Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Month of Couplets - August 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


Change is the destiny that can’t escape me.
Growth is my future self trying to shape me.


Through where will happiness come when I’m mopin’?
A door I didn’t know that I left open.


The greatest let-down is the consummation—
The journey is the only destination.


Remember: when you love and live the chase
And it goes nowhere—that, too, is a place.


Each time we meet’s a play in which I’m smitten—
And you refuse to act the part I’ve written.


Losing and loving, killing and creating—
All that we do has its own deathbed waiting.


I like to think my might-have-beens betrayed me,
But all the roads I passed up are what made me.


Ask “Are you happy?” I’ll say “Hold that thought.”
But I know all the ways my friends are not.


We’re costumes on a skeleton of hope,
Dreaming of clothes with which we can elope.


The thing by which I thought I would be killed
Is all part of the wreckage I’ll rebuild.


Praise and salt water are the same way cursed:
The more you drink of them, the more you thirst.


“Find your own voice!” those writing teachers say.
Meaning: “”Choose a dictator to obey.”


Words are the wardrobe that I keep creating;
Photos, the self that I’m impersonating.


Live long enough, and you will cry, forlorn:
“No one's left who’s known me since I was born!”


A moment’s pleasure zips by fleetingly;
A moment’s shame lives on eternally.


Each memory I have is firmly set
Beside what I have chosen to forget.


The house of happiness is full of gloom—
Its whole first floor is one big waiting room.


My hopes are sleight when I give them the gate;
My fears a strain because I give them weight.


The joy’s not in what I know how to do
But learning what I didn’t know was true.


The story’s in the razor, not the edge—
Not jumpers, but what led them to the ledge.


It always starts with darkness to move through,
And always ends with light shining from you.


Hatred’s a gun that decimates the earth;
Love is the only weapon that gives birth.


Those who make promises and then forget them
Will only make you bitter if you let them.


If you want to excel in what you do,
Cling to those who bring out the best in you.


Lust is a blaze that scorches when it craves.
Love is a heat that nourishes and saves.


The new must undermine the old to thrive,
But old turns vicious when it can’t survive.


My past's a meal that I am daily fed
And memories the meat between Time's bread.


Love without wild abandon is a sin
But deadly poison without discipline.


The one great secret behind all great art:
You have to probe the wound to reach the heart.


We all share this same secret, hid from viewing:
No one—none of us—know what we are doing.


Leaving allows your life to change directions;
Goodbyes all say hello to new connections.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Like a Bright Exhalation in the Evening

                   for Claudia Chopek

There is an end to everything we do,
Which means that how we leave is who we are.
We can resent it, or complain and stew,
Or go out blazing, like a shooting star— 

Or play the close so well that blind men see
It’s not about attainment, but the growing,
And that success is more than victory
Or bows that the violist gets for bowing.

And when the time comes for the final note
To sound, let it be like an opening—
Not sad or grieving, but their antidote.
Let music in us find new ways to sing

And stretch the wings we’ve earned until they fly
And, like a comet, scrape stars from the sky.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Friday, August 25, 2017

Dear Ignorance

You sell me lies you know I want to hear.
You make me buy what I'm unworthy of.
There's nothing in your eyes but uptight fear.
There's nothing in your heart but deep self-love.

You keep a string of dopes who idolize you.
They swear you're honest, fair, and captivating.
Your lovers: mirrors that must glamorize you.
Your friends: the lovelorn you're still titillating.

You told me how to feel and what to do.
I called you on your shit; you cut me dead,
And now you're cold 'cuz I'm not hot for you.
And though you hate me when I use my head,

Life's not what I believe--it's what I learn.
Yours was a bridge that my soul had to burn.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, August 21, 2017

Card Reading in Union Square 8/13/17

“Keep your eyes on the big idea,” said
U, the reader in Union Square, her eyes
Seeing a future in which I’d be fed
What my soul hungers for. “You’re not unwise,”
She said. “But now it’s time for you to be 
The right kind of stupid.” God knows I've been
The wrong kind lately, so it’s time to see
If mindless  faith can be my mortal sin.

U said: “Put your faith in the process, and
Connections will appear.” And I thought of
All the ones that I've severed—planned, unplanned;
From public cut-her-dead to private shove.
They all make me look like a shameless cur,
But I took pride in being so ice cold
That they would see how catty my fake purr
Of friendship was, that once they thought was gold

But turned out to be badly-painted lead.

And as I thought of how all hearts deceive,
“When it comes to your emotions,” U said,
Reading my mind, “don’t weigh them on your sleeve.”
Guilty as charged. And “weigh,” not “wear,” is right.
My feels are heavier than white dwarf stars.
Their gravity weighs down all of my light
So when I give my heart, you see its scars. 

“Create yourself,” U said, “and come to life.”

The artist in me grinned. Identity
Is paint applied with a slim palette knife.
New coats make a new personality.
“What can you do to make yourself the one
Who will go out and change the world?” U asked.
I sighed and thought: yes, but what can be done
When those of us with gifts are always tasked 

By what takes them away, or makes us lose

The urge to use them? What can one soul do
When all feels soulless? Except, maybe, choose
To be a living vessel for the true—
To love the dispossessed and the despised—
To shift a condescending paradigm
That uses data like it’s weaponized
And change the pic one pixel at a time? 

“You will,” U said, “find unconditional

Love—it may be romantic, or just friends.”
And knowing me, I thought, it won’t be dull.
I just hope that it breaks less than it mends.
U said: “You’re moving in the Vortex now
Where the Source lives.” And me, I’m such a geek—
I saw Jack Kirby’s New Gods, and the Tao
Of Physics illustrating what I seek.

“Keep your eyes on your vision,” U declared,

“And you will see abundance fall on you.
It is your time to make what will be shared.
It is your time, not to sit back, but do.
“It’s all about,” she said, “your life’s perfection,”
And I heard: “Make your goal to do the work;
Let more than thoughts come out of introspection;
And when events and people peeve and irk,

Don’t take it personally, but forgive—

And make your heart a home where love can live.”

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Weight Behind

I look ahead and it’s all haze and fog.
I look behind and it feels safe and true
Each step ahead feels like I’m in a bog.
Each step behind as snug as an old shoe.

I dream of all the mountains I can climb.
I wake up with a rock inside my gut.
No matter what I do, it’s the wrong time.
Yesterday tugs my leash like I’m its mutt.

But it’s my forward motion that is yanking
The rope around my neck that’s choking me.
So I can stand here, stationary--banking
On Time to cut the cord eventually--

Or reach out for tomorrow’s golden knife
And cut myself free from my former life.

Copyrght 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Amor Fati

             for Coley Campany

Losing is failure—that’s the old equation.
Not winning points to some deficiency.
But underneath the death of deprivation,
Life blows a kiss of opportunity:

The privilege of facing down an end
And forging a beginning out of it—
Which makes disaster or a loss transcend
Failure, till it becomes the opposite.

The soul attracts the reckoning it needs.
With all it faces, nothing’s a mistake.
And if you see no avenue that leads
Beyond calamity, it’s yours to make—

For that by which we thought we would be killed
Is all part of the wreckage we’ll rebuild.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 30

I look back at the places where I’ve been
And only see the ones I never went to.
I’m told how much I’m blessed, but hear the sin
Of failing to accomplish what I meant to.

I feel regret for missteps, like each towed
Me down a path that led to imperfection.
But one step won’t put me on the wrong road
Unless I choose to walk in that direction.

And what else can I do when I look back
Except perceive the single path I carved
Through possibilities, and feel the lack
Of all that could have fed me when I starved?

But they're yesterday's hungers: met, or dead.
Look forward. Feed the ones that lie ahead.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Emotional Second Amendment

Each sunrise hands my heart a loaded gun.
   Each sunset counts the bullets that are left.
I lose the day if I shoot even one.
   I have to hold my fire, or I’m effed.
But that hot trigger strokes each angry kink
   In my self-centered soul. It calls me “Stud!”
It tells me I should rage instead of think
   And meet imaginary slights with blood.
Lashing out is so easy, isn’t it?
   Biting like dogs; clawing like feral cats.
But if I would be human, I must pit
   Restraint against revenge, lay down my gats,
      And heal the hurt my hatred is born of,
      And take a bullet in the name of love.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Month of Couplets - July 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


                   Two Ideas of Love

She says “I love you!” and he feels majestic.
He says “I love you!” and she gets domestic.


False friendship is an empty shopping cart.
True friendship is what blood is to the heart.


Today’s two things—the youngest you will be,
And the oldest moment in your history.


To those who make Democracy a hell:
Freedom is not something you buy or sell.


                 The Rouge Gallery 0112

You’re someone I can share fears, shop-talk, doubt,
And joy with—till my vocal cords give out.



Something will always fill an empty cup.
Each time you start the car, the road shows up.


             The Rouge Gallery 0411

I laugh when you say you despise flirtation—
You say “I love you!” like it’s punctuation.


I use my love as a defensive measure
To wound myself before I can feel pleasure.


Opposites will attract, like soft to raw.
But similars all marry flaw to flaw.


                  The Rouge Gallery 0612

Your eyes are like two straws into your soul;
Let my eyes be the lips that drink you whole.


Planted and plucked up, with no hope of pardon:
Every life is a flower in death’s garden.


              The Rouge Gallery 1211

Our souls were once so perfectly attuned.
Now we can’t feel a thing that doesn’t wound.


Blame is a lynch mob looking for a tree;
Forgiveness cuts it down and sets you free.


          The Rouge Gallery 1102

If we were still in touch, I’d tell you this:
Each time you spoke my name, it was a kiss.


Anger dive bombs the guiltless in a flash;
Forgiveness parachutes you from the crash.


My heart knows when love looms ahead, the way
A blind man smells the night replace the day.


“I’m jumping ship!” I cry, and down I drop—
And then get pissed off when the boat won’t stop.


Friends are like bank accounts—never invest
In those who fail to show you interest.


When am I most myself, if not when I
Create something that—unlike me—won’t die?


               The Rouge Gallery 0607

You can’t be why I stay, though we both yearn;
But you might be the reason I return.


God’s silence is a book that I will read
And translate with the alphabet of need.


Once Truth was honest and went undefeated;
Now it’s a lie that’s constantly repeated.


                  The Rouge Gallery 1104

You love to count the hearts that felt love for you.
What really counts: how many still adore you.


God watches us love, suffer, and forgive
Like we’re all starring on One Life To Live.


If I had known I’d live to be this old,
My younger self would have been way more bold.


I feel God’s absence stretch in all directions
Like an unholy map of missed connections.


A good life has no greater dividends
Than the appreciation of great friends.


Let all my future travels be a toast
To all the kindred souls I’ll miss the most.


Our past is not just dead, it’s changed position—
And, like us, altered beyond recognition.


Two demons battle in me while I live:
The urge to curse; the challenge to forgive.


What molting is to birds from pole to pole,
Adversity is to the human soul.


The heart will feel a wound, much deeper than the flesh’ll—
The goodbye hurts because the hello was so special.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells