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Adrian Matejka

Olber's Paradox

At the Speed of Hustle

Olber's Paradox

Thanks to the trees, moonlight
dithers in the wet leaves like a college

grad moving back to mom & dad’s.
Fredo on the boat, there’s no drama

in this night sky, no gun claps or check
points to separate one neighbor from

another in a half-suburban nook.
Fences make better neighbors

out of the angular machines wobbling
when you want directness, mulching

when you need a cup of sugar.
It’s a long shuffle up the driveway past

the covered-wagon mailbox balancing
that banana box of cassettes & paperbacks.

You’re just like Olber: eyebrowing
asteroids & waitresses when you should

be eyeballing this planet’s musical
indifference. The big difference: Olber

baptized Napoleon between the lunch
& dinner shift. You? You moved back

home under a hairnet of leaves that,
in a month or so, will stick to everything.

Half notes to a black work shirt, stars
like growing pains in a wet song.


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At the Speed of Hustle

As far as the eye can see,
not even a satellite.

Stars don’t need to hustle.
They are already where
the rest of us want to be,
so they swagger at their own
pace. Their oscillations
of privilege, their high-signs
of radio waves. Late-night
twinkling like head nods
that wink the gas & dust
between them. One last
moment as the lovely center
of things. Karl Jansky heard
the ruckus first, but couldn’t
place the static: radio antennae
creaking as it rotates through
a beatbox of stars, a woman’s
allergic breathing after she’s
face planted in the ivy.
The kind of ivy traced from
blank spaces & pin pricks
in telescopes, the magnificent
speeds of twins conjoined
thinly between boom box
speakers. A thinly-shaped
back scar from the day
flat boxing the driveway 
seemed like a good idea.
The box slipped & she kept
going, first on pocked
concrete, then on grass
& into the ivy like a star
that lost its page in the story.  

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Adrian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003), Mixology (Penguin USA, 2009), and The Big Smoke (Penguin USA, forthcoming in 2013). You can find him at and on Twitter: @adrian_matejka.

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