Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Destruction Myth by Mathias Svalina

Destruction Myth
poems by Mathias Svalina

To read a "Creation Myth" on Poetry Daily, click here.

“In the beginning, everyone looked like Larry Bird. In the beginning, there was a rotting pig corpse. Everyone wanted to fight to the death. There was a hole in the basement floor. And a bunny with a broken leg. There were ghosts. Evildoers. A gun. Bacon. Cologne. A pencil. In these inventive, often deeply unnerving poems, Mathias Svalina offers us a string of forty-four creation myths and one longer, unsettling destruction myth. The result is a sonically complex, breathtakingly witty book, a collection of poems that surprises first with its wildly orchestrated clamor of narratives then, on reflection, surprises all over again with its intelligence and insight into the many ways we tell stories, the many means by which we imagine ourselves participating in them. This is an ambitious, brilliant first book.” 
—Kevin Prufer  

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Creation Myth

In the beginning everyone looked like Larry Bird
but everyone did not have the name Larry Bird
& this was confusing. Everyone had a headache
& walked around with furrowed brows. Headaches
hadn’t been invented & when people described the pain
they said an angry Larry Bird stands on my neck
& my head is Larry Bird after missing a layup.
Even the babies were the size & shape of Larry Bird.
Since everyone looked like Larry Bird they avoided
extravagant events. All the clubs shut down, no one
could watch a Larry Bird dance without understanding
that they danced like this, pursed lips, flagellum legs,
arms like wild fire hoses. The real Larry Bird retired
to his basement. He wore magnifying goggles
& built watches of smaller & smaller dimension.
He built watches so small that he needed a microscope
to affix the springs & levers in the right places.
He built watches so small that he called them cells.
He built watches so small that he called them atoms.