Thursday, July 20, 2017

Marcello on the Beach

                   Marcello on the Beach

A monster has just washed up on the sand—
   A manta with its black eyes wide and dead.
The young and beautiful act like it’s grand.
   The older man just looks and tilts his head.
They’re making such a big deal out of it,
   It makes him wish he planned it in advance.
No matter; they’ll get blasé in a bit,
   No matter what the tune, it’s the same dance.
He’s wearing white—he always does these days—
   Because, no matter what you do, it will
Get dirty in a hundred different ways,
   Then cleaned. For suits are much more versatile
      Than souls. His own likes to wear dark sunglasses,
      So it can close its eyes to all that passes.

He drifts away, like thoughts in Sunday School.
   He needs a shave and sleep. Such sad dark eyes.
He hears his name across the tidal pool.
   It’s someone that he cannot recognize.
But we know her. She’s the young girl he met
   When he went off to finally write the book
He knew was in him. So did she; and let
   Him see that knowledge in her every look.
And now he stares at her and all he sees
   Is someone he can’t even visualize
Whose hands make typing moves—whose eyes don’t tease,
   But promise something pure, tender and wise.
      It makes him wish he could always be near her.
      But she's so far away, and he can't hear her.

What is there he can do, but give a shrug
   That says “I can’t” as loudly as “I wish”
At what’s long past that he once longed to hug—
   At what’s as dead now as that monster fish.
What is there left to do, but shrug, as if
   To say “There’s nothing left in me to give,”
And offer up a smile with just a whiff
   Of sadness in it? For that’s how we live—
Mixed up like cocktails; chasing after tastes
   Our tongues have outgrown; looking back and seeing
Not what Time offers us, but what it wastes,
   Till Life is not the finding but the fleeing.
      And so we shrug, over the lost and broken,
      As if to say all that cannot be spoken.

That’s where we all get washed up, on that shore
   Where youth cavorts with age—where there’s a tide
That sends up monsters from the ocean’s floor
   And driftwood loves that Time has beautified—
A beach where might-have-beens call out our name
   And make us choose to hear them, or forget
That what they saw is not what we became—
   That our farewell dishonored how we met.
And when our current life calls out to us,
   We take its hand as it leads us away
To what’s consoling and innocuous,
   Where regrets are stubbed out in Time’s ashtray—
      And all the angels who saved us from hell
      Smile sadly, knowingly, and wave farewell.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Monday, July 17, 2017

Life In 14 Lines - 27

My ignorance about the world is vast.
My ignorance about myself is vaster.
I stretch my gifts, and still wind up typecast.
I hold myself back, and it’s a disaster.

The way I think about my life is not
The way I feel about it. What I do
Is based on instinct and caprice, not thought;
And who I am’s not deed, but follow-through.

I worry more about what may or might
Than I prepare for all that will and must.
My faith is ignorance with piercing sight;
My ignorance a crafty form of trust.

My knowledge? One unalterable text:
Life has no afterwards—just now, and next.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Love's Inner Enemies

The moment that I put my faith in you
Is when my wounded heart begins to doubt you.
The moment I know what I feel is true,
My vanity starts telling lies about you.

I don’t leave well enough alone in love.
I probe it like a wound to find the bullet.
I question what I should be trusting of.
Whatever’s labeled DO NOT TOUCH, I pull it.

There is a terrorist in me who lives
To blow up innocence, crown Fear as king,
And make my heart pull back before it gives
Till it expects and causes suffering.

He wins, unless I’m brave enough to bleed,
Not for what fails me, but makes me succeed.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Last Night I Dreamed I Was an EMT

Last night I dreamed I was an EMT.
I took your call—you said our love was dead.
It hurt to see its corpse in front of me.
“Please bring it back to life right now!” you said.

So I start up my heart up and feel it beat
And feed it to our love to live upon.
I say: “Quick—quick—give me your heart, my sweet.”
You say: “I can’t right now.” And then you’re gone.

You cry: “I’ll find the time! Just not today!
I swear that when I’m free, I’ll make a date!”
And like an idiot, I say: “Okay!
I’ll be here!” And I wait. And wait. And wait.

While my heart loses blood, minute by minute;
And our love dies, because your heart’s not in it.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Friendship and Love

Love is electric; friendship is a breeze.
   Love is exclusive; friendship is inviting.
Love lives for pleasure; friendship lives to please.
   Friendship is peace; love is a torment biting.
Love is the rapids, weak rafts overturning;
   Friendship, a still pool with no shallow end.
Love is a rose with every petal burning;
   Friendship, a garden full of herbs that mend.
Friendship may lead to love, but can be lost
   When it’s not shared, and die in hurt and doubt.
And lovers can be friends, but at the cost
   Of passion, like a flame that fizzles out.
      Ah, but when burning love and cool affection
      Can marry happily, life is perfection.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Month of Couplets - June 2017

From The Daily Couplet:


She gave her love, then came the double-cross.
He walked away, thinking: blind fool—your loss.


To be the person I was meant to be
Means learning not to take things personally.


                 Two Ideas Of Love

He’s worthless, but she loves him for the way
He makes her think he’ll be a prize someday.


                       Two Ideas Of Love

He likes to say “My flaws are what create me.”
She likes to screw up, then say “Please don’t hate me.”


The right wing loves successful terrorists—
Laws against them can shut down activists.


The First Amendment isn’t worth a dime
When laws are passed that make protests a crime.


Life is a stage, so make the part you play
Impeccable in all you do and say.


               The Art of The Trump

He hollers “LIAR!” when his foes are critical.
His base cries: “Honest! Blunt! And unpolitical.”


Any deep feeling can, in its own fashion,
Become a great mistake—except compassion.


                       Two Ideas Of Love

What helps: when he's not there, he never haunts her.
What hurts: she's all he hates, but he still wants her.


People who treat you colder than December
Are clubs that don't deserve you as a member.


Two Nevers haunt all that Life has in store
For us: Never again. Never before.


The facts are never trusted by the pious
Because they always have a left-wing bias.


             The Senate’s 
          Kamala Harris Rule

You must treat liars deferentially
Whenever they reply evasively.


The fool will always blame the quills—and whine—
After he tries to hug the porcupine.


Desire: “I’ll win your love because I choose you!”
Love: “I can’t let you go, or else I’ll lose you!”


Friendship sees all and chooses to be kind.
Love only lasts when it’s a little blind.


Love writes a poem filled with perfect rhymes.
Marriage sees all the typos as high crimes.


      The 10 Commandments
    Of the Republican Right - 1

We must be treated deferentially,
Not asked hard questions about policy.


      The 10 Commandments
    Of the Republican Right – 2

It’s honesty when you applaud our tracts
And propaganda when you check our facts.


          The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right – 3

The toughest question that we want to hear
Is whether you believe that we’re sincere.


          The 10 Commandments
        of the Republican Right – 4

We’re weary of your smirking cynicism.
Echo our press release—that’s journalism.


          The 10 Commandments
        of the Republican Right – 5

We’ll treat the symptoms as if they’re the cause
And end big government with tons of laws.


         The 10 Commandments
        of the Republican Right – 6

We all agree that it makes little sense
To subject our beliefs to evidence.


         The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right – 7

We cannot lead this great democracy
Unless you say “Of course, Your Majesty!”


            The 10 Commandments
          of the Republican Right – 8

Like all whose hearts are mean, and mien is royal,
We’ll suffer traitors, but not the disloyal.


          The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right – 9

You cry: “If you have principles, then say them!”
But since we lack them, how can we betray them?


          The 10 Commandments
       of the Republican Right - 10

We’ll suck up to whoever is in power
Even if whores gave him a golden shower.


          The 10 Commandments
      of the Republican Right - 11

You can be sure that you will face our wrath
When you subject our fiscal lies to math.


You can rely on one thing from the Right:
The whine they serve is always cold and white.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells

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


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:


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


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


          Trump On His First 100 Days

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


               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.”


              Trump On Democracy

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


             Trump On The Media

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


       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.”


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


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


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


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


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


                REPUBLICANS, n.

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


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


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


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


                 Trump On Elections

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


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


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


                   Dictatorship 101

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


       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!”


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
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


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.

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

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

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!

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

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!

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

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

                       But not for long.

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

                             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.

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!

                         No, that was Achilles.

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!

                  Wait—wasn’t that Odysseus?

Okay, okay—but I approved the plan.

You would have been dumb not to, silly man.

And really—who’s Odysseus anyway?

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

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

                                Oh boy.

A loving wife to share my general’s bed.

And drive a loving axe into your head.

A faithful son to carry on my name.

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

What have you got against my son Orestes?

I think your crazy daughter has more testes.

My daughter, loving as a fiancée!

Her love is kind of Freudian, okay?

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.

                                 That’s hollow.

Oh crap. Apollo.

                   Cass! How have you been?

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

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.


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


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

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

Because you always blow me off.

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

Women don’t do that to me.

                          I did.

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

And why would I do that, you stupid ass?

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

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

                          Dead Trojan walking.

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

You chose me over him! You precious dear.

Whoa! I did no such thing, you egotist.

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

Just watch me.

                No, deep down you really care.

I don’t!

        I say you do.

                      Fuck off.

                                 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—

I don’t!

          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—


—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.

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

But why?

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

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

                                        Men. Blow me!

You’ll see—our love will grow.

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

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

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

Yeah—all teeth, like a hungry crocodile.

My love.

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

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

So who’s this pretty thing, my dear?

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

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

It means he treats me like his sex machine.

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

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

And in one minute he will be the latest.

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.

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

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

She won’t.

           She will.

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

                                Cuz I hate you.
You killed our child.

                      The gods told me to do it!

So you could go to war.

                         And then live through it!
And here I am.

                So tell me what you feel.

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

My heart feels all the loss that your heart lacks.

Yeah, yeah. So what’s for dinner?

                                     Eat my axe.

          CLYTEMNESTRA chops AGAMEMNON in half.

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

Now kill her.


                     I’m ordering you to.

Not even gods tell women what to do.

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

                                 Get bent.

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

This is between us bitches. Take a powder.

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

Yeah—run to Dad.

                    Go whine to mommy too.

          APOLLO exits.

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

You will.

            I won’t. It makes no sense somehow.

What will you do then?

                       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.

When your son kills you.

                           Pfft!—no fucking way.


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.

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

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

                                       Men. Eat me!

         Blackout. End of play.

Copyright 2017 Matthew J Wells