Saturday, May 3, 2014


(screen shot sent by friend)

by William Matthews

Summer school, and jumbo shrimp, of course.
Friendly fire, famous poet, common sense,
and, until very recently, safe sex.
Blind date, sure thing, amicable divorce.

Also there's loyal opposition,
social security, deliberate speed.
How about dysfunctional family?
Eyes blackened, hearts crushed, the damn thing functions.

(shot in Long Island City New York)

Some things we say should coat our tongues with ash.
Drug-Free School Zone? No way: it's our money
our children toke, snort and shoot up while we
vote against higher property taxes.

Want a one-word oxymoron? Prepay.
Money's—forgive me—rich in such mischief:
trust officer, debt service, common thief—
these phrases all want to have it both ways.

(shot in Manhattan NY near Union Square)

and sag at the middle like decrepit beds.
Religious freedom—doesn't that sound good?
And some assisted living when we're old
and in our cryptic dreams the many dead

swirl like a fitful snow. We'll wake and not
think of our living wills or property.
We'll want some breakfast. Our memories
will be our real estate, all that we've got.

(Shot at a poetry reading in an art gallery, Brooklyn NY)

"Oxymorons" by William Matthews from Search Party. © Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Reprinted with permission to NPR The Writers Almanac
(which is where I got it from to share with you)

1 comment:

Mo Crow said...

memories & breakfast, great poem!