Adam Matcho, 5/15/2011

Current Occupation: Obituary Writer
Former Occupation(s): Technical Writer for an invention company and many years working at Spencer’s Gifts and at a gas station
Contact Information: Adam Matcho is an obituary writer who works and lives just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa. After writing about death all day, he tries to make poems and stories about life. Some of these poems and stories have appeared in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy and Pearl, among other magazines and websites. He is also a regular contributor to The New Yinzer ( where his work-related column, “Counter Culture,” relives the horrors and joys of his time in the retail and food service industries.


Romance, On The Clock

The lighter fluid was lukewarm
on the back of my hand.
Filled the loveline of my palm
and slipped like liquid lust
to the tile floor. Llydia watched

me do this. Didn’t even flinch
as the lighter flickered before
the blue flame held steady
and I caught fire
for two full seconds

I wildly waved my hand
and tried to heal myself
by fitting my fist
in my mouth.

She took my wrist,
looked the burn over
like thrift store sneakers
and left it hanging limp.

“Really,” she said,
“You didn’t have to go
and do a thing like that.”


Fastfood Affair

Once I fell for this trick,
a bartering system
between a petty pot dealer
and myself, a sandwich artist.

He’d trade me a joint
for a footlong sub
and I’d pretend to work
the cash register
for the camera.
The weed was good.
So was the food.

I’d lavish it with banana peppers
and the thickest tomato slices.
I’d layer the lunchmeat
between American, cheddar
and provolone cheese.
I’d spread shredded lettuce
straight from the bag
and sprinkle crab meat crumbs
into the hand-squeezed streaks of mayo.

One day, the joint
was thinner;
the next, anemic.
So the sandwiches
grew less decadent,
the bread a bit harder.
I’d settle for onion ends,
the brown green peppers.
Once I even stomped
a slice of roast beef
and served it up, the tread
of my boot as visible
as fine print on an affidavit.

It all ended
when he anted
a joint made entirely
of seeds. I felt it took effort
to burn me like that
and saw humor and sadness
in the infidelities

of our fastfood affair.

When I told him
we were through
he understood,
took it better
than most women I’ve lost
who had also used me
for nothing more
than a free footlong.

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