Matthew Guenette

In New Hampshire they call me Gumby or Chigger.
They shall never forget my shaved head
orange goatee corkscrewing from my chin

the words Live Free or Die
tattooed across my face. They ache for me back home
my 3 or 4 friends who tolerate my piracy

and secret military aide to the leftists.
Honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters.
The one who made pants a dirty word.

Everybody laughed when I asked the regime
for six million dollars, now I have this submarine
and a truly magic 8-ball. I shake it, chance

smiles and says, "All signs point to yes." In New Hampshire
they revel in my ideas. At dusk when the streetlights
flicker on like drunk stars, I can feel the universe

cooling in all its mystery, I'm able to describe
perfectly its tendrils reaching deep
into the nothing that binds us.




Last summer my friend Mike Theune and I were walking down Willy St. in Madison. We stopped in front of a pub to admire some hot peppers growing in a window box. We were only looking when a bouncer stepped outside and said, "I wouldn't touch those if I were you, they belong to Tiny." Tiny, of course, being someone in the pub, the owner perhaps. The rest of the afternoon we had a good time imagining who Tiny was, and how he came to his nickname. Thus, the Nickname Poem idea was born.