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clmathew 10h
Canoeing
written March 7th, 2021

I have spent the last few days
canoeing the Mackenzie River
making the journey in a book
with maps and words.

As I read it takes me back
to canoeing in my youth
the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness
along the northern border of Minnesota.

I can feel the paddle
pulling through the water
and hear the loons
crying at night.

The land around me
almost untouched since
Huron, Chippewa, Cree
Dakota and Ojibwa eyes
were the only ones
that had ever seen it.

Now I travel in thought and memory
the clear cold waters of the lakes
the portages through forested hills
taking me from one gem
of a lake and a memory
to the next.
Thank you to Mel and Jeff, my pastors in high school and college, who were brave enough to lead a youth who had hardly seen a river or lake on these canoe trips that I still remember today.
clmathew 21h
They want
written February 6th, 2021

They think they want
the body
the ***
the words

but it's not my words they want
the words in me
waiting to spill out

some listen for a while
but they know what they want
and it isn't
this body
this ***
these words
me.
~Midnight. Heaven is
bathing, the window open.
Just a kiss away.

—Jane Miller, "American Odalisque", The Gift of Tongues

He, the moon, and I
written March 2nd, 2021

My love and I
look up at our night skies
during this midnight time we share

our eyes looking at
the same stars
in our heavens so far apart

the moon baths us
in its gentle light
embracing both of us

I am envious of the moon
touching my love
when I can not

so I ask the moon
to kiss him for me
lovers are we
he, the moon, and I.
This poem is a combination of truth, fiction, and imagination. Written while thinking about a friend far away.
~In the song of the man in his room in his house in his head remembering
And then no more?

—Thomas McGrath, "Ordonnance", The Gift of Tongues

This poem has a soundtrack. 2 songs that play along with it are "The Knife Feels Like Justice" by Brian Setzer, and "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" by Meat Loaf.

Until there is no more
started January 31st, 2021

I remember the songs
crying from the radio
the words I couldn't say
giving expression to the searing pain
helping my soul fly away
until there was no more

I remember my room that was light pink
the color my fear still is today
the secrets in there breaking open
like the stains on the carpet
that everyone must have seen
the tears in your broken eyes
that could not be cried
until there was no more

I remember the house that room was in
a house that was no home
me a hermit crab without a shell
war without and war within
until there was no more

I remember what was in his head
the self-loathing, isolation
paranoia and bitterness
that were his gift to me
from father to beloved child
until there was no more

What remains
is the remembering
and the not remembering
reality shimmering
into and out of existence
until there is no more.
clmathew Feb 27
Precarious Balance (in 3 parts)
started December 3rd, 2020

(1)
My balance
has never been great
others walk paths
and look at the world around them

I
look at my feet
watching for things
that might trip me

(2)
I walk along a tightrope
strung a few inches over the earth
my balance precarious

not realizing
I could step off at any time
onto the stable earth.

(3)
Life is a precarious balancing
of the joy and the pain
singing-tears
holding onto each other
shatter-whole
the impossible duality
agony-bliss
found only in juxtaposition
love-destruction
we try to balance
not-enough-too-much
somewhere within
everything-nothing
It was about a year ago that I started writing again. That first fragment of an unformed poem, has taken on so many forms over the last year. Those opposites in the third part above. The resulting poem never seems quite right. So I put it aside and try again later. Skirting around what I know I want to say. Trying to make it seem pleasing and palatable, when it just isn't. That first poem will make it online eventually, but not today.
clmathew Feb 24
Writing poems
written February 17th, 2021

These poems
don't seem like much
as I sit at my desk
with the blinds open
writing on the green graph paper
I have always written
engineering homework
and poems on.

The exhaustion doesn't hit
until I post them online
moving the handwritten original
from unfinished to finished notebook.

finished (for now)
finished (but not quite right)
finished (but not good enough)
finished (but not worth speaking out loud)
finished (and to hell with it post it)

Something about that act
makes me want to
go back to bed
even though the sun
is bright in the window
sure that
I will never emerge
to write another word.

Thank goodness
that feeling isn't permanent
or this unfinished notebook
now filled with bits and fragments
words forgotten as soon as they were written,
would be filled with blank pages.

And the finished (but not quite right) notebook
getting heavier each day
with MY words
that have been released into the world,
would only have that one poem in it.
And with that, I'm going back to bed!
clmathew Feb 17
Solitude
written January 30th, 2021

The writing prompt says
to describe someone
you wish to tell something.

It sounds so easy
except I have cultivated distance
and silence
even within myself.

The conversations I have
are of trauma and pain
and the crying for comfort
which even
the conversations with myself
rarely provide.

I plant and tend
these silent days
and silent years
that make this
silent solitary life.

If silence were currency
I would be rich
beyond imagining.

Perhaps one day
something or someone
will grow in these
well tended
fallow fields.
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