Posts for June 13, 2016



My morning coffee warms my stiff hands
The treatment has left me battered.
Another vile seed could be burrowed in, growing waxy layers
blooming out from the bean on the mammogram to a grim flower on the MRI
I can’t feel the lumps for the scar tissue.

I swear that I am grateful for each day
I promise I know that I am lucky
I will try not to be caught up in the trickery of petty emotions
but I can’t feel the lumps for the scar tissue.


hope the clown

wears all
different colors

smiles even though
he’s sad

cries so
the paint on his face runs

twists kids up
just to pop them

tell jokes
for no laughs

hope knows
the joke’s
on us 



The grass will grow long after you’ve gone,
after your blades have rusted to particles
and your house crumbled to dust.
It will reach and reach,
remembering the prairie
and forgetting the lawn. 



I am an unreliable
narrator. We all are.
So maybe the particular
or event
or tragedy
or surge of happiness
doesn’t matter
as much as what
I think I might be
after looking
through your lens.  

We create
narrativity together.
No event necessary.
Today I



He reaches down and gives you water
When refused
He takes a drink of the water
Thinking it’ll make you realize it’s okay
But he’s not stable
“Will this make me sick?”
He said no
Not just to me,
But to adolescence


The Woman with No Arms

                                      The Woman with No Arms

In church she sits front and right of me.
My eyes drift toward her despite my better
intentions.  Her sundress reveals the vulnerable
bareness of shoulder leading into breast.

She gazes at the boyfriend with longing
as thouh he’s the sun, moon and stars.
I imagine she wraps her legs around him
as she would arms.

Her hair is still wet from the shower
and I try to picture how she shampoos,
opens a door, feeds herself.

Home, I Google “coping with no hands”
and find happy people using their feet
in unimaginable ways.

In the pool, an armless moter swims
with her armless son
their bodies undulating like otters.
With a bright face, the boy
says he can do most anything he wants.

Did she choose this incarnation?
Do we each choose our fundmental wounds
and then 
go on from there?


Trump Tanka

that ugly mouth

like an enormous carp

spewing lies

open hate close open hate

the ranting monstrous voice


Half Moon, Venus Lying Close

A late spring night, broken cloud holding the finished day’s heat against concrete and asphalt. You toss, knowing without looking that the bed is yours alone. It’s one of those times when you’d almost kill for love, knowing though that love is truly something to die for, that the opposite of the hollow sound of an empty heart is one that screams in the birth pains of conjoined souls. You can write for love, some address in the back of the Free Press, and if the TV spots are right you can call for it, some caricature at any rate, but you’re too old to be fooled, knowing even in this weary hour that love is a message received when unexpected.


50 Stars

At 2:00, I was driving home after she went outside
For a smoke break, but she didn’t come back,
My almost star.
Threw a few darts as if that might make a pro, just because
I saw her throwing one or two
She her friend was there for the first time and now I think
I should have commented more meaningfully on that.
But instead she left, after I thought I had started well,
Now this night has become something of a tragedy, but at least
I can keep drinking when I get home
At 2:00.

At 2:30, I was laying in bed trying to get some thoughts from my head
Except my mind was swimming and it was driving me insane
With any number of things stuck on the tip of my fingers
While the pen twitched in wastefulness.
Tomorrow would start bad too,
All this alcohol would surely ground me
Making me hate myself in the morning.
So giving up on it all, I crawl into my comfortable,
If lonely, bed, all the while thinking
Of my almost star
At 2:30.

I slept and then I woke up the morning after
Surprisingly fine and I thought what small blessings
Coming through to make me feel slightly better about being alone
My almost star
Probably with someone else while I have no one to wake up to
Oh well, woe is me
Today is a new day and tomorrow comes after that
And if need be there will be days beyond that
When something will finally go right
When life will begin.

So I took a shower
Checked my phone
Checked my email
Checked my Facebook
And learned.

At 2:00 A few hundred miles away
A nightmare began
Where fifty stars winked out of existence
Never to know this morning
The today that I put my hope in
Nor the tomorrow I look to
Nor any day that follows

How dare I pity myself!
So I spent a night alone, big deal
I am a man, but while I
Wallowed in my self-loathing
This country that gives me so many blessings,
Our fifty stars,
Came under attack
By the greatest extremes of hate.
How dare any of us pity ourselves!
How dare any of us hate each other!

This will sadly not be the last time.
This attack will happen again
In another place, another club
So remember, please remember
Whoever we are and whatever we believe,
Americans have died and more still will
So find something to take pride in
Man or woman, talent or passion
LGBTQ or animal rights, take pride and remember
That we are still one.
That the fifty stars who give us the right to that pride
Needs us now more than ever.

Erin Mathews


Maybe you were right
when you told me
that grief is as simple
as swallowing a stone
and waiting
for it to pass.