Readers Make the Best Companions

Drifting above the room
to areas rarely seen,
the top ledge of the bookshelf
displays a dusty parade
of propped novels read 
and some unread
leaning aslant into tomorrow.

The lampshades from here
are tempting orbs 
shining upwards, 
directing me 
in their searchlight nudges,
with adamant requests
to get out a duster and flick
away highlighted cobwebs.

I desist (knowing what I know)

For there's that old spider reading
"The Time Traveler's Wife" again,
and I notice its fine silken thread 
traversing one room corner 
right to the open book.

If only I made the same efforts
to read as it did. So, I assist 
turning the page for it (carefully)
and between us we get to page two.

In genuine thanks
it untangles its trap, 
and offers me begrudgingly 
another free-fly 
so I can become accustomed 
to these fragile, moth wings.

Here's hoping it's a lengthy book
with a happy ending.

Some Days Leave Spring Reminders

From a table, the day wilts 
beneath a freshly pulled chair, 
its roots left behind pale to think of. 

Another spent flower to pick up, 
their once beautiful uprights 
show now unnaturally askew. 

A sense of lost composure 
cannot arrange into anything 
worth straightening up, not instantly, 
but give it time. 

An offer of water is turned away 
to look outside at the cold returned, 
and dwell, to be concerned by 
a lack of blooms 
and the inability to recover still life. 

Surprizing it seems 
to transfer these stems to the sink, 
with reminders that yesterday 
everything sat well enough, 
when winter covered less than a chair, 
and spring sat briefly, 
chatted sunshine matters; it does. 

(in nonsense you find the occasional truth)

"Being overly selective 
can make doors 
appear much smaller," 
said the rabbit to Alice.

And the world is placed 
under a microscope at times 
too much too often, 
thought Alice abstractedly.

"You slide what remains 
beneath the looking glass, 
and strive for focus trying 
to make some sense 
out of just how jabberwocky 
certain things can be, 
like a tip of a thumb 
who forgets it possesses fingers."

"Discoveries always 
come with odd contents 
of unique appetites, 
they are the opposite 
to eat-all-you-can buffets," 
continued the rabbit.

Alice frowned, 
she wasn't at all sure 
quite what that meant, 
but thought the rabbit might 
have ingested something 
out of the ordinary.

He went on, 
"They can often make 
my hands fingerless. 
My thumb, hungry 
to pull out the new drawer."

"But you never had 
any fingers to begin with,
and least of all, a thumb," 
considered Alice.

The White Rabbit thought 
this very true, yet frankly saw 
no reason why it should 
stop him from doing anything 
any differently in the least.

A 19th Century Scantily Clad Novel

I read a book
on a night-express train,
took the lace thread marker
between the fingers, as story
spread, and engine sped
ever onwards to
an all embracing epilogue.

Condensation formed
against the windows,
opaque as the blurred reality
and glance speed-reading of eyes
in the seats opposite.

VI, VII, VIII, IX, and X,
to be stationed and derailed,
platforms hitched by the wayside,
baring elusive garter glimpses.

The turns from the wheels,
moved the pages
with rhythmic pulse beating,
and reclining back into seat,
gaslights saucily flickered upon
scarlet velvet coats, feather hats,
and elegant, handwritten,
dangling baggage labels
which in turn became,
unbuttoned, open red corsets,
sultry, tickling kisses and
secret valentine messages;
or so I literary imagined.

This was truly, the age of steam

Summer Moon Connection

“It’s no use, I’m finished,
my muse has burnt out, gone,
there will be no more words.
I am alas, bereft in a void
of brevity,”
said the moth to the butterfly.

“Oh, so you’re not coming out
tonight then?”

The butterfly looked at the moth
intently, then upwards.

“No, and don’t try to cheer me
with lunar night magic
or tell me that there’s always time
and tomorrow,” continued the moth.

“Mothy, you big fool!”

said the fiery, orange butterfly,
she had a surprisingly deep voice
for one of her fragile kind,
and it shook Mothy
like tales of the summer moon.

“You always get melancholy
remembering your Cocoon-day,
man, you have at least

ten days

to live. C’mon, give it a break,
that is as we both know
a veritable lifetime.”

With that the butterfly
flew off, a smile looking back,
with wings, vivid as a lake sunrise
and the moth imagined a poem
about a butterfly
as bright, as cool
as an energy saving light bulb
(if that were possible)

Upon a favoured rhubarb leaf
some three days later,
he carefully wrote it down
intending to show her,
but by then it was too late,
as the butterfly had passed away
that very summer morning.

Even the moon was obscured
that uneasy night, missing
part of its symmetrical shape,
one other crescent half,
then two winged clouds parted
and it unveiled to what he thought
was never seen, not possible,
an orb so fine, so orange,
it might have been electric.

Oh Butterfly, he thought,
you did see my poem.

An Unlooked for Patience

The life manual opens its pages,
settles upon my conscience,
which should have been called shoulders
for it has had to shrug too often.

I’d rather rest a musician’s hand
than lay down any fretful writing,
and play a strain for lost friends,
found and re-found friends,
footpath’s warmed, chill nights
peering at invitations next to side-doors.

If only I’d knocked more and entered.
Times, they sometimes did strum, 
did resonate without me.

I’d like to let the yellow index page,
thumbed over one too many times,
the odd tear midway in sober stains,
show a score I could relinquish,
but I keep them all for now.

A footnote reveals, so I can remember
I possessed at least a few good ideals.

Yearly, the chapters grow in scope,
lines I can bear to rebind in this scrapbook,
and though the materials available
are sometimes lightly underscored, 
they frame the clutched beliefs 
far better than the doubts.

Sneezed Away in Time

If secrets die
when memory fades,
when minds do
eventually crumble,
then simple,
household dust
yet still may hold
all the enigmas
of this particle world.

So I urge you,
dust carefully
and acknowledge its value,
before you clean away
the snuff of the once held,
once breathed,
undisclosed dream. 
Listening to Spills of Waves

The sea washes the slate 
of this beach clean, 
yet I wonder who cleanses 
the ocean of its memories; 
does it hold them all in 
in deep tidal breaths? 

It carries all shipwrecks, 
tragedies and treasures alike, 
and seldom do disclosures 
bob up to surface 
in the confiding of waves 
unless you know where to hear. 

And only then if you can 
distinguish one cove dialect 
from another and another, 
keeping those secrets 
in shell confidence, 
preserved like the doubloons 
in the oily rock pool 
nobody's ever seen but me. 
The Heavens Return One Day

My dreams are small,
white dwarf fragments
of what might have been;
collapsed stars viewed under
an understanding
of not requiring
to know exact locations
any more than intuitive designs.

Fate doesn’t notice them,
and passes them quietly by,
one by one, by one,
or so it sometimes feels.

Preferring to teach
by astronomical example,
that not every constellation
can be recalled or relit.

It is known however,
they’re still burning
somehow, somewhere,
those immeasurably
personal pilot flames of suns.

Matt Clendon pg. 2
Matt Clendon pg. 3

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© 2015  
Matt Clendon
all rights
Painting the Sunset   © Matt Clendon