Matthew D. Rowe

Poems and Other Coincidences

Category: Poetry

Stampedes, and the Envelopes by Which You Arrived

I saw the bottom of the ocean

in your eyes,

it was cold, dark,

and crawling with fish

shaped like envelopes,

filled with deep secrets

tucked into their folds

like two-dollar pony bets.


Envelopes dying to escape,

swimming, swimming

in perfect right triangles,

trying to reach the surface

for a breath of air,

earnestly awaiting a hero,

a treasure hunter,

a single, solitary

envelope knife,

to bleed them into papercut freedom,

give them polygonal wings,

to fly out of the depths of your eyes.


And their secrets would become

useless, free,

historical things,

in the glossaries of homeroom textbooks.



then you would see

that true joy is not bred

in definition,

it cannot be kept like a caged animal.


But that it is born out of impulse,

in once in a lifetime constellations,

projected by a clear, moonlit sky

at midnight,

with wild horses stampeding

all around you.


IV Things to Consider While Walking Along a Tightrope

I.     No matter how high up you are,

if you think about looking down,

you will most likely look down,

and be very, very afraid.


II.   When you look down it’s going to seem

a lot farther down than it actually is,

and you’ll probably start thinking

sad, uncontrollable thoughts

about your grandmother being dead, people die,

all the empty church pews in other countries,

all the mice trapped in those church basements.


III.  If you think too hard about

all those things in life,

you’ll forget about being high up

on a tightrope,

you’ll stop walking all together,

you’ll be overwhelmed with all the things

you cannot control in life .


IV.  Once you’ve stopped walking

along the tightrope, because of sadness,

you’ll realize you only made it halfway,

get discouraged, want to sit down,

but you can’t sit down on a tightrope,

and when you realize this,

all of the sadness you felt before

will no longer exist.


You’ll just be standing alone

on a tightrope,

feeling like a church pew,

or a mouse,


and trapped.

Anywhere, but Not Inside Me

Sure you can,

sure as black and white

are opposites,

and every opinion

is still worth giving,

taken bitterly,

with a grain of sarcasm.


Sure you can,

build generations

of dynasties


but not inside me.


You can wage holy wars,

over bananas, avocados,

the potential existence

of flying saucers,

FDA conspiracies,

or visions of omnipotent

leathery hands

in the clouds.


You can do it anywhere,

with words,




or good ol’ fashioned

book thumping,

in any tone of voice,


but not inside me.


Transplant skyscrapers and smog

into the rainforests

of Brazil,

run lead pipes across the Pacific,

bet on the horses,

experiment with half-made lives,

deny individual choice,

shoot poison into your veins,

make a pill for that,

for all I care.


Do any of this,

any time you please,


but not inside me.

Under the Fleeing Sun

Under the fleeing sun,

we run,

we run.


Our legs move us

through unanswerable



past unrequited



and into a boxed realm

of miraculous



When we arrive

we realize,


that where we want to be

is always on the run,


under the fleeing sun.

Realist Type, or How We Might be Drunk on Several Bottles of Poems

Reason is truth,

sip of wine.


Truth is manipulative,

chug from bottle.


Truth is sincere,

finish glass.


Truth does not exist,

only compassion.


Break empty bottle on table.


Compassion is merely warmth,

open another bottle.


Warm is body and soul

from this bottle and poems.


Pour another glass.


Body from bottle,

soul from poems.


Savor taste.


Bottle makes body,

poems is soul.


Stare blankly at ceiling.


Bottle takes over soul,

leaves mind to wander.


Wandering mind encounters mysterious bottle,

consumes uplifting substance,

meets soul,

enters bottle,

becomes poem.


Poem becomes soul,

interpreted by body,

controlled by mind.


Enjoyed by some.


Mind loses control,

convinces body to let go soul.


Poem disintegrates,

only to eventually become soul,


mind full of bottle thoughts again.


Mind lost in a bottle of poems,

influenced by the power of soul.


Think about pouring another glass.


Soul breaks free poems entrapped in bottle,

mind finds winding road out.


Poems of ages ensue.

Xerox My Heart in a Pile of Copies of Copies in a Coffin

I Xerox-copied my heart

for you.


It’s not the phony Hallmark



But my real, bloody,

beating, pumping,


lung-loving heart.


I put it in a warm

splintered coffin,

with the rest of

your hearts,

and mailed it to you.


Be careful

when you open it,

when you pull the nails out,

some of them are

actually poisonous scorpions.


When you get through

the dead histories

and poison

and hearts

in the coffin,

to my

Xerox-copied heart,

hang it on your fridge

with all the other

Xerox copies,

and copies

of copies



of my heart.


They are all you will ever get.


And you can keep the coffin

and splinters,

for your collection,

I wont ever need them.

Drugstore Calligraphy

Want to be with people

occupying busy corridors, summits, bungalows,

gateways to intellectual thought processes.

Creativity spawning out of the angst perpetuated by others.

Vicarious spiritual impalement.

Cannot live with it, cannot live without it,

and can stand that even less.


Want to be in dark, reclusive place,

in unobtrusive state.

Mind cannot make connections like it’s used to.

Thoughts present,

obstructed by violent, piercing, reciprocal

aching of tooth.


Results of undertaking rebellious lifestyle,

I’ll do it only because you told me not to.

Chew tobacco eat candy bars psychedelic fungus drink beer,

don’t brush teeth—no time in busy schedule given me.

Given by caste system, Neo-aristocratic,


baby-boomers think they know best most effective way to live.


Deep hole dug now, only way down,

need bigger shovel.

Dig out the roots of this tooth while you’re down there.


You did this to me.

No time to work 9-5 for oral insurance,

too busy gutlessly going through motions of academia.


all the while walking in order with other

ants, slaves, blood flowing cold machines.


Compiling Bullshit,

More Shit,

Piled High & Deep.

While the roots of what make us advanced beings

deteriorate, crumble, rot, decompose

inside mouth & outside of control.

Evolve opposable thumbs to apply pressure,

suppress wincing of big picture.


Sir, you want me to not talk?

Is that why you make false, unanswered promises

to my mouth?

The only tool I have,

take it away, silence me?


Make me need insurance plan,

buy into corporate, crony, consumerist agenda?

me pay insurance company,

me pay hospital bill,

me pay doctor’s wages.

Doctor paid off by pharmaceutical company,

pharmaceutical company buy out doctors, lawyers, lobbyists.


Pharmaceutical company cronies get big bonuses,

fancy, lavish parties,

homosexual orgies,

prostitutes profit,

congressmen profit under silk, velvet, superficial sheets,


On surface

right-wing, ultra-conservative, Yes Prop 8

free trade best trade

money monsters,

fear employers.


And here I am,

twenty thou. deep into fed’s wallet,



stressed out,

intellectually unsatisfied,


and kept from everything I love.


Let me be.

But stop leaving me alone, Sir.

Stop making promises to millionaires/billionaires,

so that I can make honest living.

Leave my pockets alone,

I don’t need holes in them,

my teeth are holes enough.


Do not tax my personal time,

don’t tax my health,

my lack thereof.

Don’t make me buy into your scheme, it’s dirty.

I know it’s dirty under necktie & and never-present 5 o’clock shadows.


I know you aren’t real,

stop haunting my sleep.

Please, do not tax that too.

I’ll pull this fucking tooth right out.


Is that what you want?

Little silence, little puppet?

Then let the throbbing pain,

foul taste,

profuse breath,

migraine distraught pounding,

inability to focus,

ex-patriotism slavery persist.


I will not think for you.

Love in the Form of Falling Banners


I was reading a poem.


Something about love

in the form of falling banners.


I bit the left

inside corner of my lip.


An arsenal of blood

filled my anxious mouth.


Doubt littered my

analytical heart.


I thought of you,

and how comfortably naked

we can be together.


Clothingless in conversation,

void of communicable filters.

Curiously roaming worlds

of non-material speech & intuition.


The blood & pain & falling


made me glad

to love you.

Hummingbirds Paint My Vision


paint my vision.


Flutter your ephemeral


like sweet memories

into my ears.


Tweet ‘round my mind

passionate dialogues

on thoughts deviant


the dangers

of polarity.


Pluck my eyelids

full of

uncanny dreams


lustrous fictions.


Peck my thoughts,

draw my guilt-stained



suck my second-guessing




pluck my eyes,

peck my thoughts,

paint my vision.


Smother your infinite


into me.

Transcribing a State of Reflection

I’m tired of being vulnerable,

Too soft to be vulnerable.

I’m tired of not being gullible,

Too logical to be gullible.


I’m tired of being alone,

Doing the dishes dance

With one bowl,

One plate,

A fork, spoon, chopsticks,

Colander on occasion,

Sometimes a boiling pot.

I can cook Wilfred Owen’s unwilling armies

Mashed potatoes,

Chicken stir-fry,

Grits in wok if you want,

Battle food!


But I don’t,

Because it’s only me.

I have two bowls, four plates,

Countless cutlery, sharp bread knives,

Tupperware enough to build an igloo that’ll outlast mankind.

These legs could dance all night long

With soap, sponge, and soggy noodles.

Salsa, tango, slow romantic step,

1, 2, 3, turn

5, 6, 7, squeeze, excrete,

Drain sink.


I’m tired,

Of climbing ladder no follower,

Empty, cold and stale sheets,

Pillowcases smelling of rank, greasy face,

Flaky scalp,

One all too familiar.


I’m tired,

Of waking up hugging self,

Holding phallus erect & dry.

Cradling Leaves and Cosmopolitan Greetings like infants.

Ought to dance with them in sink.

Put it next to bread knife,

Make for good company,

A dance or two at least.


I’m tired,

Of the strangers occupying the corners,

Spies, narcs, cowards.

Trained not to spill,

I’ll show you,

I’ll squash you!

Then I get to sympathize, at least.

And at least I have another mess to clean,

A different dance.


Spies, narcs, cowards,

Keep being so.

I need you to keep me sane.

You’re the ones I count on,

To make messes of the corners,

The deep, dark places no man dares explore.


You teach me new things.

You keep me tired.

You keep me vulnerable.

It doesn’t translate,

But you do your best.

I tell myself you won’t come back.

Convinced I am,

I hate you for it.


But then,

Then you culprit-spy-narcissist-coward-patron,

You come back.



Just as patient.

You keep me on my toes,

And my napkin surplus plentiful.

In the corners & underneaths you occupy,

I love you there.


But when you peek those weary heads about,

Spy while I’m dancing,

Feeding tired ink-blot remnants of the brave,

Conspiring against the impenetrable past

I feel you.

I get nervous, I don’t like you staring,

Mind your own business,

Watch the news or something,

Gang of Six jargon-spittle-back-and-forth,

Babykillers glorified, let off hook, reality show to come,

Check your stocks,

I’m dancing!


And I have to kill you there.

I kill you to be in charge.

I kill you,

Because I’m tired of being vulnerable,

Too soft to be vulnerable.

Because I’m not gullible,

Too logical to be gullible.


What then,

Can I be?

But a solo dancer.