“That Bit Me” by Matthew Murrey

Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018: Artist’s Choice


Waiting by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Image: “Waiting” by Alexis Rhone Fancher. “That Bit Me” was written by Matthew Murrey for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

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Matthew Murrey


The sex is only good if we’re totally fucked up.
It blurs how wrong we are for each other.
—Alexis Rhone Fancher

It’s all a blur
how we wound up
this morning two spoons,
hand in glove, glass
full half, full empty.
Who was smooth
porter, creamy
stout, and who sweet-
strong Barbados rum?

Come, don’t pretend you
don’t remember taking me
home saying God,
you look like you
could stand a little
something to eat (I did)

and drink (we did).
We tipped many
and found ourselves lips
on lips, unbuttoned and undone.
I don’t remember you
regretting a thing. So don’t

toss that look, Lenny,
as if I’m just any stranger
strolling this joint. You
aren’t fooling anybody,
this body. Now lean in
and let me know where

and when we’ll hook up
again, then fill me
a glass of something light
tonight: a pilsner
or lager—hair
of the dog that bit me.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
August 2018, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Alexis Rhone Fancher: “So many terrific poems, inspired by my shot of the waitress and busboy at The Artisan House restaurant in DTLA, a restaurant that, sadly, no longer exists. I had a hard time choosing the winner, but I kept going back to Matthew Murrey’s tongue-in-cheek poem that riffed on a line in a poem of mine. Oh, that’s clever! I thought as I began reading the poem, prepared to be underwhelmed. But the poem delivered. It caught the just-perceptible despair in the slump of the server’s shoulders, juxtaposed with the late night bravado that’s the stock in trade of the successful cocktail waitress. I should know. I was one.”

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