Monday, September 18, 2017

Life In 28 Lines

My life's a map of places that can hide me
But none of them protect me like they should.
I talk to friends as if they're here beside me
But they can't say more than I think they would.

This loneliness is colder then December.
I just hear echoes every time I pray.
I cling to all the good times I remember,
Then wonder why the future slips away.

Each dawn arrives with something to upset me.
By sunset, it defeats me or I grow.
I think the universe is out to get me--
It really likes to tell me where to go.

And every time the moment's crystal clear,
Life is a voice that says "You can't stay here."

No matter where I move, it's a direction.
No matter where I wind up, it's a stand.
Even when I'm withdrawn, it's a connection.
Even when it's spontaneous, it's planned.

Each false step that I take is done to teach me
That I am my own life's most dearest foe.
Each true step sees a goal that wants to reach me--
And when it does, I'll be the last to know.

For knowledge is just ignorance times pride
And learning is a never-ending road.
And even if I travel with a guide,
He passes on a wisdom that's in code--

And every pitfall where I stumble proves
To be the right kind of all the wrong moves.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Broken Eggs

            for Coley Campany

A broken egg reflects upon its mother.
It can't just happen; it must have a cause--
Some flaw, some wrong in her, something or other
That desecrated one of Nature's laws.

A broken egg means heads must look away
And hearts grow cold that used to warm the best,
And those who failed must all, day after day,
Get schooled by those who never took the test.

A broken egg means someone must have dropped it--
Some loser who can't do the simplest jobs.
It didn't--couldn't--hatch, because she stopped it--
A useless piece of damaged goods who sobs.

So says the world, taking away your voice
By telling you that it’s unspeakable,
What happened—that it was somehow your choice,
And you should feel guilt by the bucketful.

A broken egg declares that you're no good
And never will be, because you are broken--
A guilty member of a sisterhood
Of shame, where all your grief must be unspoken.

So speak out. Tell the world how loss has driven
You to an understanding of Life's worth--
That new souls are a gift, and not a given
And all that gets delivered is a birth--

That yes, there's sisterhood, but never shame,
For what they really share is something deep:
Faith based on loss, acceptance without blame,
Compassion that could make an angel weep--

And love, whose strength is born for all to see
In mothers touched by Life's fragility.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Life's Like

Life's like a funeral--the ones you think
Will be there never show, and those who do
Are there because of an unspoken link
Between you--bottomless, unswerving, true.

Life's like your wedding--years from now you'll say
"What happened to my crew? We were a nation!"
And look at all the friends you have today
And know they'd never get an invitation.

Life is like moving--the last place you lived
Is what says home to you. Life is like baking--
You put up with the lumps, until they're sieved
Into whatever crazy cake you're making.

Life is like poetry, for there are times
We all feel like we're words without true rhymes.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Friday, September 1, 2017


I've always chased the story--chased the girl--
The tale that makes my life a book worth reading.
I put words into my heart's mouth, then hurl
Myself after whatever is misleading.
When I hear music, I reach for a dancer
Because I want her to sit on my lap.
I lose my doubts in someone else's answer.
I find myself on someone else's map.

I translate life into my dictionary
And look for meanings that tell me I'm safe.
I only scratch the itch that's momentary.
I cling to pleasures that will make me chafe.
I doubt the instincts I should always trust
And trust what tells me "You don't need to grow."
When someone asks a favor, I hear "must."
When love says "Yes," the fool in me says "No."

My principles give up without a fight
When pleasing someone else makes me feel smart.
I look for wrongs that nothing can make right
And colanders in which to pour my heart.
I suck up to the cool kids so they'll say
"You're one of us!" But every one of them
Treats friendship like a mirror, and will play
"You're So Lame" to whoever they condemn.

The drink I drink is tasteless, till I cut
My tongue out and let it tell me its flavor.
The things I feel are all echoes of what
I don't feel anymore, and so I savor
Each one--not for its body; for its ghost--
And judge a joy by how long it will last
And entertain success so I can boast,
And live not for the future, but the past.

Between them both,  the present whizzes by.
It slips through my life's fingers when I grab it.
It's here and then it's gone, unlike a lie.
It's dead already by the time I stab it.
How strange that what can frustrate, and fulfill,
And stir me up, is what I cannot touch--
Moving through me when I am standing still;
Sharing my life, but never going dutch.

Weighed down by all the stuff I hate to carry
And am afraid to drop--because I don't
Know who I am unless my burdens marry
My onerous desires--I say I won't
Let this moment pass by. But all that weight--
The past; my fears; the weariness I bring
To what should be exciting--tells me straight:
I must give up the stuff to find the thing.

All it takes, when the world is dull, and full
Of books that I don't want to feel like reading
Or things that I don't care for, is to pull
My self out of myself, and then start feeding
The hunger in me, not the appetite.
And when I do, the right meal will be there.
It won't be on the menu, but each bite
Will be the answer to a tongueless prayer.

All it takes to move forward is a shift
From what I see to what is really there:
The possibility that is a gift;
The quickstep I can dance without a care.
It's all call and response, if I just keep
Myself tuned to the song my life is playing.
It's all a moment's move, and it will sweep
Me up with it,  like faith does after praying--

For getting what I want is guaranteed
If I let go of what I do not need.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells