Monday, April 24, 2017

Life Says

Life says: “I am the only thing you get.”
   I say: “Then I will make you what I need.”
Life says: “You want to win? Then make a bet!”
   I say: “It’s not the winning—it’s the deed.”
Life says: “All your achievements I’ll anoint.”
   I say: “Yeah; right—maybe posthumously.”
Life says: “I really hate to disappoint.”
   I say: “You sure love doing it to me.”
Life says: “Swallow your pride and win a medal.”
   I say: “I take pride in what I’ve created.”
Life says: “I will not love you till you settle.”
   I say: “Then I’ll be happy to be hated.”
      Life says: “Then there is nothing I can give you.”
      I say: “Then my gift is, I get to live you.”

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Life iIn 14 Lines - 24: The Past

The Past’s an unforgiving dictionary,
Defining me by what I did and said.
Its purpose is to keep me stationary.
It paints me in what’s over, done and dead.

The past’s a lover who just won’t move on—
Telling me that her feelings mean I owe her,
Guilting me with a duty that’s long gone,
Blaming me because I dared to outgrow her.

Dressing me up in what no longer fits—
Humming me like an old familiar song—
Freezing my heart and licking it to bits—
Making me feel like growth and change are wrong—

My past defines me, on this one condition:
It cannot haunt me without my permission.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Go Be

Go be the sun that lights the darkest sky.
Go be the faith that nothing can betray.
Go be the pattern others measure by.
Go be the one and only every day.

Go slay the dragons that would hoard your treasure.
Go grin at hurdles and take home the gold.
Go stray down every path that leads to pleasure.
Go skin your knees like you were ten years old.

Go ski the Everest of your destiny;
Set free your inner slave, give her a crown.
Go cup your hands and drink audacity.
Go up your game. Never let yourself down.

Go tree a future that you’re worthy of
And be the soul that I will always love.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 23

My love’s an angry guard dog on a chain.
My hate’s a warming campfire in the cold.
My feelings never make it to my brain—
They melt and harden in a bullet mold.

My afternoons are what I take a nap in.
My nights are all about the exploration.
The disappointment when it doesn’t happen
Is ten times stronger than the expectation.

I hug the chaos but I hate the shoddy.
I love tradition but despise the rut.
Only my fingerprints are on my body.
The doorway to my heart is rusted shut.

Yet they will all dissolve, these fears that freeze me,
When someone looks at me and truly sees me.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Club Mateo

My inner life’s an after-hours club—
   It is my nemesis and my salvation.
I sing along to someone else’s dub;
   I dance to Hurts (they’re always on rotation).
Desire gets me drunk and feeds me sweets.
   I know I’m being played, but can’t renounce her.
Resentment sits down next to me and tweets—
   Somehow he always slips in past the bouncer.
The bar fills up with dreams who always say
   “I’m yours!” so they can party on my dough.
I slow dance with the one I want to stay.
   But always she has somewhere else to go
      And blows me kisses from her taxicab,
      Leaving me with a promise and the tab.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Month Of Couplets

From The Daily Couplet:


The real enemies of Democracy:
Kings who demand unquestioned loyalty.


All governments end up like the Titanic:
The only state is one of sinking panic.


So many of the best women are driven
To men who always need to be forgiven.


Always online, the Universe is waiting
For keywords loving, caring and creating.


The pains of torture, poison, vivisection,
Are heaven to the hell of love’s rejection.


Cloudy or bright, failure or paragon:
The day is always daughter to the dawn.


If I can't give without an expectation,
Then generosity becomes flirtation.


Look forward: potholes, detours, nothing clear.
Look back: a smooth wide road, straight as a spear.


When men are robbed, they’ll fight like tigers born
But act like sheep when regularly shorn.


You can train apes to read the printed page
But that won’t change their bullying or rage.


       How Trump Defines Watching The News

Stay glued to all your screens like some dumb Rhesus
For news that’s just rewritten press releases.


     How Trump Defines A Free Press

The Press must praise our phony attributes
And never point out that we’re empty suits.


With loss, the echo stabs more than the deed.
I don’t know I’ve been wounded till I bleed.


                    Trump’s America

A ship of state that pushes overboard
The wretched refuse and the dark-skinned horde.


No matter how it ends, goes or begins—
The game we play is rigged. God always wins.


By its pain racked and on its pleasures gorged,
This life’s an anvil where my soul is forged.


Women see Trump and recognize an ape
Who rules like he can get away with rape.


Joy follows grief in one brief frantic blur
Untasted—unless sipped like sweet liqueur.


The credulous say crooks are civilized
Whenever they don’t rob as advertised.


When assholes come down on me like confetti,
I’m sick of being big. Can I be petty?


I’m proud of two things—how I play Love’s game
And the scar on your heart that has my name.


Freedom is not the right to pick and choose
Who gets its gifts. Do that, and we all lose.


Women and Blacks are part of an invasion
When “real American” means “male Caucasian.”


         A Postcard To The White House

No matter how you lie, the truth will strike back.
(And Adolf Hitler called—he wants his Reich back.)


         A Postcard To The White House

Freedom’s like Trumpcare: our masters have whored it,
And we can’t get it if we can’t afford it.


          A Postcard To The White House

You’d rather be obeyed and cheered than fair.
(And Adolf Hitler called. He loves your hair.)


This life breeds strangers far too easily.
Find kindred spirits. Make them family.


Happy Birthday, Patrick McGoohan

Count me and classify me if you can—
I’m not a number; I am a free man.


          How The White House Defines
               “Personal Freedom”

“Your rights won’t disappear—we’ll just consider
Selling them to the highest corporate bidder.”


The Christian Right believes that charity
Means never giving anything for free.


        Republican Senators on the
        Judiciary Committee Agree:

“How dare you say our nominee’s not fit
After the way we treated yours like shit?”


                   The Current Motto of
             The Department of Education

Since the well-educated want to screw us,
Let’s keep their kids so dumb they can’t see through us.


               The Trump-Approved
                   Republican Motto

Nothing you say or do can terrify us—
Unless, of course, you’re rich enough to buy us.


Like criminals will always self-impeach,
The overbearing always overreach.


             Except For My Friends

It’s not constant rejection that I mind—
It’s that the world is boneheaded and blind.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Friday, March 24, 2017

City Life

The momentary is my daily diet.
A sinking feeling is my gut’s sea level.
I seek the Holy Grail of peace and quiet
But calm and silence normalize the Devil.

All that I grasp, with passion or in rage,
Slips through my hands like powder through a grapnel.
There’s no geography—space is a stage
Where Paris gunshots trigger New York shrapnel.

Nervous by day and trembling in the dark,
I claw at any pleasure that leaves scratches—
Part of an army searching for a spark,
All packed together like a box of matches—

Burning to find a cause that’s worth the fight
And see by more than momentary light.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

My Friends All Say I’m Brilliant

My friends all think that what I write is brilliant.
Producers rate my work 2 out of 10.
Life says: “Buck up and learn to be resilient!
I could care less what comes out of your pen.”

My friends all tell me I deserve success.
Success just laughs each time I ask her out.
She makes a date, then loses my address.
Life laughs, and says: “That’s what I’m all about.”

My friends all say I’m lovable as hell.
But love is bull, and I am its torero.
Life says: “Given your heart? It’s just as well.
You’ll never hear Te Amo—just Te Quiero.”

Such highs and lows—you’d think I’d get the bends.
I don’t. I never will. Thanks to my friends.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells


Monday, March 20, 2017


Sometimes my heart feels like a phantom limb.
Pain stabs it, even though it isn't there.
And something weeps that used to sing a hymn.
And something bleeds that can't afford to care.

And there I am, reliving it again:
The ugly battle and the pointless fight,
The wounds we took at our own Devil's Den
When Love bled out till it was cold and white.

That finished me for war. And yet the need,
Behind the loss that haunts me, has revealed
An emptiness in me I cannot feed
Unless I stand upon that battlefield,

Loving and hating the unfeeling knife
That had to amputate you from my life.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 22

I back away whenever I’m too close.
I make a joke whenever it’s too real.
Love is the drug on which I overdose.
Feeling it makes me feel as if I feel.

Days are for loss and struggle, nights for grieving.
Dreams are for digging tunnels till I’m free.
I know it’s wrong, but I can’t help believing
If I don’t move, the world will come to me.

The self-worth car I’m driving is a clunker.
I weave the rope on which my hopes are hung.
Deep down inside, I’m Hitler in the bunker
Hallucinating Götterdämmerung.

And when I’m dead, my life will be a quarrel
That offers either false hope or a moral.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Speed Of Life

It’s all a blur: death, grief, success, love, loss.
They pass me by like taxis in the rain.
Urgency rules. Haste is my albatross.
Reasons dissolve before I can ask why.

I cannot see the raindrops for the fountains.
An algorithm tells me what I like.
Perspective’s dead—events are now all mountains
That last no longer than a lightning strike.

My world’s full of unmet anticipation.
The fleeting trifle has authority.
The only rhythm is acceleration.
The only constant is inconstancy.

What comes won’t stay; what counts goes by too fast.
Death, grief, success, love, loss—they never last.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 21

I look down on the fools who dare to love me.
I look up to the dead for ways to live.
Since I can’t read minds, friends don’t think well of me.
Since my heart’s pawned, there’s nothing there to give.

Yesterday’s “Not a chance!” is today’s go-to.
Remembered slights are poison in my cup.
I feel rejected by what I said no to.
I feel abandoned by what I gave up.

I carry so much that I’ll never need.
I’ll leave behind much more that is undone.
Is hope the curse I dine on or I feed?
Is love the finish or the race I run?

Is life the hidden prospect or the mask?
And who am I—and who am I—to ask?

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Charlotte Coughlan 1924-2017

The space you lived in was a single room.
The hole you left behind is a whole world—
An almost-century of faith and gloom,
Of loves and births and passions—each one pearled

In your life’s necklace. You outlived it all
Except survival, and the love you felt
For blood and non-blood was a waterfall
That could make sinners clean and hatred melt.

It’s like an ocean has evaporated
And all it nursed flounders and gasps for air—
The lives you touched, the lives that you created.
Where can I swim now, Charlotte? It’s not fair.

I stumble, crippled by the loss of you
Though you’ll be with me now in all I do.

Copyright 2017 Mathew J Wells

Monday, February 27, 2017

Happy Birthday, Ayla!

         for Ayla Huguenot

Ayla! You are now 13!
Ask yourself—what does that mean?
Hear that noise, half-scream half-shout?
That’s your mom! She’s freaking out!

So what’s 13? It’s a trip!
Trust me—I served on that ship.
I was 13 once too. (Damn.
That was during Vietnam.)

I know—that’s ancient history.
But ancient is what YOU will be.
You’ll think your life is all but done—
Y’know—when you turn 21.

But until then—and even after—
Fill up your days with songs and laughter.
This is your time to take the wheel
And aim yourself at an ideal

And take off like a thunderclap
Down roads that only you can map
Full of great sights and cool rest stops
(And hopefully free of traffic cops).

And so, from one whose teens were mad—
I was protesting war! And fighting with Dad!—
Who’s lived till (drum roll) 64—
Here are some rules you will ignore:

Hold and hug, but never clutch.
Don’t be someone else’s crutch.
Make the time to write and play.
Live the now, not yesterday.

When you don’t feel, don’t pretend it.
When your heart breaks, Time will mend it.
When in doubt, be like Joe Strummer.
Never—ever—date a drummer.

Daring is your magic wand.
Always reach for what’s beyond.
When you see a challenge? Do it!
Trust your gut!—just don’t add to it.

Don’t do more than two encores.
Remember—looks will open doors
But they don’t furnish the room.
Always prepare; never assume.

Be a troubadour at heart.
Finish everything you start.
When your life’s attacked by schmucks,
Please give zero rhymes-with-ducks.

Grow a garden. Fill a hole.
Risk rejection. Feed your soul.
Stroll when others push and shove.
The heart has no sex—let it love.

Listen closely. Use your voice.
Guard your freedoms—speech and choice.
Never fail to right a wrong.
Tell your story. Be a song.


Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Clever To Wise

              for Bri Getterman

To change the world, I have to change the eyes
   That see it, and the hands I use to fashion
It like clay, and the heart that deifies
   My demons; till I view all with dispassion,
And learn to see the face behind my face,
   The spirit in the shell, the me behind
The I, the garden that my walls encase,
   The stillness underneath my busy mind—
And live a truth that shames the lies I wear
   Like labels, leaving me sincere and clean
And helpless—bravely helpless—with soul bare,
   Eyes clear, hands steady, and a heart serene
      To shun the ego underneath my name
      And be a spark that sets the world aflame.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Friday, February 17, 2017

A Month of Couplets

From The Daily Couplet:


Refusing help when tough times have you floored
Is like putting on armor when you fall overboard.


My need to help will never be exceeded—
Except by my desire to be needed.


Tomorrow’s dream wakes to this morning’s need.
Life is a treadmill that keeps changing speed.


It takes a slave to haughty Twitter fights
To mock a man who fought for civil rights.


When double-dealing cheats are told they’ve lied,
It doesn’t tarnish them—it feeds their pride.


The insecure invent their victories
By yelling “LOSER!” at their enemies.


All doors men lock open with this one key:
Well-behaved women don’t make history.


         Women and experience

If you don't have it, then it doesn't count.
And when you do, it's not the right amount.


             Misogyny’s Motto

“We don’t despise you girls—we love you all
When you’re submissive as a blow-up doll.”


Reason, advice and brains are for the birds
When POTUS only has 300 words.


When speech is silenced till it learns to please,
Freedom will die like frogs—boiled by degrees.


NIXON: “Freedom’s a trust  I won’t betray.”
MITCHELL: “Watch what we do, not what we say.”


        How Trump Defines
         American Carnage

If crime is blood, then skin is the stiletto.
If it has more than two blacks, it’s a ghetto.


What's easy: knowing I’m a work of art.
What's hard: not taking bad reviews to heart.


Affection’s pleasure and rejection’s pain—
That’s what comes of my heart being my brain


The rule of law’s been thrown under a bus.
What once was justice has become “Just us.”


When History is taught by subjugators,
Even the dead become collaborators.


In countries where the honest live in fear
The truth’s whatever tyrants want to hear.


When two hearts speak, love grows through compromise.
When one heart’s silent, then the other dies.


Abuse of power tempts till you’re okay with it:
It’s not abuse till you don’t get away with it.


                Two Ideas Of Love

He calls it stunning hype, and makes her swill it.
She calls it emptiness, so he can fill it.


                     Two Ideas Of Love

She hates it when he helps—it undermines her.
He offers help because that hate defines her.


Those who think Islam is a vicious cancer
Swear that a Christian jihad is the answer.


A West Bank war would be the Right’s white weddin’.
Pro-Israel? No—just pro-Armageddon.


Pence wants one trade to cure our culture’s blights:
The Ten Commandments for The Bill of Rights.


The Right is too divine for genuflections—
Except to those with money and connections.


The kind of men who like their women quiet
Think that equality will cause a riot.


This truth is hard, and hardly ever spoken:
Hearts can’t forgive till after they’ve been broken.


Empathy’s great, but problematical:
If I were you, we’d both be miserable.


        My Bloody Valentines 1

I know you’re superficial. I don’t care.
I love the underneath that isn’t there.


        My Bloody Valentines 2

The only crimes hearts should be victims of
Are hope, and falling helplessly in love.


        My Bloody Valentines 3

It’s subjugation that he finds appealing.
He wants the satisfaction—not the feeling.


        My Bloody Valentines 4

It’s always lust when reason is excluded
And never love unless it’s half-deluded.


        My Bloody Valentines 5

Love is like fruit—whether it’s cold or hot,
It always spoils from the softest spot.


               My Bloody Valentines 6

Steer clear of playwrights who propose romance—
They want to get into your actor pants.


            My Bloody Valentines 7

Because there’s selfishness behind my eyes,
Loving me is a hand-job in disguise.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 20

I’m never happy in a single place.
The quiet life is one I’ll never master.
If I stop moving, then I'll have to face
My loneliness—so I start running faster.

I’m drawn to women who drive me insane.
I give my soul to those who could care less.
Because I’m only whole when I’m in pain,
Passion’s not pleasure—it’s an SOS.

I’d give my heart, but it’s under embargo
Because it’s so susceptible to lies.
Where Love’s concerned, I am my own Iago
Except he isn’t caught and never dies

But sends me down a road I never stray from
That feeds the hollowness I run away from.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Special Garden: Two Valentine's Day Sonnets

                 What Makes You So Special?

What makes you so special? What makes a heart
So big it bursts with joy? What makes a soul
So strong that it can laugh at every dart
Life hurls at it? What makes you whole

If not your separate pieces, each of which
Is like a diamond on the necklace of
Your public self—bright jewels that enrich
Your every move and word? What else but love

Lies behind all you give, and deserves just
As much, if not more, in return? You show
Strangers what caring means, your friends what trust
Can do, and all your lovers that to know

You is like knowing heaven star by star.
What makes you special? Everything you are.

                 The Garden of Your Soul

The garden of your soul is green and cool.
It’s landscaped so the ones you trust can see
Its flower beds of love, the nursery
Where all your wishes blossom, and the pool

Of tranquil peace where you can float at ease.
An ever-greenhouse to support and please you,
It’s why the sere world feels a fragrant breeze
And thinks of roses every time it sees you.

And when you’re in the weeds, and every petal
Cries out for your attention and your care,
Water them one by one, and never settle
For anything that withers you—but dare

To own each blossom like it was your child—
And keep that garden soothing, safe and wild.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, February 2, 2017


Silence says more than speech. A minute’s pause
   Can hold a Bible’s worth of love and wrath
And say both yes and no at once, because—
   Thought stillness always moves—we choose its path.
Silence means more than speech. Words pin things down
   Till they explain away the mystified,
While silence grins like a demented clown
   At definitions, till they run and hide.
Silence hurts more than speech. The longer it
   Goes on, the more it wounds, like a long knife
Driven up from your belly bit by bit
   Until it finds your heart and takes your life,
      Sickens your faith till it's a worthless cheat,
      And poisons love until it's rotten meat.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Alternative Facts


Women are breeding stock. All Blacks are thugs.
Immigrants rape six white girls every day.
Cities are ghetto swamps of crime and drugs
And those who live there look the other way.

A book can still be read after you've burned it.
Saying "Me first!" is generosity.
The poor don't just deserve to die—they've earned it.
Elective subjugation makes you free.

Nuclear war will be a bloodless scrimmage.
Planet Earth will stay cool when it's de-iced.
A white male God made bankers in His image.
One of the Founding Fathers: Jesus Christ.

Today's illegal act is the last straw
And Presidents are not above the law.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Why We March

We march because we're targets if we stand.
We march because our hearts are weaponized.
We march to draw a line in Hatred's sand
That says we won't be fooled or victimized.

We march because our saints end up like Joan
Or get called sinners by old men in Texas.
We march because the bodies that we own
Are sacrosanct, no matter what our sex is.

We march in hope because despair is cheap.
We march on fire because the dark has grown.
We march in love because our hearts won't sleep.
We march together. We are not alone.

We march to shine a light, guiding and clear,
Against the fog of ignorance and fear.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells
written 1/21/17 on the B61 bus to the Women's March in Washington DC

Friday, January 13, 2017

My Love

His love is all possession and control.
   My love is help and generosity.
His kisses touch your skin and not your soul.
   Mine start with soul and seek transcendency.
His love sees how you look, mine who you are.
   His love is deep, but shallow next to mine.
His love is warm, but mine’s a blazing star.
   Mine sees an equal, his a concubine.
His love may stand tall now, but it will slouch
   Till derring-don’t replaces derring-do.
His love will wind up sitting on the couch
   And stare at quarterbacks instead of you.
      Mine is a love that bleeds, but never mourns,
      Because I even love you for your thorns.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lies, Inc.

Lies are the Lugers of our Overlords
Like whining’s the champagne of the uncouth.
Each time a blatant falsehood treads the boards,
Fact-checking it makes it a form of truth.

Testing a forgery will make it real.
Exposing counterfeits proclaims their worth.
And when, not what you know, but how you feel
Is gospel, we are beasts on a flat earth.

The truth once shamed our devils; now they laugh.
The truth once made us free; now it’s our jail.
We dug its grave and wrote its epitaph:
“We loved the facts, but wed the fairy tale.”

Lies are straightforward bullets none survive
Unless they swear that two and two are five.

Copyright 2016 Matthew J Wells