Today we have two previously published poems by Mat Riches for your readerly delectation. Mat works by day as a researcher for ITV but by night he is very active as a poet, having been widely published in journals and e-zines. He has a pamphlet in the pipeline with Red Squirrel Press, but we need to be patient as it’s not due until 2023. Mat’s witty poetry blog / site is well worth a look, the title of which – Wear the Fox Hat – reminds me of an old pub quiz team by the name of ‘Norfolk and Chance’.
‘Unlimited Texts’ appeared in South 57 and an early draft of ‘Obromanine’ in Visual Verse.
So what does your scrawl
even look like these days?
No more chits or kites dropped.
No more post-its hidden in lunchboxes,
or notes on flyleaves.
No more doodles by telephones.
We’re pointing fingers and thumbs
here and there,
as we jab and send,
send and jab…
Don’t be late,
and buy milk…
I want this written down.
I’d nailed down the butterfly early on.
My elephant in a room rendered dumb
those that saw it as close second to none,
but behind the veil my head no longer
saw things in pure black and white. I reached out
to colours in slicks of oil on water.
There wasn’t time to hold torches. I kept
my flames and myself under a bushel;
contact wasn’t a tender I dared spend.
I hold my hands wholly responsible
for pinning me back to the solid world
when I craved touching the intangible.
It can’t be said I didn’t ever try,
though I’m thoroughly confused about how
my reception was worse than for Trewey,
Art Brachetti and Sabyasachi Sen,
or Stromberg, Mallick and David Devant.
I followed in their light and even then
my Sputnik left something to be desired.
I shook a hashed fist at the worst received
of all the shadow puppets I’ve performed
and rushed off stage, as my act quietly died,
to snuff the flames of acetylene lamps.
It was time to let colour flood back in.
I want to live with hands by my side.