Editor’s Note: This week, we want to welcome Michael Demyan, who joins our Easy Street staff this month. A poet and writer, Michael also edits the print-only mag, DenimSkin. To introduce him, we’ll share a few pieces of poetry he sent us prior to joining the masthead. And we also pose our very favorite question: Why does poetry matter? —Camille Griep

Michael writes:

“A poet is a spy. They look like any other person would look like but there is no need to throw the door open, shouting, “hey look—I’m a poet!” It is an undercover position. They observe and report back to their audience and the subject of such a silent interrogation is often none the wiser. Poets write in a secret language and their messages are to be decoded in order to gain, experience, or see.

It is a collaboration on behalf of both poet and reader. Poems are hardly written on the first try just as they are hardly understood with one read. This part is paramount; there is a responsibility on behalf of the poet and reader to do the work. Even the most obvious statement should be treated as an onion.

I don’t believe that a single poem (or group of poems for that matter) can change the world—the weight is too much to bear. But poetry is a form of communication and attempt at understanding. We hide our secrets in the open.”


Not to be Reproduced

perhaps now it’s time to move back home
to Pennsylvania get a real job &
start a family
despite my fear of becoming
a father
I’d work with Louie
in the factory
melting the glue down
getting high
bringing home an honest
250 dollar weekly paycheck
to my wife
that would easily cover
the 175 dollar monthly rent
with enough
left over for one night
out a week
where we’ll see all of the people
from high school who we hated
& hate them still
still talking about their best friend
who took too many
drugs & hanged himself
in his mother’s kitchen
or that last summer
after high school
before everyone moved
away & became serious
or senior year on the football team
when they made 9 tackles
in one game
before getting a blowjob
from some underclassmen
beneath the pool table at a party
that we were not invited to

my wife won’t work tho’
she’ll be too much to work she’ll just
spend the mornings taking polaroids of me
while I’m getting ready in the dark
in the afternoon she’ll lie around the house
smoking cigarettes drinking coffee &
reading the dictionary
& at night when I come home
she reads old pulp novels for a laugh
(the baby takes care of himself)
& there’s always a beer on the table
but I don’t live in the desert
nor am I thirsty enough
for the thought of that mirage
besides, there are no girls there
anymore, to live
with dictionaries


The Infinite Recognition

I saw myself
through the mirror
a hollowed limb
where I held the ice
of the city
for my own
beyond the silent eye
full of knowing, and there
I found the ghost of you
touching the future body,
upon the canvas
I sat alongside myself
watching the limited
reflection wane
below the silver hills
of Nebraska



In places, desperately
in the setting on
of the cold season
what could become
of strangers
that is not a crutch,
the cigarettes
hanging over the glass
and burning out
the door,
shameful breaths
undress and cling
to each other with sighs.


Michael Demyan drives a pick-up truck, hikes mountains, climbs rock, builds scenery, loves a woman, and chops wood.