Our poet and poem del dia needs little preamble from me. Matthew Stewart lives between Extremadura in Spain and West Sussex and he works in the Spanish wine trade. He is also a very fine poet and an assiduous blogger, his site Rogue Strands is a go-to resource for poets and poetry-lovers. This poem sequence comes from Matthew’s first full collection, the widely-praised The Knives of Villalejo (Eyewear, 2017), and it expertly showcases Matthew’s blend of lyrical and emotional intensity twinned with his minimalist style.
At the dump
Small electrical, mate? A grin,
and he reaches for the shaver,
hurls it high into the skip.
Back at the car, you’re lingering.
My knuckles crampon round the wheel,
coated in dusty stubble.
Thoughts are unloading when the pen conks out,
but a dark rummage locates your pencil
perfectly wigwammed by a Stanley knife,
and words have scampered across the paper,
racing against the tip before it blunts
and a sharpener peels your work away.
My address book reproaches me daily.
I used to leaf it, stroking squares of ink
where exes had been. The dead were crossed out
and their kids or spouses placed alongside.
Not anymore. Your malingering name
vanished today at the touch of a screen.