Poems: Matthew James Friday

Unable to Break

The young couple left
the café quickly, nothing
bought, and stood together
in the grey, slushing snow,
bodies angled obtusely, heads
bowed like February willows.
He looks up. She reaches
behind his ears. He buries
his head on her shoulder
and they stand silently
as the afternoon spills,
minutes mumbling. They
are immovable, talking
now, nodding, aching
tenderness, touching to
try and reconnect, deny
the decomposition. But
no kiss or final turn. They
remain waiting, unable
to tear away, break.


Epitaph for An Ant

The flying ant staggers across the table,
slipping in and out of cracks on the surface,
searching Martian ravines for a new home.

She sees it and picks up the salt holder.
In a twitch of an ant’s antennae,
she stamps the salt holder down,
savagely smearing it across the table,
erasing the ant over the wood it found
so hard to walk on. The bottom half
reduced to a black tar scar. The top
half a full stop.
                   She continues talking
as if nothing untoward has happened.
To her, nothing has. God has spoken
and we ants can do nothing but pray.


Barely Connected

She screeches, banshee,
flapping her arms – a wasp!
zipping around the bedsit.
It settles on the window,
an insect Goliath, pulsing
abdomen tapping an SOS
on the glass, the window
fused shut months ago. Armed
with a rolled up magazine,
I approach, stalking,
my girlfriend shrinking
into a fading armchair.
I nudge the colossus
and it hums defiance.
Go on, do it! the Empress
brays from her Coliseum.
One strike. The wasp merely
shivers. I strike again,
leap back, the wasp
wobbles. Well? Is it dead?
Shaking our stunned head,
One more time! The wasp
Collapses onto the window sill,
still alive. Be a man! The sting
of her words weakens me.
Manhood is insect death?
Resurrected, this Hercules
continues its labours,
climbing up to the light,
humming hurt and hate,
my girlfriend shrieking
like a horror movie victim.
So I try a vacuum cleaner,
sucking the wasp into dusty
Hades, quiet, the bedsit still.
Gingerly, I open the bag,
prod the dust ball
and gasp. The wasp,
its body barely connected,
writhing with life, a force
of Nature. I close the bag,
run outside and empty it
in a cloud of dust to dust.
I return to the bedsit,
head hung in guilt, unable
to deal with the real pests.


Matthew James Friday has had many poems published in numerous international magazines and journals, including, recently: All the Sins (UK), The Ear (USA), Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal (USA), and the Waterford Teachers Centre (Ireland). The mini-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA). 
Website: http://matthewfriday.weebly.com/

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