Mental Magic

Putting thoughts down on paper;

putting thoughts down.

When my mind seems obsessed, cannot stop talking to someone

via my head, or working something out,

if I write down on paper what’s circling in my brain

– voila! I can walk away from it!

I know the thoughts are there

if and when I should need those clever phrases.

I don’t have to carry them endlessly. It’s as if the paper

is a cupboard,

a shelf, and now I can get on to something else while

my precious opinions sit and wait.



It feels just a few short years
since shyly we began to hug.
And now – we must back off!
We stand 6 feet apart
and long to touch the bare skin
of another human being.
To take and shake a hand today
Could bring me tears.
To hear the phone ring – a dear voice!
brings life into my being.
Am I so low I cannot lift another?
A storm came through with fury.
Now all is still.
I arise from sleep and sleep and sleep
like a daffodil
long wintered in the ground.
I sleep
and then awake
and feel a new person trying to break my shell,
letting off old ways,
familiar thoughts and patterns.
I will let Death change me
Before I let him enter through my door.
I will stop my doing,
be a different person,
What wants changing in this life?
In this body?
In these habits that I wear?
Who do I need?
What do I really require?
Where have I been headed?
How can I change course?
Can I still tack with the wind?
How close or far away is this boat to port?


Someday I’ll read all these 280 books on my shelves.
And then, after that,  Someday
I’ll mark every photograph in
those five bank boxes, plus the one in the garage,
with dates and identities
for the sake of the grandkids.
I’m going to one-of-these-days develop a
whole chronology of my life
because I can’t remember the years
when things happened.
And then I’m going to clean off my computer and toss
these 1300 old emails, but
I have to read them first.
I have about seven boxes marked “family mementos” which
Someday I really should go through and
see what they are.
But the old financial records – they really must
get sorted and organized and tossed or shredded.
There are family histories from several different branches of the family tree
 that should just be gathered together into one place.
I’d like to go back to Sweden Someday and maybe Ireland, too; they were delightful,
but I also haven’t seen Germany or England yet.
But tomorrow I have to return a faucet handle to the hardware,
buy groceries and cook some chicken,
also cook the whole cauliflower before it spoils,
and do at least one load of laundry, water the plants,
pay the tax estimates and
balance the checking account. I really should
call Graciella: she needs encouragement.
I’ll have to wait till Wednesday to start
marking the photographs or
sorting mementos.
 Whoops, – doctors appointment on Wednesday.
If I have any energy left tonight after washing dishes
and reading emails, I’ll start one of those 280
books I want to read.
Oh yes.  I still could start working on my PhD.!
Also, Someday I’m going to
 lose 20 pounds.

The End

THE END                Jan. 26, 2020
Struck!  In the mountains of New Mexico.
Flown home in  small swift jet.
He’s in special care now, special place.
Each dawn I fight the traffic,
spend each day speaking for the silent one,
reading eyes,
guarding care of him who’s struck.
I fight to get back home.
Doorstep box!
Silver foil keeping warm a meat,
plastic showing smiling muffin,
bowl of greens, cup of pudding.
My eyes tear up to feel the shawl of care on me.
Each day a box,
each day a different meal,
each day tears and rest.
Tonight I sleep.
Tomorrow back,
my tank of care refilled to give.

Worn out, I fall asleep on folding sofa.
But tumble up in night to turn him over
avoiding bedsores.
His body slides, toes crunch;
I stand behind, grab the sheet beneath his arms,
  yank him up again.
He weighs 60# more than me,
  me 4’ 10”.
He cannot move a muscle of his own;
his eyes say “Thanks.”
My day begins.
The aide – no show, just quit.
I’m on my own today until I find and train new help, small pay.
I love him.
Against all odds, I fight to keep him with me.
How long can he hang on?
How long can I hang on?

#3  Letting Go
Hanging on too long
   we are.
My body says “Let go.
Let go – I want to live.
Let the dying go.”
He sees and knows
and he lets go.

Snoozing in Sunlight with the Cat

Christmas and my mind is full of shoulds.
“Buy, wrap, mail, clean, cook!
Give, get, thank, visit, “Enjoy”!
Little shoulder-devil mutters
I see the cat stretched long
  on sofa pillows.
Window-sun shines bright and warm
  across his fur:
“Contentment” says the scene.
Pulled magically, I find
  myself stretched out beside the cat.
The winter sun commands me “Rest!”
Caving, heart and breath slow down,
smile floats to surface.
Little sounds and motions other side of glass!
One eye opens cat and I.
Flitter flutter birds and squirrels
trees to feeder, round the ground.
With interest and disinterest,
  we watch the fun;
sink back to deep contentment
in solstice sun,
The cat and I.                    December 21, 2019,  Marti Matthews

summer poem

Covert Township Park, MI
Do I belong on Riff Raff Row
in that last campsite near the dune?
I ask my Mom and she says “No.
A lady, now, should stay at home.”
I ask my Dad and he’s not sure,
though he’s been riff raff all along.
He doesn’t see me in that way.
Nor should I be content – that’s wrong.
I wonder why I feel inside
That I belong to Riff Raff Row
and hills and dunes and trees and sound
of water splashing to and fro,
and people living on the edge,
content with friends and open air
and simple joys and little work,
with children tumbling everywhere. 
From somewhere in the woods around
Something tells me “Yes, it’s true!
This is your home – you own it all
in just the way that it owns you.
The earth and water gave you birth;
The sound of waves was your first song.
Here you are sufficient, child;
Here all can rest till each is strong.
The empty site before the dune –
Number nine on Riff Raff Row –
Go bring your tent and be content.
That sand, those trees, are home to you.”
                   Marti Matthews    2/16/99