Wednesday, June 21, 2017

All That's Wrong With The World



The burping rich ignore the starving waif.
Terror kills random targets craftily.
Our rights are sacrificed to keep us safe.
You wake up next to him instead of me.

The lost and wounded worship the fictitious.
Self-righteous vengeance is their Decalogue.
Their anger will be used by the ambitious.
You treat him like a prince—me, like a dog.

You told me that you loved me and you lied.
The First Amendment hasn’t got a prayer.
Democracy’s committing suicide.
I’d kill you, but it isn’t worth the chair.

Our country’s falling to a right-wing coup.
This life is pointless if I can’t have you.



Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, June 19, 2017

Love Is



Love is our yearning to create the thing
We love out of what speaks to us alone
In someone else—and make its beauty sing—
Like statues are created out of stone.

Love is like gravity, distorting space
And time, till there’s just nearness and the now,
A universe in someone else’s face,
And faith to fuel the jet of fancy’s vow.

Love is a chrysalis that will give birth
To something new with wings, that will not stay
Wherever is it paid less than it’s worth,
Or owed more than it gives, but fly away.

Love is like war—we’re haunted by each past one,
And always end up re-fighting the last one.



Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The One I Love






The one I love fills up my journal pages.
   It makes me sing to hear her say my name.
I have been chasing after her for ages.
   Each time we get close, it’s always the same:
She tells me I’m the one she’s thinking of;
   She tells me that she cares—that she adores me;
And waits until I offer her my love,
   Then takes somebody else home, and it floors me.
It kills me. Kills me. It plants something dead
   Inside my heart—a hole; a growth; a cancer—
That poisons every pure hope in my head
   Into dead-end despair that has no answer
      Except what will forever make me grieve:
      The one I love’s the one I have to leave.


Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

13 Reasons Why

(My Plays Don't Get Produced)



I am sequoia-ancient (three times twenty).
I build my plots on consequence and choices.
Most plays are one-note horns—mine, horns of plenty.
I think Art is the rebel who rejoices.

I always make the finish worth the chase.
I write to challenge, not make you relax.
I don’t suck up to your subscriber base
By patting them on their self-righteous backs.

My premises are clever and unique ones.
My dialogue is smart and more than noise.
I write strong women ‘cause there are no weak ones.
I write men as they are—arrested boys.

I always choose the truth over the fact.
I know how to construct a second act.


Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, June 5, 2017

Prayer



Oh God, give me the heartlessness to feel
Nothing when those I love betray or hurt me.
Give me the dullness to accept the real
And faith to have my back when all desert me.

Oh God, give me the blindness that lets me
Saunter unharmed and open-eyed through danger.
Make me feel guilt when I refuse to see
The innocent who hides in every stranger.

Oh God, let me live up to what must die
In me to make a cradle for your love—
And when my soul lets out a baby’s cry
Of hunger, feed it what it’s frightened of

So I can bravely pluck out hatred’s weed
From my heart’s garden, and be caring’s seed.


Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells



Thursday, June 1, 2017

A Month Of Couplets


From The Daily Couplet:



4/29/17

“Here’s the one heart that you’re unworthy of,”
Life says—and that’s the one that gets my love.


4/30/17

Dead love won’t live again if I unearth it
So why, God, do I always think it’s worth it?


5/1/17

          Trump On His First 100 Days

“My enemies list what I haven’t done!
They’re just attacking me because I won!”


5/2/17

               Trump On The War
          Of Northern Aggression

“My mind’s no slave to orthodox fake-thought
When I ask why the Civil War was fought.”


5/3/17

              Trump On Democracy

“The law’s to blame when I look like a fool.
The Constitution is why I can’t rule.”


5/4/17

             Trump On The Media

“Reporters should be locked up in the clink!
Fake news won’t tell me that my shit don’t stink!”


5/5/17

       How The Republicans Stole Christmas

“Good will to men is left-wing, so we’ll Grinch it—
Then take each thing the black guy did and lynch it.”


5/6/17

The ones who try to find the time misuse it.
Only the ones who make the time won’t lose it.


5/7/17

Poison—knives—bullets—bombs—a subway shove—
Can’t kill like silence from someone you love.


5/8/17

When the rich cull the sick and poor, they’ll smirk
And say “It’s just Democracy at work.”


5/9/17

The more I clean out self-delusion’s shelf,
The more I will become known to myself.


5/10/17

One constant in all countries and all times:
The crook will knock off those who know his crimes.


5/11/17

                REPUBLICANS, n.

They’ll steal and lie for power’s fix like junkies,
And suck up to their Führer like good flunkies.


5/12/17

“My party first!” declares the Fascist Right.
“Unlike my country, it’s rich, male and white!”


5/13/17

Hearts that are doomed to make love to illusions
Come alive with the hot blood of delusions.


5/14/17

A small life works to prosper and to please;
A great life lives to make great memories.


5/15/17

                 Trump On Elections

“We’ll show the world a true democracy!
The only votes that count are votes for me!”


5/16/17

Honor and sympathy are what determine
Whether you’re good at heart or a good German.


5/17/17

Republicans who fawn and kiss the ass
Of tyranny should NEVER get a pass.


5/18/17

                   Dictatorship 101

Capitalism: buy the shit we sell you.
Transparency: believe each lie we tell you.


5/19/17

The motto of our democratic age:
The common man is wiser than the sage.


5/20/17

Fame’s lottery is crooked to the core—
The winners are the chumps who won before.


5/21/17

Life is a book. Its final word is “death.”
Life is a song. It opens with a breath.


5/22/17

The heartless will insist they have the feels
To make the gullible bark like trained seals.


5/23/17

The more my demons see the light of day,
The quicker they will shrink and fade away.


5/24/17

The good go down too soon, the evil thrive,
And Henry Kissinger is still alive. 


5/25/17

Whether they shun, ignore, dismiss, or drop you,
It's only failure when you let it stop you.


5/26/17

If I don't trust the critics when they haze me
Then why should I believe them when they praise me?


5/27/17

I'd rather live in solitary gloom
Than feel alone with someone in the room.


5/28/17

As precious as love is, nothing's more dear
Than friends who tell me what I need to hear.


5/29/17

Superiority comes from inside:
World leaders walk; royalty gets to ride.


5/30/17

       The All-Purpose Donald Trump Tweet

“The dumb mistakes I’ve made? The crimes I’ve done?
Fake news! Get over it! She lost! I won!”


5/31/17

The voters: outrage, demonstrations, pickets.
Republicans: the chirp of spineless crickets.



Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cassandra Knows Best



Cassandra Knows Best
or
The Pride of Ancient Greece


Matthew Wells




Copyright 2017 by Matthew J Wells



For information, contact:
Matthew Wells
317 Second Ave #6
New York NY 10003
646-418-3947
mjshaxpere@gmail.com
1.1



CAST OF CHARACTERS


AGAMEMNON, 50’s. Greek toga. A laurel wreath for a crown. A flowing red cape. Gold boots. The greatest man who ever lived, according to Agamemnon.

CASSANDRA, 20’s. Multicolored hair. Hoop earrings. Tank top. Flouncy skirt. Black nylons with holes in them. Combat boots. She not only sees the future, she lives there.

APOLLO, young and ageless. Full of himself, like all gods and most males.

CLYTEMNESTRA, 40’s. Black dress. Severe makeup. Carries a huge double-bladed axe. It’s not a fashion accessory.



TIME:  right after the fall of Troy.

PLACE: the street outside the house of Atreus



  
          Offstage cheering. 

          AGAMEMNON enters, with CASSANDRA on 
          a leash behind him.

AGAMEMNON
I’m Agamemnon, greater than the gods!
I bravely conquered Troy against the odds.
Heaven bows down to me!

CASSANDRA
                            Heaven is gagging.
The gods get pissed when they hear mortals bragging.

AGAMEMNON
How is it bragging when it’s simply true?
No one on earth can equal what I do!
Look at the crowd that cheered me in the streets!
They all love me—from lepers to elites!
Ten hundred thousand people cheered my fame!
Ten hundred thousand voices yelled my name!

CASSANDRA
What are you smoking, dude—the Golden Fleece?
There’s just twelve thousand men in all of Greece.

AGAMEMNON
Fake numbers. Sad. But mercy won’t desert me.
Even when you resort to lies to hurt me.
I pity and forgive your angry fits.
You don’t know any better—you have tits.
So thank you, Gods above, for giving me
This huge incomparable victory.
No one has ever won as big as this!
Deny it, and I’ll tell you what to kiss!
I have won greatness thanks to great Troy’s fall!

CASSANDRA
And eight minutes from now you’ll lose it all.

AGAMEMNON
No matter what I do, it’s never wrong!
I am the law! I rule!

CASSANDRA
                       But not for long.

AGAMEMNON
Cassandra—why’s it always tragedy
When you predict the future?

CASSANDRA
                             That’s just me.
I tell all the tomorrows Fate will weave
That no one with today’s ears will believe.
So you could say it’s all part of my curse.
But it’s just life. Life lives by getting worse.
It’s always shittier than you expected.
Just ask America when Trump’s elected.

AGAMEMNON
Ask Greece! I did what the great gods demanded—
I faced ten million men, and single-handed
Sent them to Hell, then sent their widows lilies.
And then killed Hector!

CASSANDRA
                         No, that was Achilles.

AGAMEMNON
Who died—and as we sailed down failure’s stream,
My clever brain thought up a perfect scheme,
A stratagem both clever and delicious—
The Trojan Horse!

CASSANDRA
                  Wait—wasn’t that Odysseus?

AGAMEMNON
Okay, okay—but I approved the plan.

CASSANDRA
You would have been dumb not to, silly man.

AGAMEMNON
And really—who’s Odysseus anyway?

CASSANDRA
Sean Bean in that Brad Pitt film. He’s okay.

AGAMEMNON
Now I’ve come home, after the fall of Troy.
To live the life that I deserve.

CASSANDRA
                                Oh boy.

AGAMEMNON
A loving wife to share my general’s bed.

CASSANDRA
And drive a loving axe into your head.

AGAMEMNON
A faithful son to carry on my name.

CASSANDRA
There ain’t a mama’s boy who is more lame.

AGAMEMNON
What have you got against my son Orestes?

CASSANDRA
I think your crazy daughter has more testes.

AGAMEMNON
My daughter, loving as a fiancée!

CASSANDRA
Her love is kind of Freudian, okay?

AGAMEMNON
And you, Cassandra—you. My prize of prizes!
A girl whose beauty always tantalizes.
The woman who said “Get lost!” to Apollo.
And she’s my slave! That’s victory!

          APOLLO enters on his line.

APOLLO
                                 That’s hollow.

CASSANDRA
Oh crap. Apollo.

APOLLO
                   Cass! How have you been?

CASSANDRA
Y’know—enslaved and raped. They’ve both been “in”
Since Troy fell, and my family was all killed.

APOLLO
I wish I could have helped you, but ‘twas willed
That Troy should be erased like ancient ink
Thanks to a thug. That would be you, I think.
Apollo, son of Zeus. The girl is mine.

AGAMEMNON
What?

APOLLO
    Give. Me. This. Girl. You. Dumb. Mortal. Swine.

AGAMEMNON
No.

APOLLO
     No? I’ll turn you into something gilled,
And gut you.

CASSANDRA
             Nope. That isn’t how he’s killed.
And why—why do you want me anyway?

APOLLO
Because you always blow me off.

CASSANDRA
                              Oh-ka-a-a-a-ay . . .

APOLLO
Women don’t do that to me.

CASSANDRA
                          I did.

APOLLO
                                 And
Here we both are, and your death is at hand.
Unless you let me love you, little Cass.

CASSANDRA
And why would I do that, you stupid ass?

AGAMEMNON
Yeah—why would she do that when she has me?
I’m so much better for her sanity.

APOLLO
Enough—enough of all this stupid talking.
Make love to me, or die.

CASSANDRA
                          Dead Trojan walking.

APOLLO
Fine. I’ll just watch it all go down from here.

AGAMEMNON
You chose me over him! You precious dear.

CASSANDRA
Whoa! I did no such thing, you egotist.

AGAMEMNON
It’s my smile, right? I know you can’t resist.

CASSANDRA
Just watch me.

AGAMEMNON
                No, deep down you really care.

CASSANDRA
I don’t!

AGAMEMNON
        I say you do.

CASSANDRA
                      Fuck off.

AGAMEMNON
                                 Don’t swear.
I don’t like hearing words like that from you.
It’s not becoming in a girl I screw.
But now that I know just how much you love me—

CASSANDRA
I don’t!

AGAMEMNON
          I will pray to the gods above me
To give me patience till you see it through
And freely give me what I steal from you—

CASSANDRA
                                         Ewww!

AGAMEMNON
—Till what you’ve made me take from you by force
Becomes your loving gift. And then, of course,
My happiness will be complete at last.
And we will be together.

CASSANDRA
                          Not so fast.
I hate you and despise you. Hate. Kapish?

AGAMEMNON
But why?

CASSANDRA
            Because you’ve got me on a leash!
You treat me like your special breeding cow!
I loathe your Grecian ass!

AGAMEMNON
                            You say that now.
But you will really like me when you know me.
I’ll win your love! I’ll make you mine!

CASSANDRA
                                        Men. Blow me!

AGAMEMNON
You’ll see—our love will grow.

CASSANDRA
                                No, it will fester.
Oh look—here comes your sweet wife Clytemnester.

          CLYTEMNESTRA enters with a great 
          double-bladed axe slung over her shoulder.

AGAMEMNON
At last! My loving wife! Look at that smile!

CASSANDRA
Yeah—all teeth, like a hungry crocodile.

CLYTEMNESTRA
My love.

AGAMEMNON
            Hear how she says “My love” to me!
Such tenderness! Such domesticity!
It means so much to hear her be so kind.

CASSANDRA
I know—it means you’re deaf as well as blind.

CLYTEMNESTRA
So who’s this pretty thing, my dear?

AGAMEMNON
                                      She’s mine.
Cassandra—she’s my Trojan concubine.

CLYTEMNESTRA
“Concubine.” I’m so dumb. What does that mean?

CASSANDRA
It means he treats me like his sex machine.

CLYTEMNESTRA
Does he still do it like a battering ram?
                       
CASSANDRA
It isn’t sex unless he breaks your clam.

CLYTEMNESTRA
That’s my sweet husband. He thinks he’s the greatest.

CASSANDRA
And in one minute he will be the latest.

AGAMEMNON
I will not die today. The gods above
Have given me their favor and their love.
They kept me safe so I could spend my life
At home, with daughter, son, and happy wife.

CLYTEMNESTRA
And I am happy. Don’t forget that, will you?

CASSANDRA
Of course she is—cuz now she gets to kill you.

AGAMEMNON
She won’t.

CASSANDRA
           She will.

AGAMEMNON
                       I won’t stoop to debate you.
Why would she want to kill me?

CLYTEMNESTRA
                                Cuz I hate you.
You killed our child.

AGAMEMNON
                      The gods told me to do it!

CLYTEMNESTRA
So you could go to war.


AGAMEMNON
                         And then live through it!
And here I am.

CLYTEMNESTRA
                So tell me what you feel.

AGAMEMNON
Relief. And pride. And hunger. Where’s my meal?

CLYTEMNESTRA
My heart feels all the loss that your heart lacks.

AGAMEMNON
Yeah, yeah. So what’s for dinner?

CLYTEMNESTRA
                                     Eat my axe.

          CLYTEMNESTRA chops AGAMEMNON in half.

CASSANDRA
The harshest words the dead will ever know
Are when the living say “I told you so.”

APOLLO
Now kill her.

CLYTEMNESTRA
               No.

APOLLO
                     I’m ordering you to.

CLYTEMNESTRA
Not even gods tell women what to do.

APOLLO
You little bitch. What arrogance! Repent!
I am divine! Get on your knees!

CLYTEMNESTRA
                                 Get bent.

APOLLO
Maybe you didn’t hear me. I’ll shout louder.

CLYTEMNESTRA
This is between us bitches. Take a powder.

APOLLO
When my father hears this, he’ll punish you!

CASSANDRA
Yeah—run to Dad.

CLYTEMNESTRA
                    Go whine to mommy too.

          APOLLO exits.

CLYTEMNESTRA
So here’s the deal. I could kill you right now.

CASSANDRA
You will.

CLYTEMNESTRA
            I won’t. It makes no sense somehow.

CASSANDRA
What will you do then?

CLYTEMNESTRA
                       Laugh and let you go.
My quarrel was with this dead so-and-so.
The future is a path. Pick one and take it.
Don’t let it happen. Don’t—unless you make it.
I chose my path. I’ll take the consequences.
You do the same. Your only real offense is
You were a victim of both God and man.
You want revenge? Go live the best you can.
That’s what I’ll do until my dying day.

CASSANDRA
When your son kills you.

CLYTEMNESTRA
                           Pfft!—no fucking way.

CLYTEMNESTRA exits.

CASSANDRA
Holy crap! I’ve escaped my destiny!
I get to make one of my own. Yay me!
The ruler of my life! I get to do
Anything! I’m the boss of me! Whoo hoo!
I’ll dye my hair bright red! I’ll go to France!
I’ll change my name to Sandy! I’ll wear pants!

APOLLO appears, arms wide.

CASSANDRA
I can paint! Sculpt! Write poems! Cure the flu!
There’s nothing I won’t do! (To APOLLO) Except for you.

APOLLO
You think you’ve won, but nothing can defeat me!
I’ll win your love! I’ll make you mine!

CASSANDRA
                                       Men. Eat me!

         Blackout. End of play.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, May 22, 2017

Thinking of Death


I live my life like Death will pass me by.
   I plan like there will always be tomorrow.
Convinced that only other people die,
   I mourn their loss with mixed relief and sorrow.
Death is the tiger that I cannot see;
   The jungles of the day-to-day conceal it.
Death is the knife that’s always aimed at me;
   Like happiness, just other people feel it.
Life is the great rigged game Death plays with me,
   Making me think that I am in the clover.
I get the ball for years and score scot-free.
   Death only has to play once, and Game Over.
      I hold the key, but haven’t got a clue.
      I think of death, but never think it through.



Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

If I Love You



If I love you, that means you give me hope.
If I love you, good deeds are bribery.
If I love you, I’ll sulk when I don’t mope.
If I love you, then you need therapy.

If I love you, my flaws can’t live without you.
If I love you, then your heart has a sentry.
Love is the novel that I write about you
So I can swear that it’s a documentary.

I’ll tell you you’re the sun to my cold earth,
I’ll make you fill a cup that has no bottom,
I’ll give your moods control over my worth,
I’ll kill your spring with my dead leaves of autumn,

And hate you for what you don’t do or say.
So if you love me, please—please—run away.



Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, May 15, 2017

Love Is



Love is a treasure dive without the bends
   That robs a cave where green-eyed monsters lurk.
Love is like Friday night—it never ends
   And never thinks about next Monday’s work.
Love is a game where moves are all unplanned
   And rules never exist until you make them.
Love is a do-it-yourself Disneyland—
   You have to build the rides before you take them.
Love is a toll road that will not take change.
   Love dies a little without self-destruction.
Love is a singer with a three-note range
   Who only sounds good after post-production—
      A heart you’ll misplace till it goes astray
      And only find when you give it away.


Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells