Posts for June 3, 2016

Erin Mathews

Até Logo

Being better is hard.
When I was young I refused
to swallow watermelon seeds
Fearing germination 
so sure of soil soaking my gut 
Feeling my hard rind for a rib cage.
I did not learn to lean into
growth or decay
Stagnation encourages dust 
My feet always shadowed
My throat always coated
Being better is hard.
I absorb night air 
Coat the inside of my mouth 
with honeysuckle sweetness 
and open my palms wide.
Being better is hard 
shut in closed cars 
Inside thin-skinned envelopes 
But easier On the River
In my bed
and without you. 

Erin Mathews

Holding Off the Dawn

It’s rough, she said. For snugglers, she told my raised eyebrow. Summer, I mean. I mean, sometimes it’s just too hot to touch skin. But then, she sleeps too soundly to know there are many nights in even August when you can feel the temperature drop, becoming more than cool and far less than hot as a storm moves in from the northwest with a promise of pleasures for the senses carried on the breeze that’s wrapped in the secret scents of rain and ozone, and if you’re not lucky enough to be sharing the night, the air is colder than the laughing moon.  


A Private Prayer at the New Moon

To the Goddess of all green things,
of the loamy smell of earth,
of quiet rabbit eyes in the morning,
of fog rolling down over tree tops,
I give these offerings.

Blood, spilled hot and dark in childbirth,
Soil salted by sweat,
White breath in cold air,
Laughter lifting in the sunset.

I ask for the soft swell of another child,
For shoulders to ease under burdens,
For gardens to bloom and children to grow in health
and heart.
For life.

From the Goddess of blue, quivering stars,
of baying howls at twilight,
of deep-rich honey dripping to a jar,
of the silver-soft turn of a leaf,
I ask these things.


Short Poem

Some people can write a poem
That may be only a few lines long
Still saying more than I can
In a few hundred, and I wonder
How? When I try so hard
To keep it short and contained
Like a well pruned garden imaginarium
That still ends up overgrown.
Weeds and tares mix roots with intention
That must be counted as part of the portrait
Of the process of growing ideas.

Then on this precious bloom alights
A ladybug of the orange kind
That deserves an honorable mention
Because I bet you didn’t know they might bite
In the whimsical moment it crawls on your hand.
It doesn’t really hurt
But it does force a curiosity.
What in these tiny cells that are building blocks
For my skin that’s just another earth to a bug
Made it want to insert its itty-bitty teeth in?
I get the mosquito thirsting for blood
And the bumblebee fighting for its life
But this ladybug? I don’t get it
Something so cute shouldn’t have that vicious side
Like the graceful swan that will kill you.
Bet you didn’t know that either.

The world seems a much more dangerous place
Than I initially realized, better stay inside
And that must be why the weeds grow.
I’m not there to keep it clean and organized.
And maybe that’s part of why I can’t write a short poem,
Because I really do like to see what grows.


Procession on Cochran Road

60 days after Easter, Christ the King Cathedral
celebrated a nearly 800-year-old tradition–
the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.
A half-mile procession wound around the church grounds,
a public witness of veneration of the Blessed Eucharist
displayed in a monstrance carried by the bishop.

No little girls cast flowers, no passerby genuflected
as the procession passed, though a few police cars
did block the intersections. Roofers working
along Cochran continued hammering
while pockets of people sang “Sing, My Tongue, the Savior’s Glory.”
The procession moved at a slow and not always reverent pace.
Some checked iPhones, others chatted. A deacon peeled off
and skipped the return to the cathedral,
the bishop’s benediction.

In the 13th century, when the faith of the world was growing cold,
a 16-year-old Belgian nun, Juliana, had visions of the moon
crossed by a dark stripe. She came to understand
that the moon symbolized the Church on earth,
the opaque line represented the absence of a feast in honor of Christ.
After Juliana shared her vision, her bishop
established the feast in 1246
and Pope Urban extended it to the entire Church in 1264.

And so we still move together following the monstrance,
most of us not singing, but all of us walking, sweating
a bit in our good clothes, the procession ancient and sunlit.


Have you met a listener?

the price for privacy
every word to trickle in
the ears
that look just like yours
they’re connected to consciousness
what you don’t even remember saying.
is he who listens
a world above that in front of him.
neighborhoods your words created
the time til imagination dies.


A Definition of Entropy

Expression of disorder
tendency for progression


Quantitative task
diminish activity 
inert, coalesce


Delta in discord
is calidity exchange
quotient of sheer kelvin

Oil/Acrylic painting i did with the title (A Definition of Entropy)


And Now Fog?

So much time facing a lit screen
Ignoring what the windows show outside—

And now the weather woos me,
Won’t take no for an answer.

Perfumes, softness, light shows.
I fix my stubborn jaw toward work.

Uh-oh. Resolve washes off like cheap paint
In the third shower of sweet rain.

Beauty, you siren, you who will not be denied—
I yield into the street, into the thrilling air.

You do not let up: three clouds from different families
Pose and turn and call. I take it personally. 

All this big love, these reasons to live,
This primordial beckoning to still the brain and fire the heart.

I walk in evening sky that drapes to the living earth,
Touching, touching, touching.

Air so tender I hear music in the key of lemon,
Courtesy of what? Magic magnolias just out of sight?

A night of sleep as thick as water,
A morning filled with fog. Yours yours I am yours.


Driving from Rice Subdivision

Poem 3, June 3   Driving from Rice Subdivision   Wind from the southwest strips white blooms from Bradford Pears that line the street.  

Like large snowflakes in February, they create a blizzard & fall, covering grass in white.  

I remember two winters in a row when I lay on frozen ground, ratting the sewer line.

  I hear my father’s voice talking about men freezing to death in the Battle of the Belgium Bulge.  

At the stop sign while I wait, I close my eyes. The warmth of your skin

when I massaged your shoulders & your neck excites me… The driver behind me honks–my eyes open.