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The Nietzsche Itinerary copyright  © 1996 by Matt Buys

Poet Bio
    Matt Buys

Sample Poems
   Without Squat
   Leaving Church
   Halfway Between Guatemala and the Morning

Poet Bio

Matt Buys

Matt Buys bases this collection of poetry on his experiences during a three-year stay in Latin America when he survived by living in two-dollar rooms and eating one-cent bananas. He travelled from one war zone to the next, mostly working as a reporter, sometimes teaching, usually vomiting from a disease or two. Born the son of an archeologist in Boulder, Colorado, Matt spent much of his childhood abroad. He studied art and philosophy at Hope College and in Vienna. As a transient resident of Latin America, he taught English, picked coffee beans, and brought home a bevy of tropical diseases. He currently lives in Indianapolis, Indiana where he works at an apple orchard.

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Without Squat

The cholera blew through the barrio
like the rotting breath of God,
knocking a quarter of us onto our sweaty backs
and oozing another quarter of of those to the fat worms of death.
Our white vomit mixed with the angry dirt,
a Rio Grande of regurgitated rejections flowing
to the rhythm of sanguine screams and polka-dot prayers.

After media reports circulated
outside the country a suited health official arrived
with the mighty pronouncement that if we had boiled the water
no one,
not one person would have died.

He left for the next barrio and someone muttered,
"Pity no one has money for a stove."

© 1996 Matt Buys

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Leaving Church

At three a.m. Roberto and I acquire steak sandwiches
on roachy bread
from the one-eyed vendor by the church.

Plopping our weariness onto granite steps
I open my sandwich
and see a city of insects crawling over the lettuce.
Dead and cooked is one thing,
crawling another.
I toss the veggies and watch an orange streak of rat
attack them.

Roberto points past the rat,
a whore is pacing and Roberto says no church is sacred
in this city.
I tell him Mary Magdelene probably humped near one too
but he has never heard of any Mary whore.

Three borrachos stop their staggering walk to piss on a stone Jesus.
"You're pissing on God," shouts Roberto.
"We're just washing off the pigeon shit," they reply.

© 1996 Matt Buys

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Halfway Between Guatemala and the Morning

Four o'clock in the morning,
Maria and I are in a wounded school bus that crawls
through Guatemala
like a turn-crazed worm.
Maria, she snores beside me,
her breath reeking of dead animal,
her face layered in burnt-colored dust.
I myself stink of primal armpit ooze.
We're hoping to wash off in the blue of the Atlantic
but I wonder if we'll arrive.
Our driver,
like some mad god, is drunk at the wheel
and fog covers the road.
I want to say the fog is smoke because I know the jungle
is burning
but that would be lying.
It's only fog and with some luck
the sun will burn it away.
© 1996 Matt Buys

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