Barefoot Poetry

SS Matthews


The Collector

Audio Version- Experimenting with Soundcloud

The Collector

This street is strewn with broken things,
dreams die in the first few steps, it seems.
Graffiti, pronouncing God’s demise, decorates the odd high-rise.

I love the city, with its unpredictability.
Its rows of tarnished faces watching passers-by for traces
of weakness which might glare. I just stare
right back and sigh into their bloodshot eyes.
I’m not here to head their cries.
I shun the stab of cold outside and wrap my cloak more tightly.

No angel, I, you may have guessed,
I walk this street at Death’s behest,
I pick and choose, I pre-select the fuel to feed His fury.

Gothic children sob and sing, courting Poe,
his ‘Raven’s’ wing a marvel of demented mind.
(I must confess, does charm the learned and lag alike,
when read aloud, when read at night.)

Though gladly would they pave my way,
it is not these I stalk this day.
Each must bide his time, her place,
and languish in a lesser grace.

Shattered bottles, plastic bags,
needles shared, ain’t life a drag.
Come inhale some ‘Satan’s’ Weed.
Your future? Well, it’s dark indeed.

Rings of smoke coil serpentine,
subtle fangs which pierce un-seen.
The poison works, igniting veins,
numbing minds, relieving pain
of promises all made in vain.

Care not for your ‘betters’ wastes,
for they have perspicacious tastes.
Like leaves which line the forest floor,
I tread their path, so cry no more.

For I will come this way again, in arrogance,
a death’s head grin engraves the unsuspecting.
For now I’ll call a name or two.
It’s cold so I’ll just take a few.

SS Matthew 2009



A Stranger to Love

I look at you now,
The mighty oak
At the end of his season.

Recall you in your prime.
Running dirt roads for pleasure-
To fleet to follow-
Chin-up contests in the backyard,
You never lost-

Are not being spoon fed
In a hospital bed
And I know you, know I,
Would not want to be here,
To die In the company of caring strangers.

So I sit at your side,
In this chair that bites my back-
And your pride,
Still too great to be broken.

I see you in myself-
And wonder
What will my children see-

When it is I unable to rise;
Staring, unable to speak,
Still not knowing
What faith will be rewarded?

You wished for your children
To respect your strengths
And we do.

I wish mine to remember my weaknesses,
My passion for their moments
Of triumph and pain-

Not the trembling hand of a stranger
They wish they’d been able to love;
A father at the time of goodbye,
Unafraid and able to speak
Whatever their hearts might hold.

Poetry by SS Matthews