Poetry by Matthew Rodgers

October 31st, 2011




Chopin: Heroic Polonaise



It may be all
we’re looking for
It may be as simple
as that. As cramming the
sky into a jar, as catching the
milky way in the palm of your hand
as if just a fly. Breaking free
of time as if Tartalas was
the only realm of light.
Finding the way to
reach deeper inside,
without losing our grasp
taking the flower blossoms with
us away into inexistence. Other skies,
maybe, eternity dispersed, serenity scattered
a false fear of death haunts every cadence.
Let us reintroduce the arrow into
the maze, bring a mirror to
the sea, a ballad and
then we are off into
the silky smooth
fire burning



Even At the End


The old woman sweeps the golden leaves
that have fallen on the streets into the gutter.
Somehow I feel as if she understands them.
Putting them to rest when there will be no one
to do the same for her. I remember once the
boy with a lions smile, who used to laugh at
the sighing trees. I have lost touch with him,
maybe he has turned to gold too. Last I heard
he was with his mother, but that was many
seasons ago, when even I could still recall
the shadows of the Sun. But now, for what?
Sweeping the leaves into the street, when
there is nothing left to do, but make sure
that the ones who have fallen are taken care
of. Hopefully in peace, even though they may
not be seen again, you will know that you
loved them well enough, to see them off,
swaying in the breeze.


10-21-11 #2



The light blue sky speaks to the trees like rain, it says: the sounds that these humans make
hurt my ears, what happened to the songs of the orange groves and their many colored
blossoms? The oaks look up unsure what to say, because they know it would hurt the sky to
tell it what remains. But thinking back on the silence, of the long nights that wax and wane
then bring back again the start of the stars shrouded in the beauty of the clouds to burst
with the first signs of the sun’s rising. What must be in the silence? it is hard to know what
makes no sound. It’s as if it doesn’t exist but perhaps in its in-existence there is something
hidden as if in the depths of the heart. But for now the concern is: how will we survive if the
earth suddenly says no. will it matter if our forefathers died, to the sun, for tomorrow’s
children? Lover — may I ask you a question? which way should I turn? Turn? Turn towards
yourself before you profess that you love.



A Willow


I’d say to my dad, it’s the hard part to start,
and he’d say nonsense, you can start anywhere,
and I’d say, yes, but it is hard to choose, and he’d
say, well what about this tree, and I’d say, it is
green, and he’d say, yes it is green, but what
makes it special? and I’d say, it has many leaves
and he’d say, and? and I’d say, and it is winter, and
he’d say so? and I’d say, well most trees shed their
leaves by winter, and he’d say, so what makes this
tree so special? well I’d say, it is green, it has many
leaves, and it is winter. Yes, but what kind of tree
is it? He’d say, and I’d say, I think it is a willow, and
he’d say, so it is tree, that is green, that has many
leaves in the winter, and it is a willow, but what
makes this tree so special? and I’d say well most
willows shed their leaves by the winter but this one
has retained them, yes, true, keep going, he’d say,
so that would make this tree highly suspect, to what
he’d say, to being special, I’d say, and he’d say, but
Why? and I’d say, Why? Why? Why? and he’d say,
yes, Why? and I’d say, it is winter, and it is still
weeping, yes, he’d say, so? — so, I’d say, it must have
a very special heart, and he’d say, yes, a very big heart
to still be weeping in winter, and I’d say, but father, it
is still green when the others are bare, true, he’d say,
it is a very special tree, I’d say, yes, true, my son,
he’d say, otherwise we would not be talking about it.



We Lone Voyagers


I knew it.

I knew they’d have me crucified as soon as I told them to stop shopping.
Passing by the page, trudging through words, of sentences hardly linked together,
hoping that by the time you turn the page it will end,
but sometimes it doesn’t, sometimes it continues, page after page,
in continual, unbroken sentences. With no end in sight.
Hearing the roar of the seagulls, they are getting louder
and there are more and more of them. Something must be happening.
There are times so delicate, times that hang precariously, upon a loose thread.
I fear that if the Earth were to shake now, we’d be doomed.
Are we just one particle upon the wave, flowing up and down,
side to side never actually touching each other but moving together all the same?
Tell me that love is not an illusion.
That we have not been born, as a mistake to creation.
An accident. The soul urges me on, it says I comprehend,
I perceive, and what I perceive is what I create.
I am confused by Paradox. Folly. Disgrace. Torment.
The collosal butterfly we call the cosmos has enveloped my senses,
lost in its pattern, its beauty is a mathematical equation.

I knew it.

I have dug deep into the Earth, and I told the sky I feel too much.
A receptor overcome by lightning. A splash in the ocean.
A rebirth of the horizon every day. Countless cries. Murmurs. Moans.
The moon whispers on, it says we were born for this, this timelessness,
this silence, as the last puzzle to life’s confusion.
Consciousness has been done.
Inside ourselves
we look away.




Visions of Heaven


Here along the promised paradise
golden poppies, velvet lips,
pink dandelions, unstoppable bliss
the moon whispers into my ear
saying ‘its a meadow of flowers’
the unspeakable love
between the sun and the sea
evolves into us: nature’s sweet folly.
Can it be? that here
surrounded by crystal spheres
we have broken the world
stolen the dawn and ran away
into a deep dark wood
where nothing can be
growing-withering-abandoned dream
leave it alone, don’t worry
we have forgotten the promise
the holy-unbreakable-word
that we are it and nothing more
but forgiveness and sin
a beauty made of stone.





Being Beauteous


I found beauty all alone
in the night close to my arms
angels whirled through pastures of daisies
and running across the sky
stars shimmered in visions of a virgin dawn
nothing stood but joy’s imperial woods
where no shadow could breach the perpetual flame
I watched the love of youth awake to transformations
the moon was in control nothing felt so pure
and a basket of blue was shared along the threshing floor
where handsome god beckoned me to kiss his hand
and my veil was lifted and I saw through new eyes
I stood among laurel crowds
enveloped by flowers
and silently I awoke
to the dream inflamed.



Dreaming Mystery



Strength and Truth that are mine
I dismiss you from Eternity
let fall the Love of the Sky
into the Heart of every man woman and child.
Water that flows through metal lines
do not know the art of flowing
but are directed ambitiously, forcefully (unknowingly?)
to the mouths of the most divine sensation.
(the beast we call ourselves)
Elevated Bliss and carnal Wisdom
remind us of Truth and Beauty.
(they do not exist)
God tried to save the world, I saw him do it
Create the things we most Desire and need
like the clouds, the water, the life
and us, and we, and I, forgot
what the origins story must have looked like.
Run, Run! Into the Night
find out what has happened to the Sun.
Gather around the last created fire
tell us the meaning of the universe.
(it does not exist)



Invading Time




Annihilated – the solemn beauty of our love.
Can one die yet still survive?
Reappearing perpetually
after every bout with destruction.
All the people I have known
assassinated in the garden of time.
all the things I have seen
disappeared among the floating fog.
I wanted to capture love in a jar
to instill luxurious revolutions of truth
but I was cut down by the rainbows.
Astray I flew – to wander through air.
Misled by the masses
I butchered exotic animals
and passed by enlightened instants of truth.
Several have exploited my world
I have cried with the morning stars.
I have risen with the azure sky.
The tortuous journey was necessary
And now I alone – know the wind’s secret name.



Pride In Rainbows



Love Stirs… Shh
I suspect a tale of folly
of preferred bad taste
cardinal doors opened
backdrops of nightmare
but there under a great tree
radical revolutions of the soul
unfashionable at the time
I boasted of having achieved fairytale glory
I invented new forms, recovered wisdom, everything.
But no one understood.
All the arenas were mine.
All wars of poetic expression.
and chased away by the rainbows,
I disappeared
into the bowels of the earth.
but there were too many tears
and delirium overtook me.
I confessed to all the world
that I had discovered eternity
but there were
no words.

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painting of Clifford Brown by Paul Lovering
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Click to view the complete 25-year archive of Jerry Jazz Musician interviews, including those recently published with Judith Tick on Ella Fitzgerald (pictured),; Laura Flam and Emily Sieu Liebowitz on the Girl Groups of the 60's; Tad Richards on Small Group Swing; Stephanie Stein Crease on Chick Webb; Brent Hayes Edwards on Henry Threadgill; Richard Koloda on Albert Ayler; Glenn Mott on Stanley Crouch; Richard Carlin and Ken Bloom on Eubie Blake; Richard Brent Turner on jazz and Islam; Alyn Shipton on the art of jazz; Shawn Levy on the original queens of standup comedy; Travis Atria on the expatriate trumpeter Arthur Briggs; Kitt Shapiro on her life with her mother, Eartha Kitt; Will Friedwald on Nat King Cole; Wayne Enstice on the drummer Dottie Dodgion; the drummer Joe La Barbera on Bill Evans; Philip Clark on Dave Brubeck; Nicholas Buccola on James Baldwin and William F. Buckley; Ricky Riccardi on Louis Armstrong; Dan Morgenstern and Christian Sands on Erroll Garner; Maria Golia on Ornette Coleman.

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