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Sonnet for All the Dumb Conspiracies I Entertain

I want to believe that I’m the dead-center of
a petri dish lost in the cold-forever of space,
that my life alone is like a painted dove—
wings flexed, white exposure traced
on white—a brilliant burst against blue sky.
I want to believe that I’m the dead-center of
a grand narration, the most sinister of lies—
of a world without truth or love.
Suddenly everything feels so risky.
Cameras pan toward my every move.
I want to believe in the pounding simplicity
of a hidden message like this: they live.
They live and we die and they lie
to us. Watch closely, they are all spies.



Confabulation/The Mandela Effect Sonnet

They have to be toying with our memory.
Mandela died confined to his island rock
back in 1984, right? And yet now, fragmentary
rolls of razor wire and sea-slick rocks lay cropped
into history’s bent frame, and the record books
claim he went on, a free man, to greatness.
Hard enough to know the sweet carrot from the sharp hook
when so much of what we see is through the opaqueness
of childhood memory. Who could know anything
in this world reborn again with old possibilities?
A single finger of doubt grazes over everything
and over nothing.
A team of crisis actors clears the vicinity…

…and maybe, just maybe, when this shuffle ends,
the gospel stories you once knew will be true again.



Parallax/Magic Trick Sonnet

In the early 1800’s, the penny-press proved
the viral engine that drove a new Zetetic belief—
that God and His Earth stood flatly unmoved,
and any Copernican con was to be met with grief.

It’s 200 years later, and I’m watching a viral loop
of one hundred proofs that the world is flat:
a slick video with ominous strings and shopped
photos of outer space, and ending with rats—
with a comic of drowning rats. Our global elite?
Yes, here are the devil’s usual folks: the Bilderbergs,
the Rothschilds—an eye-rolling unmasking of the secret
lives of our omnipresent overlords: the banker Jews.
I’m told, take a penny from your pocket of loose change.
The white rabbit will vanish. The black hat remains.


Originally from Mississippi, Matt Morgan now lives and teaches English in Kalamazoo, Michigan. These sonnets are a part of a larger project, Howling at a Flat Earth, that is an exploration of conspiracy theories and cognitive distortions. The collection was born shortly after a good friend “came out” as a flat-earther.