Three Poems by Lucian Mattison


Una Trumpada

Defined, punching a Trump supporter or being punched by a Trump
supporter. Perhaps both, but that’s too egalitarian for its namesake.

Le di a ese racista de mierda una trumpada fenomenal.
Ese racista de mierda me dio una trumpada apocalíptico.

And then you dream about punching racists in variety of circumstances
which only makes them more racist, and then inevitably dreaming

about getting punched by racists, which in my case, I’m mostly safe,
as their main avenues for comprehension are skin deep.

Or is it more useful as trumpear, defined: to barge in all elbows,
fucking all kinds of shit up—mainly aimed at drunk frat boys

and vocal hotel guests entranced by their interminable displeasure.
Or could it be more of a noun, a Trumposo, not paying your taxes,

or a Trumpeta, an incessant squawking, but more commonly
used to describe a gaping mouth stuffed with horseshit.

Or maybe we can make it something more hopeful, term akin
to strolling in like you own the goddamn place and quickly realizing

you’re in way over your head, and subsequently folding
underneath the pressure of an outraged public, but holding firm

to the post with fat little orange fingers, until either ejected
forcefully or resigning in disgrace. Or perhaps

they all apply, making for something more universally
incomprehensible and disfigured, as this whole year

has seemed so far. Listen, and repeat: El trumposo Trump trumpeo
tirando trumpadas, hasta que se trumpeo por ser trumpeta.


Yes is the ease, entering, & a flick of the wrist
to exit, wakefulness on whims—what of this present
moment over any other? We broker exits
in elevators, subways, at dinner without the slightest
hint of joy. Yes, I’m at home with two screens.
Yes, I will speak only to pillows for days. Yes,

to every whim pushing its way through
the window’s cracks, frosty information
and solitude the light beyond a door. I’m poorly built
on yes, feel the constant creeping weather.
Yes, again & again, until I have so many choices,
I’m glued to the mattress. Agarrate Catalina,

my pocket buzzes with the future,
all of it shrouded in yes. Presidential tweets, nuclear
code for yes, fire engine red button of yes. Like this
we broker exits, whims never shrugged. Pal,
is that thing on the front of your pants radioactive?
—yes, pal. They say it’s all we think with.


Everything I carry, I’ve killed for. Not one person
will sell me a gun, not even the drones ask questions—
they just start shooting until I’m limping away,
Stimpak dangling from my arm. Diamond City
wouldn’t take me in, supermutants a bunch
of barbarians. I took to the road, the name Umar,
because it means survival. Now scavenging: caps,
colas, baby rattle. Not one bullet that wasn’t
prized from cold fingers. In this world, we are all refugees.
Imagine not being given a Pip-Boy, no access
to triggers and way-points, no help from the benevolent
immortals in trench coats and slouch hats.
Who moves the story forward then? Here I am
at the gas station garage—a chair, painting of a cat,
the odd mutfruit and tato plucked from branch
out back—entering this world on foot, one
that will never belong to me, but in the hours of sleep
stolen on a dead man’s cot, prattle of bullets
echoing among the hills.

Argentinean-American poet and translator Lucian Mattison is the author of two books of poetry, Reaper’s Milonga, forthcoming from YesYes Books, and Peregrine Nation (The Broadkill River Press, 2014). His poetry, short fiction, and translations appear or are forthcoming in Four Way Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Hobart, Muzzle, Nano Fiction, The Nashville Review, The Offing, and elsewhere, and he won the 2016 Puerto Del Sol Poetry Prize. He currently works at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and is a poetry editor for Big Lucks. Visit

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