Michael J Pagán


The Direction of Travel in Children’s Bodies

                           Check their bodies and always have
a blade, somewhere, where children—where are all
                           the children?—are probably unconscious
under the ledges and its geometric, decorative elements
                           blending in doors, but without a rock formation
inside your living room.

                           Like love—it’s open edges and unsightly railings—
the unbelievable. They should never ask us to do impossible things,
                           they always have a blade somewhere, so always keep
                           a crow bar handy to set you free.

                           The breezes through their feet, manacled the hatchet
sounds, the breeze on the ceilings, let the water run just a bit longer, they,
                           their own Earth cartoon, they, and their hoodied towels,
a recurring dream of taking air.

                           We ask, What are they arguing about?
They say, The world.


The Earth-Moving Company

Signs the dying process has begun:

  1. During the process of dying we have a body which is ailing, the body
    has tremendous intelligence and there are promises on our heads
    being collected.
  2. I felt the buildings, they were floating, their dresses sweeping the floors,
    nail beds and lips as they become pale and bluish.
  3. Swallows become difficult if the feather didn’t move or the mirror
    didn’t cloud a woman’s breath.
  4. There are no violins, just the scent of organs and dated materials.
  5. Never enough organs to go round, like all stragglers and bent paper clips,
    as still as dust leavings in a room.
  6. And we are nothing but pen scrapes and scuffs and accidental scratches
    across a great plastic table, accidental tablescapes.
  7. But, so what? Everybody sleeps in the trees from time to time, covered
    in soot, burned, causing a rattling sound and cough.
  8. Myths about Pain: Say your name. Talk Softly. Touch gently. Don’t ask,
    you may find that warm.
  9. As we are the liquor in God’s party tumbler as he takes a hero’s sip to
    the final inconveniences of a dying world.
  10. A theory of dreams, but my God, it’s all full of stars.
  11. It never fails to astonish: you’re alive, you’re dead. Exhausted,
    what the human body could endure.


Michael J Pagán was born and raised in Miami, FL, spending four years (1999-2003) in the United States Navy before (hastily) running back to college during the spring of 2004. He currently resides in Deerfield Beach, FL with his wife and daughter where he continues to work on his poetry, short fiction and a collaborative novel. He is a contributor to his alma mater’s blog, The MFA at FAU, as well as his own (which is more a hub for his work than actual blog) The Elevator Room Company. A graduate of Florida Atlantic University’s Creative Writing M.F.A. program, his poetry, fiction, non-fiction and drama have appeared or are forthcoming in The Rumpus, DIAGRAM, Pacifica Literary Review, Spork Press, Requited, Verse, The Coachella Review, BlazeVOX, Spittoon Magazine, The Acentos Review and The Watershed Review, among others.


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014