Author: Dave Matthes

Work: Wanderlust and the Whiskey Bottle Parallel: Poems and Stories


“There's folly in her stride
that's the rumor
justified by lies
I've seen her up close
beneath the sheets
and sometime during the summer
she was mine for a few sweet months in the fall
and parts of December

((( To get to the heart of this unsolvable equation, one must first become familiar with the physical, emotional, and immaterial makeup as to what constitutes both war and peace. )))

I found her looking through a window
the same window I'd been looking through
She smiled and her eyes never faltered
this folly was a crime

((( The very essence of war is destructive, though throughout the years utilized as a means of creating peace, such an equation might seem paradoxical to the untrained eye. Some might say using evil to defeat evil is counterproductive, and gives more meaning to the word “futile”. Others, like Edmund Burke, would argue that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men and women to do nothing.” )))

She had an identity I could identify with
something my fingertips could caress in the night

((( There is such a limitless landscape within the mind, no two minds are alike. And this is why as a race we will forever be at war with each other.
What constitutes peace is in the mind of the beholder. )))

Have you heard the argument?
This displacement of men and women
and women and men
the minds we all have
the beliefs we all share
Slipping inside of us
thoughts and religions and bodies
all bare

((( “Without darkness, there can be no light,”
he once said. To demonstrate this theory, during one of his seminars he held a piece of white chalk and drew a line down the center of a blackboard. Explaining that without the blackness of the board, the white line would be invisible. )))

When she left
she kissed with eyes open
I knew this because I'd done the same
Sometimes we saw eye to eye like that
Very briefly,
she considered an apotheosis
a synthesis
a rendering of her folly
into solidarity

((( To believe that a world-wide lay down of arms is possible, however, is the delusion of the pacifist; the dream of the optimist; and the joke of the realist. Diplomacy only goes so far, and in spite of our efforts to fight with words- there are times when drawing swords of a very different nature are surely called for. )))

Experiencing the subsequent sunrise
inhaling and drinking
breaking mirrors and regurgitating
just to start again
all in all
I was just another gash in the bark

((( Plato once said:
“Only the dead have seen the end of war.” Perhaps the death of us all is called for in this time of emotional desperation. War is a product of the mind; only with the death of such will come the end of the bloodshed. Though this may be a fairly realistic view of such an issue, perhaps there is an optimistic outlook on the horizon. Not every sword is double edged, but every coin is double sided. )))

Leaving town and throwing shit out the window
drinking boroughs and borrowing spare change
I glimpsed the rear view mirror
stole a glimpse really
I've believed in looking back for a while
it helps to have one last view
a reminder in case one ever decides to rebel
in the event the self regresses
and makes the declaration of devastation
once more

((( Thus, if we wish to eliminate the threat of war today- complete human annihilation may be called for. )))”

Author: Judith Lewis Herman

Work: Trauma and Recovery


“The ORDINARY RESPONSE TO ATROCITIES is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable.

Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work. Folk wisdom is filled with ghosts who refuse to rest in their graves until their stories are told. Murder will out. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims.

The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom.

The psychological distress symptoms of traumatized people simultaneously call attention to the existence of an unspeakable secret and deflect attention from it. This is most apparent in the way traumatized people alternate between feeling numb and reliving the event. The dialectic of trauma gives rise to complicated, sometimes uncanny alterations of consciousness, which George Orwell, one of the committed truth-tellers of our century, called "doublethink," and which mental health professionals, searching for calm, precise language, call "dissociation." It results in protean, dramatic, and often bizarre symptoms of hysteria which Freud recognized a century ago as disguised communications about sexual abuse in childhood. . . .”

Author: Dave Matthes

Work: Strange Rainfall on the Rooftops of People Watchers: Poems and Stories


“Reaction time

Touch the underside of a penny you find
on the street
Doesn't feel any different unless you close your eyes
I can taste the copper in my mouth now
seeping from between my teeth
There's an explanation I'm sure
all this blood
it's from all the times I held the glass too close
And forgot to tip the dancer
A storm just passed
and like every other one that came before it
I was left unharmed
The dogs are all barking and the cats
hiding in the basement
And the sky is colored that bright yellow glow
makes it feel like you're wearing sunglasses
that you can't take off
Wherever you are now
it's not here
because I missed it
I missed the show
I missed the curtain call
And forever more
I am cursed
like a blanket without a body to keep warm”

Author: Dave Matthes

Work: Strange Rainfall on the Rooftops of People Watchers: Poems and Stories


“The door is cracked

We used to meet
like water does land
no
not that
more like when skin touches skin
kissing fingertips
or when air escapes a lung
and is felt across the world
I've leapt over cracks in sidewalks
and swallowed away troublesome back pains
that could only be fixed with someone else's pills
We met by your house one stray day
and you drove me to the bay
where we sat and kissed like it was yesterday
And here you told me that you loved me
and that you always loved me
and that you would always love me
the wind blew and I held you
You rested your head on my shoulder
and the wind blew warm
Later, in your big red truck, we smoked some green
and I kissed you harder
and held your breasts, and felt between your legs
and with a gasp
you told me you were in love with me
And then you drove me back
and we promised it wouldn't be the end
not this time
The quill and inkwell on your foot
I'm a writer and you are my greatest art
I returned to my hell and dreamt of you once more”