Poetry Showcase: Matthew Freeman (March 2023)

So Far

Once you’re fully inside the Constant Symbol
and everywhere you look
the synchronicities
are increasing and accelerating
you think oh no this must be death
but maybe not so until you discover the source
but now mathematics and physics
look like the mere work of a factotum
who can’t see anything.

Well, you had no choice but to come along this way
and look at several methods
for thinking yourself out of it
like the subjectivity of a purely personal multiverse—
like social media from Erebus—
and then you ask Chief where’s the internet
and he surprises you
and says North or South Carolina or something
which is just a metaphor
for something much deeper and scarier
and immaterial
which involves Truth and Logic Deconstructed
and so you say One Thing
and you think your childhood church
is going to put a hit on you—

maybe one day I’ll wake up and be alive—
like that summer at Mizzou studying French
and popping Xanax outside Shattered
and then drinking and dancing all night—
and embrace all the forms so formerly
thought to be so far apart.

On the Steps

Adam the Jeweler and I were sitting outside
Starbucks listening to the beautiful muzak
of an old rock legend
around whom many people had passed.
“Do you think he was jinxed,” I asked.
Typically wise, Adam responded,
“Aren’t we all?”

Look, I’m trying to create a classification here.
All sense and rhetoric are exterior.

They had me see a shrink at NYU because of my voracious
drinking and right away I knew he was cool
because we both smoked in his office
and once during a session as I was going on and on
and mentioned that my father liked to tell stories
he broke in and said,
“So you’re telling me you’re a storyteller.”
And when I asked him if he thought I should stop drinking
he was pretty vague and noncommittal.
Because he knew things
had to run their course
and that I was required
to become
fully daemonized.

You know, it just occurred to me right now
that I might have come so far
that I could benefit from some assertive self-talk.
I think it works once you’re coming out of purgatory.
Maybe I’ll send this to the New Yorker. Don’t scoff!
Oh frenemies, maybe I’ll place all this
on the steps of Wash U.!

To Whom it May Concern

I cannot bear to bring my unconscious truth
out into the light.
I think people would think
I looked like an asshole, a maniac.
There is the sense, though,
that I don’t know what I’m saying.
When I was down at Mizzou making
a feeble attempt at studying physics—I knew
it was my last chance to fuck around—I was
getting the answers egregiously wrong but

I kept telling myself around that time
that I was inside the primary process.
Maybe the unconscious is bipolar
and the conscious is paranoid persecution.
Maybe I’ve created a new diagnosis.
Oh, I’m renouncing everything.
All that matters
is the person
to whom I’m addressing this.

Upon Fame

You’ve got to get to where you just don’t care
if anyone’s listening. The strongest note
is the one which was never sent.
As for me and the Old Man—once I was hit
with the spirit I quit
listening to anything he’d ever said.
Curiously, after Diana got with Red
she asked me to write her a letter.
All I can say on that subject is that
the one she got was the seventeenth draft.

Incredible Apologia

One can’t help but feel
after one’s written a pretty good poem
that one’s gotten away with something.
Like when I was on the 14th floor of Barnes-Jewish
and sang out so loudly
and then had to be given some Haldol and Ativan.
So hard to sing at the very end of the world.
And Lord, I wanted to be back in time
but I didn’t want this.

Bio: Matthew Freeman's seventh collection of poems, I Think I'd Rather Roar, was just published by Cerasus Poetry. He holds an MFA from the University of Missouri-St Louis.

A Poetry Showcase by Matthew Freeman

Poetry Inspired by Photography by Kevin DeLaney @kpdela Poetry by Matthew Freeman, Vipanjeet Kaur, Lesley Curwen and David L O’Nan “The Empath Dies in the End”

2 new poems from Matthew Freeman

Poetry Inspired by Photography by Kevin DeLaney @kpdela Poetry by Matthew Freeman, Vipanjeet Kaur, Lesley Curwen and David L O’Nan “The Empath Dies in the End”

The Empath Dies in the End

So I find myself alone after a night of separation
A Black night lit up over our green chairs.
Now empty, no longer filled by our bodies
and our conversations, sits like ghosts
My God! this night has moon lit on fire.

I was the first to vanish from your anger.
Your white lightning skin wrapped in the moon rays,
as you paddled insults to my heart.
You will never let me feel the honey.
To let my lungs wrap up in the stickiness.
The mosquitoes and the bees begin to sleep with a thirst.

Will a new man let you swim in that undertow?
The Chimes they cling together by the swirling winds.
The clashing waves pour onto your cracked toes from Lake Seneca.
Several hours of dancing some unnamed waltz.  
On your hideaway beach that wasn't hours. 
That is what the prophet tells me.   
Stabbed in waiting while the hymns carry my ghost away from my body.

I listen with dim sleeping eyes.  The boats in the distance belt out 
tunes.  I drain in this loneliness.  The weakness, rustic in scowl.
Blood over the beads of rocks.  Listened to the wind blow once.
Listened to the wind blow twice.  It was a disguise.
Converged pure from my polluted brain.  The narcissists were wiry and sudden and overtook my neglected heart. Infested a brain.
The Empath dies in the end.

Current bio for Fevers of the Mind’s David L O’Nan editor/writing contributor to blog.

The Tranquil Sun by Vipanjeet Kaur

The sun sits tranquilly 
over the western horizon
at dusk,
His charioteer slows down
and pauses for a while
After traversing the whole sky.

While riding the chariot of dusk,
He smiles a last fading smile –
A farewell gesture;
A token of eternal love;
A parting kiss 
to the dying day.

While folding millions of his
imponderable arms of rays
that pervade the world
throughout the day,
He draws the blinds of 
his effulgence down
before night,
Like a mourner,
saluting the passing day.

Beyond the picket fence
of my mansion,
The one-eyed overseer
rings the bell of repose
and looks at me 
through crimson windows,
imparting a rosy aureole 
to my dormant hopes,
and like a dreamcatcher 
promising vernal dreams.

A fervent plea in his closing eye
to release the unrealised dreams of 
the dying day: broken, dead and decayed
in the autumn of dusk.
Let them burn 
on the pyre of the setting light,
Let the sombre red embers
reduce them softly to ashes
with the deepening darkness of dusk,
Let them dissolve in the darkness of night,
Let the cremains of despair be immersed 
in the flowing silver moonlight

before a new dawn begins
a new chariot ride. 

Bio: Ms. Vipanjeet Kaur from India is a poet fond of writing poems on various themes like nature, women empowerment, self, spiritualism and life.  Her haikus have been featured in the international online journals like Haiku Dialogue of The Haiku Foundation, The Haiku Pond, The Cold Moon Journal and the Scarlet Dragonfly Journal and her micropoetry has been published in the Five Fleas (Itchy Poetry). She has also read research papers on the topics of Literature, Human Rights and Women Empowerment in a few national seminars and international conferences. 
She can be followed on Twitter @vjpoeticmusings.

Fevers by Matthew Freeman

And I’ve said there’s no difference
between the streetlamp and the moon.
And that’s still true, but now
in late September as everything wanes
I’m sitting outside my sister’s apartment
with my diet soda and my cigarette and my iPod
watching the crowd get thin at Ted Drewes
and every little thing we believed in fall apart.
Someday when the sun burns out you’ll ask yourself
whether you stayed true, really true, to your
feverish desire.  

A Poetry Showcase by Matthew Freeman 

Moonage by Lesley Curwen

Haloed lunacy floats crosshatch beam
through umber cloud and bulrush-crown.   Bleak horizon swallows photon-feed
down continents of eyeless waves.

Landward, pines guard empty chairs 
against moon's threat, a pump-song
chuckles chlorine,  muddles jets
of aquamarine gems.

Poetry based on photography “The Lone Road to Moloka’I” from Maggs Vibo
 Poetry based on photography Challenge from Ankh Spice pt. 1

2 new poems from Matthew Freeman


I've been corrupted! And now
they won't let me back in,
my childhood church,
the ground of my making.
All along I've been following my nose,
I never set out to ruin myself.
And I've done everything in my power
to control the narrative, to make it about recovery.
I never expected I'd say this
but I'm pretty much cool with most of the doctrine.

I mean, after I got the leather jacket
and a second wafer
magically materialized at communion
it didn't take long for me to realize
that the resurrection must be real.
I'm not out to subvert anybody!
It's clear to me that the answer is love--
even as I'm tainted,
even as I'm trying to come out of the shadow.
Believe me when I tell you: What I've heard is not my fault.

All I did was look into the breach
and see that something 
was wanting, something severe,
and the moment I broke away
from my father
was the moment I most closely
resembled him.
No matter. I've been living on next to

Were Dionysus Forty-Eight

What a world it is when
you head out to Schnucks
in order to put some pennies into their
change machine
and you see a young woman in expensive exercise clothes
and then an old dude in a suit going into a bank
and it's not so much you want to be a part of it--
you don't, you really don't--
it's that by not being a part of it
you feel that you're a horrible human being.

For thirty years
I've been trying to build
a better burger. I haven't
gotten paid yet per se
but I think my time is coming.
Let's just say the Bacchae
have renewed their interest,
and now they're keeping a close watch on me

A Poetry Showcase by Matthew Freeman

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Matthew Freeman

A Poetry Showcase by Matthew Freeman


And I’ve seen that it’s possible
to never come out of hell
and that any revisions that are made
are made in the rain.

I knew a guy at MPC on Delmar
twenty years ago now who with trembling fingers
would chain smoke
discarded cigarette butts he found
and whatever was going on in the sky
was contending in his own mind.
He was closer than I can explain.

Other patients would talk about him
and various rumors and reasons
for his condition were passed around.
I felt that they all fell flat.

I don’t know what could explain
the sheer dignity and unutterable grace
of someone so painfully and somehow
beautifully cast about.

There’s somebody somewhere
paying for every little thing that we do.

Repetition (in the Lacanian Sense)

I can write about orchards and vines
and I can write about the Greyhound and the Metro
and I can write about Orpheus going down 
or Red errupting when they
stole his Doritos

and now sometimes I feel like I've been walking
along the bottom of an ocean
for forty long years
with only the Beatles and Jakob Dylan
to comfort me
and how I'm ready to tap out of this wrestling match
but I can't keep the metaphors straight 
and anyway in kicks the Ativan
and we begin again. Okay, that's literal.

Something much greater than sex is going on.
My nurse thinks the Ativan is causing early onset dementia.
Look, I've been demented since day one.
It's only helped me making verse.
It's been about twenty-seven years
since I could tell you what I did yesterday.
Decades have passed since my community support worker
took me in because I'd taken a month of meds in ten days.

Yes, I know, I suspect 
I've already said all of this.

Forget Whitman

Ah, so it's the moon 
that's been influencing me.
All these years and I thought it was the sun.
What a fool I was !
I mistook being terribly uptight for stability.
I thought letters involved restraint.

I've been thinking a lot about myself
and what I've discovered is
that the structure of my negative symptoms,
the wonder wall,
is slowly coming apart.

I had a pleasant talk with an intelligent 
and amiable older woman today
and when I came home I felt safe and understood.
Maybe later when I put on the Bach some feeling will come.
Maybe I'll feel like going somewhere.
Maybe when I try to take a nap
I'll actually rest.

I'm becoming devout! My mind's still a little messed up
and I'm still writing poems all day with lots of cuss words
and I'm still cussing out the devil
and I'm down with all the forms of witchery 
but Christ is handling my dispossession
and Superman's going to sweep up all my symptoms
and throw them into the sun and then plant my flag on the moon.
Finally, dear Ladylove, it's happening!
The change in consciousness we talked about to change my stance.
There's a sign and it doesn't have to be a sign.
It's all about aesthetics and forgiveness.
Forget Whitman, John Keats is going to be my guide!   


By any sane stable measure
in the heavily belated
late liberal free neo-conservative
I'm an abject failure.

People malign Little Marx
but without him and the mixed economy
I'd be dead meat. On a side note
I would mention 
that I might already be dead meat
because I think
my blood stopped flowing. But
that's for a different poem.

Maybe they should make social programs for
poets. Rotten teeth? Check. Afraid of sex? Check.
But without some capital there'd be no marginal 
friction. And regardless of
whatever psych evals they give
they still don't know where
poetry comes from. You can be a loud asshole
and write quiet poems. You can be
silent for years
and then come out with some 
bombastic revelations. I thank my good buddy
Chief, who remarked when I said I was a loser,
“Artists are held to a different standard.”


Everything's complicated but
I'm doing my best
to sort it out.

Okay, yes, I take a lot of meds and
they've kept me from completely
freaking out and having to hit the hospital.
But there's a grand fake edifice
being built behind me
and I'm starting to believe
that it might, in fact, be real.

As once at Barnes-Jewish
I said to the psych nurse, “So it's true.
The government is watching me.”
“But not in the sense you're suspecting,”
she responded.

But seriously, folks, let's not get
bogged down in the mire of semantics.
Some weird shit is going down
and I'm here to witness it.

My Discernment

My repeated trips
to the Underworld or the Wilderness
or whatever you want to call it
have in some manner left me
weakened. I'm not going to quit
doing what I'm doing but
it would be nice
to say I've learned what I needed to learn.

A huge breakthrough came
when I got up to leave my room
and somehow the door was already opened
and when I got to the elevator
it opened before I even pressed the button
and no one was on it
and my immediate thought 
was not that this was from the devil
but that it was a great
gift and wonderful sign 
from God.

What's to Love

I walk a little quieter when
little Enoch is around.
I have said that he is holy.
I know that you, dear reader,
would probably think
that he's clearly suffering
from some unknown

I can't tell you what we do here all day
but there is a structure to it.
There's a rhythm. You can call me the drummer.

Today I discovered a secret method
for rising out of hell. But don't tell anyone!
It's five hundred milligrams of Clozaril.
I think though I'm not sure that I'm the only one in the know.
Walking in the rain's different from looking out the window.

I arrive later at Tower Grove Park
with my notes
and continue to put down the penetrating paranoid vibe
and so, I can take part
in the psychotic discourse but
what's much more interesting to me
is figuring out those tulips and what's to love.

Loud Bell

Parkview Place has finally grown into my home
after only fourteen years
and I love my beatnik room
and last night on the patio I actually
was thinking
“eyeball” and “eyeball”
because I was noticing the beautiful lights
and the beautiful 70's architecture
and I felt some god was preparing me to roar

and I've slowly come to understand the presence of evil.
I've been so sick
and I just thought that everyone or everything
was sick as well.
I feel like I'm going to a wedding.
Somebody's about to give birth!
There's a beautiful spirit all about us
which is taking its shape in the brain.
Send this stuff to the true psychiatrist!

And speaking of trysts I'm wondering just where
Dr Valentine is now? You get so down 
and defeated and afraid
but you keep on fighting and after fourteen years or so
you enter 
into a positive transactional analysis 
and what freaked you out about everybody 

So don't dwell on that guy running rampant
throughout Manhattan so angry and unconscious 
and just at the beginning of picking up on language
because you know that loud bell eventually came to the fore.

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Matthew Freeman

A Fevers of the Mind Quick-9 Interview with Matthew Freeman

with Matthew Freeman:

Q1: When did you start writing and first influences?

Matthew: Oh, I was such a late bloomer! When I was about seventeen all kind of things happened at once, a friend telling me I should write down my wild manic stories, a young woman I loved who was always talking about Jim Morrison, and then my football coach introducing me to Dylan Thomas. But in a real serious class that started me off and had the most influence on me, I guess, we read the High Romantics and they’ve stayed with me quite a long time.

Q2: What are your biggest influences today?

Matthew: It’s really interesting and fun, ever since I’ve been involved with social media I’ve been introduced to poets from all around the world. I’ve heard new young poets from Africa and India and Ireland and England and they’ve all inspired me to keep going. I guess in a technical way, though, I’ve labored under the heavy influence of Gerald Stern. To me he’s like a post-Beat writer and I like that. Because, like almost everybody, I had my Beat phase too.

Q3: Was there a pivotal moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Matthew: Well! I had that friend who loved Jim Morrison so deeply…but all I’d heard from the Doors was L.A. Woman and I didn’t like it all that much. One day I was skipping school and having a few beers and thought I’d go up and see a movie. What was playing? That Oliver Stone movie about the Doors. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I walked out of that movie a poet. I guess there had been lingering inside me for many years a love of language and that movie somehow triggered it.

Q4: Who has helped you most with writing?

Matthew: My sister has helped me more than anyone– and she’s a poet too. We talk and talk about craft and influence and the state of poetry in our country and abroad. We have big disagreements on revision– it’s true still that I don’t revise too much. But we encourage each other and that means a lot.

Q5: Where did you grow up and how did that influence your writing? Have any travels away from home influence your work?

Matthew: n/a

Q6: What do you consider to be your most meaningful work you’ve done creatively so far to you?

Matthew: I think one of the best things I have done is called “Columbia Crown” and was published by The Blood Pudding. It’s a series of sonnets about a time when I was really trying to finish school– I’d had lots of problems—and started developing schizophrenia. Gone is any snarky or ironic attitude and each one is just one sentence. I think those are some of my most elevated poems.

Q7: Favorite activities to relax?

Matthew: I will tell you what I do– I have coffee every morning with some friends at Starbucks and read poetry and philosophy and theory in between our pleasant conversations. And I find that this too is a part of my process. And I have written lots about how I go behind my building with an iPod and a soda and have a cigarette!

Q8: What is a favorite line/stanza from a poem/writing of yours or others?

Matthew: I think I like lines of mine like, “To be this cute you must be destitute…” or, “I’m half a man without my Ativan…” I probably only remember them because they rhyme. I did steal a line of perfect iambic pentameter from Smokey Robinson and use it in a villanele: “A taste of honey’s worse than none at all…”

Q9: Any recent or forthcoming projects that you’d like to promote?

Matthew: Look out for I Think I’d Rather Roar, which I’m hoping someone will pick up soon!

Wolfpack Contributor: Matthew Freeman

2 new poems from Matthew Freeman

Ideas of Reference at Jesuit Hall, by Matthew Freeman – Coffeetown Press

Exile: Poems by Matthew Freeman (2river.org)