Two Poems by Matthew James Friday

Fishing for Poems

I was asked, what is poetry like?

I thought, it’s like fishing.

You set up your intentions
on the bank of the page
and cast off into the current

of images and ideas.
then wait
                for inspiration
to nibble your bait, sink
the float and the poem bites.

Now the struggle begins:

wrestling with imagery,
trying to land the language
on the bank of verses.

Out of the water plops
the first draft. Disappointingly
underdeveloped.

Poets never exaggerate the catch.
A poem is always ‘this’ big,
often smaller, a tiddler

in the powerful play,
but still something to contribute
to Whitman’s waters.


Always Hoping To Write a Great Poem

Often the keyboard is sterile. I stare
out of the window and watch the trees.

Maybe something no one has ever said about trees.

Forget the clouds, too obvious.
The blue sky, yawn.

Birds bouncing around, little Buddha’s
not having to worry about creation.

I hear the song of a hundred ghostly ideas
ganging up behind me, giggling.

I sense the almost complete emptiness
inside every atom. Ideas like electronics
zip around, all potential, waves of hope.

I feel the bonding of a basic shape.

But as I write, it wriggles and flitters
out of my mind. I grab, but it is gone.

Just the scent and shadow,
a fear I will never know the elements
to turn leaden words into gold.




Matthew James Friday is a British-born writer and teacher. He has been published in numerous international journals, including The Dillydoun Review, Lunch Ticket, The Oregon English Journal and Shot Glass Journal. The micro-chapbooks All the Ways to Love, The Residents, Waters of Oregon and The Words Unsaid were published by the Origami Poems Project (USA).  Matthew is a 2021 Pushcart Prize nominated poet.