Monday, July 31, 2017


Farewell, Athena, for I must set sail
  Beyond the world of gods and goddesses
With no blind bard to help me tell my tale
  And no fond owl to show me where home is.
I am alone all home that I will need:
  My son is grown, my wife is long since dead,
And I’ve gone gray; but in me lies a seed
  From which will spring, like you did from God’s head,
Some new adventure or a final love
  Before my battered body gives the ghost.
Smile as you watch my last days from above.
  Know that I’ll live them to the uttermost.
     Look for the setting sun and there I’ll be, 
     Fading in waves across the wine-dark sea.

Copyright 1975, 2017 by Matthew J Wells

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The View Beyond the Cliff

The view beyond the cliff is deep and high.
I stretch my wings and take a long slow breath.
Will they succeed and lift me to the sky
Or fail, and send me falling to my death?

"God--so DRAMATIC!" says a pal beside me.
I laugh. He's right. It isn't do or die.
It's do and live, and find new stars to guide me
Where falling's just a tougher way to fly.

My friends all say "Goodbye!" "Good luck!" "We'll miss you!"
They leave. One stays. It's just who I expect.
She says "Get over here so I can kiss you."
We hug. I can't let go of her. I'm wrecked.

She says "Keep it together" and alone
I step off into the wild blue unknown.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Saturday, July 29, 2017

I Didn't Know It Would Be You

                           for Jessica DiGiovanni
                             and Hilary Bettis

I didn’t know it would be you who made
   Me start crying. But when I felt the tears,
I thought: “Of course.” Look at the parts you’ve played
   In everything I’ve done over the years.
I’ve seen you grow and watched you find your way
   When I lost mine; you’ve been a guiding star
Whose brightness glimmered inside every play
   I saw you do. And though I will be far
Away—far far too soon—I will be there
   Beside you—just like you will be with me—
In all you do, no matter when or where,
   Because you’re in my heart eternally.
      Whether your road meets valley, pit, or boulder,
      I’ll be there with you, just beyond your shoulder.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Friday, July 28, 2017


           for Florencia Lozano

I take the time each day to plant a seed,
   And even then, that doesn’t mean it grows.
Burned by the sun or stifled by a weed,
   Drowned by a thunderstorm, devoured by crows—
It may not ever live to bud and flower
   No matter how I tend it, or I pray.
Over its future life, I have no power.
   Which is why I keep planting, day by day.
I will not live to see this garden grow
   And make seeds of its own from what I plant.
Time is the reaper; I am here to sow
   And say “Watch me!” when the world says “You can’t.”
      And do what I do out of love and need
      And make the time each day to plant a seed.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Drunkard's Prayer

Bless me, Father, for I am full of booze.
I know--it’s not exactly breaking news
To see me weaving like a wind-blown kite
And slurring all my words--it’s just tonight.
Forgive me when I’m high on Cabernet
And drop more F-bombs than a Mamet play.
Please let me keep my big stupid mouth shut.
After three pints, I talk out of my butt,
Lecturing everyone like they’re a dope
And I’m one half professor, one half Pope.
Forgive me for that silly incident
That turned into a drunken argument
Where all I did was pound the bar and shout.
I can’t remember what it was about.
I do recall, at some point, someone threw
A pint of Guinness and a punch or two
When I called him a product of inbreeding.
(I guess that’s why my forehead is still bleeding.)
Bless me, Father, for I got truly faced
Not letting shots of whiskey go to waste.
The ones I drank tonight could fill two steins
(That’s why my head is full of cactus spines.)
Don’t let Jack Daniels make me pick a fight
Just because I had ten of him tonight,
But let him make me sappy and forgiving.
And when it comes to how long I’ll be living,
Please let me be a turtle, not a comet.
And please don’t let me wake up in my vomit.
But if I have to throw up, let it be
Where everybody does it—on the G.

Forgive me for the drunken pass I made
At whatsername, hoping that I’d get laid--
Like that could ever happen. Sex is iffy
When you’re too smashed to get a decent stiffy.
Liquored up? I’m a failure at coition:
The best that I can do in my condition
Is hug and kiss and (when I stick my ass out)
Try not to do a face plant when I pass out.
And please don’t let me break my fucking nose—
Just let me wake up to a trail of clothes
That leads from my front door right to my bed,
Where dwarves swing pick-axes inside my head
And I can hear air molecules colliding
And feel my body’s every cell dividing
While Nausea just wants to play Red Rover.
Calling out “Hey—send Matthew’s lunch right over!”

Oh Lord, save me from shakes and hypertension
And those who think I need an intervention.
Save me from blondes, both real and from the bottle.
Save me from brunettes that I want to throttle.
Save me from redheads with their scarlet bangs--
The only sane ones are orangutangs.
Save me from hitting on Jane, Jill or Jenny
Whenever I’ve had ten or twelve too many,
And let me not remember what I said
To try to get their asses into bed
Or all the needy depths I did descend to--
And if I can’t forget, let me pretend to.

Oh Lord, let me get buybacks everywhere,
And let me make a style out of despair.
Let my salvation never quite find me
And desiccation be my destiny.
Let me be laughed with when I’m not laughed at
And never wear a lampshade for a hat.
I don’t care if the world thinks I’m a joke--
Just let my liver work until I croak.

And when I die and finally meet my fate,
And stand there, swaying, at St Peter’s Gate,
And God frowns down on me, as if to say:
“Look at you, man—you drank your life away!”—
I don’t care if I’m bum-rushed down to hell
Or hear the happy sound of Heaven’s bell—
I don’t care if there’s punishment and suffering
And pain worse than my wifi always buffering,
Or if I join heaven’s angelic vocal—
Just send me to the place that has a local.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Marcello on the Beach

                   Marcello on the Beach

A monster has just washed up on the sand—
   A manta with its black eyes wide and dead.
The young and beautiful act like it’s grand.
   The older man just looks and tilts his head.
They’re making such a big deal out of it,
   It makes him wish he planned it in advance.
No matter; they’ll get blasé in a bit,
   No matter what the tune, it’s the same dance.
He’s wearing white—he always does these days—
   Because, no matter what you do, it will
Get dirty in a hundred different ways,
   Then cleaned. For suits are much more versatile
      Than souls. His own likes to wear dark sunglasses,
      So it can close its eyes to all that passes.

He drifts away, like thoughts in Sunday School.
   He needs a shave and sleep. Such sad dark eyes.
He hears his name across the tidal pool.
   It’s someone that he cannot recognize.
But we know her. She’s the young girl he met
   When he went off to finally write the book
He knew was in him. So did she; and let
   Him see that knowledge in her every look.
And now he stares at her and all he sees
   Is someone he can’t even visualize
Whose hands make typing moves—whose eyes don’t tease,
   But promise something pure, tender and wise.
      It makes him wish he could always be near her.
      But she's so far away, and he can't hear her.

What is there he can do, but give a shrug
   That says “I can’t” as loudly as “I wish”
At what’s long past that he once longed to hug—
   At what’s as dead now as that monster fish.
What is there left to do, but shrug, as if
   To say “There’s nothing left in me to give,”
And offer up a smile with just a whiff
   Of sadness in it? For that’s how we live—
Mixed up like cocktails; chasing after tastes
   Our tongues have outgrown; looking back and seeing
Not what Time offers us, but what it wastes,
   Till Life is not the finding but the fleeing.
      And so we shrug, over the lost and broken,
      As if to say all that cannot be spoken.

That’s where we all get washed up, on that shore
   Where youth cavorts with age—where there’s a tide
That sends up monsters from the ocean’s floor
   And driftwood loves that Time has beautified—
A beach where might-have-beens call out our name
   And make us choose to hear them, or forget
That what they saw is not what we became—
   That our farewell dishonored how we met.
And when our current life calls out to us,
   We take its hand as it leads us away
To what’s consoling and innocuous,
   Where regrets are stubbed out in Time’s ashtray—
      And all the angels who saved us from hell
      Smile sadly, knowingly, and wave farewell.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 27

My ignorance about the world is vast.
My ignorance about myself is vaster.
I stretch my gifts, and still wind up typecast.
I hold myself back, and it’s a disaster.

The way I think about my life is not
The way I feel about it. What I do
Is based on instinct and caprice, not thought;
And who I am’s not deed, but follow-through.

I worry more about what may or might
Than I prepare for all that will and must.
My faith is ignorance with piercing sight;
My ignorance a crafty form of trust.

My knowledge? One unalterable text:
Life has no afterwards—just now, and next.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Love's Inner Enemies

The moment that I put my faith in you
Is when my wounded heart begins to doubt you.
The moment I know what I feel is true,
My vanity starts telling lies about you.

I don’t leave well enough alone in love.
I probe it like a wound to find the bullet.
I question what I should be trusting of.
Whatever’s labeled DO NOT TOUCH, I pull it.

There is a terrorist in me who lives
To blow up innocence, crown Fear as king,
And make my heart pull back before it gives
Till it expects and causes suffering.

He wins, unless I’m brave enough to bleed,
Not for what fails me, but makes me succeed.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Last Night I Dreamed I Was an EMT

Last night I dreamed I was an EMT.
I took your call—you said our love was dead.
It hurt to see its corpse in front of me.
“Please bring it back to life right now!” you said.

So I start up my heart up and feel it beat
And feed it to our love to live upon.
I say: “Quick—quick—give me your heart, my sweet.”
You say: “I can’t right now.” And then you’re gone.

You cry: “I’ll find the time! Just not today!
I swear that when I’m free, I’ll make a date!”
And like an idiot, I say: “Okay!
I’ll be here!” And I wait. And wait. And wait.

While my heart loses blood, minute by minute;
And our love dies, because your heart’s not in it.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Friendship and Love

Love is electric; friendship is a breeze.
   Love is exclusive; friendship is inviting.
Love lives for pleasure; friendship lives to please.
   Friendship is peace; love is a torment biting.
Love is the rapids, weak rafts overturning;
   Friendship, a still pool with no shallow end.
Love is a rose with every petal burning;
   Friendship, a garden full of herbs that mend.
Friendship may lead to love, but can be lost
   When it’s not shared, and die in hurt and doubt.
And lovers can be friends, but at the cost
   Of passion, like a flame that fizzles out.
      Ah, but when burning love and cool affection
      Can marry happily, life is perfection.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Month of Couplets - June 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


She gave her love, then came the double-cross.
He walked away, thinking: blind fool—your loss.


To be the person I was meant to be
Means learning not to take things personally.


                 Two Ideas Of Love

He’s worthless, but she loves him for the way
He makes her think he’ll be a prize someday.


                       Two Ideas Of Love

He likes to say “My flaws are what create me.”
She likes to screw up, then say “Please don’t hate me.”


The right wing loves successful terrorists—
Laws against them can shut down activists.


The First Amendment isn’t worth a dime
When laws are passed that make protests a crime.


Life is a stage, so make the part you play
Impeccable in all you do and say.


               The Art of The Trump

He hollers “LIAR!” when his foes are critical.
His base cries: “Honest! Blunt! And unpolitical.”


Any deep feeling can, in its own fashion,
Become a great mistake—except compassion.


                       Two Ideas Of Love

What helps: when he's not there, he never haunts her.
What hurts: she's all he hates, but he still wants her.


People who treat you colder than December
Are clubs that don't deserve you as a member.


Two Nevers haunt all that Life has in store
For us: Never again. Never before.


The facts are never trusted by the pious
Because they always have a left-wing bias.


             The Senate’s 
          Kamala Harris Rule

You must treat liars deferentially
Whenever they reply evasively.


The fool will always blame the quills—and whine—
After he tries to hug the porcupine.


Desire: “I’ll win your love because I choose you!”
Love: “I can’t let you go, or else I’ll lose you!”


Friendship sees all and chooses to be kind.
Love only lasts when it’s a little blind.


Love writes a poem filled with perfect rhymes.
Marriage sees all the typos as high crimes.


      The 10 Commandments
    Of the Republican Right - 1

We must be treated deferentially,
Not asked hard questions about policy.


      The 10 Commandments
    Of the Republican Right – 2

It’s honesty when you applaud our tracts
And propaganda when you check our facts.


          The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right – 3

The toughest question that we want to hear
Is whether you believe that we’re sincere.


          The 10 Commandments
        of the Republican Right – 4

We’re weary of your smirking cynicism.
Echo our press release—that’s journalism.


          The 10 Commandments
        of the Republican Right – 5

We’ll treat the symptoms as if they’re the cause
And end big government with tons of laws.


         The 10 Commandments
        of the Republican Right – 6

We all agree that it makes little sense
To subject our beliefs to evidence.


         The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right – 7

We cannot lead this great democracy
Unless you say “Of course, Your Majesty!”


            The 10 Commandments
          of the Republican Right – 8

Like all whose hearts are mean, and mien is royal,
We’ll suffer traitors, but not the disloyal.


          The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right – 9

You cry: “If you have principles, then say them!”
But since we lack them, how can we betray them?


          The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right - 10

We’ll suck up to whoever is in power
Even if whores gave him a golden shower.


          The 10 Commandments
      of the Republican Right - 11

You can be sure that you will face our wrath
When you subject our fiscal lies to math.


You can rely on one thing from the Right:
The whine they serve is always cold and white.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells