they kept up appearances,
coming in smelling of oil.
When the fog rolls in near water,
sometimes ships sink
and people drown—
more angels for next summer's bungalows.

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