The Quiet American

Mathias Svalina

One picks through the trash for flattened cans & bits of copper wire. Water drips from the malarial eyes of computer screens onto the discarded plastics below. There is always white smoke of flaming plastic. Always one’s brothers & sisters twisting new contortions to reach below the heaps of trash. Mothers & fathers merge into a bit of black garbage bag flapping in the wind. Language fades in the sun. One thinks one is above this, but there is nothing above this. The world is a trash heap, the occupants searching through the smoke & carcasses.


Mathias Svalina is the author of one book of prose, I Am A Very Productive Entrepreneur (Mud Luscious, 2011), & two books of poetry, Destruction Myth (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009) & The Explosions (Subito, 2012). With Alisa Heinzman & Zachary Schomburg, he co-edits Octopus Books.