Friday, May 11, 2018

Addressing you in my dream

You came to me in a dream last night,
chiding my absence and perceived disconnection,
at least the version of it dwelling in the back of my mind.
The authority on all things,
all expressions and their validity toward full realization shown in stark terms,
defined in a quantifiable way.

Someone told me how proud you must have been before your passing,
or how proud you would have been had you lived,
in some perceived validation to which I aspired.
And at that time, I guess it meant something to hear it said,
whether from you or from someone else,
although almost a decade later it’s just a hollow form
shaping its way across distance traveled to develop its context.

Attaining that passing validation but never being heard.
Life on multiple fronts where some outweigh the others,
equalization envelopes the days and it takes distance to free them.
Yet distance challenges and distorts, making time an adversary.
While death fosters its longing regret,
I pine to be seen as your peer, your sibling.

In the same way the tumor stages across to our preceding generation,
it chokes and channels its path, eliminating aura.
Only the requisite states of grace are important.
Can you trouble the dying with your sickness and regret?
Where the courage of resolving meets its volatile indulgence,
discretion keeps them with me in its distance and its absence.

Matt Mauldin
Santa Barbara


I remember calling you the first time,
asking if you played guitar
Chad gave me your number,
told me you were getting your feet wet,
but a lead was a lead, and you were immersed
You played guitar wild in jagged dissonant chords
to angular bass and pounding drums,
adding tension and urgency to the words

Kindred spirits in different worlds,
old friends from the beginning
You shared defining moments with me
and shed illuminations upon them
Through the cruelty of close quarters
among young dudes in a van
Through shifting ground, we walked then
It was more than I deserved

When you left, I wandered in my own direction
I wondered if I’d see you around again,
whether here or somewhere else,
the planets in orbit
The crazy accident you overcame,
shouldering its weight while moving on
in your steady grace and kindness
Sifting through its resolution,
in finer strands of being

New worlds you brought me into,
connected and maintained through places,
and the bitter mileage and context
often tearing them apart
Compressed, on rocks in the mountains outside Missoula,
where an eagle perched and watched
us contemplate its stillness
in the brisk sun at the edge of March

Gravitational pulls defy the static between poles
They clarify through the noise,
melting the time away,
warmly resolving its distance
Warming moments, distilled in places we intersect
Atlanta, San Juan, Hudson Valley, Manhattan
Anywhere else you can dream of,
a place to call home for the day

Redeeming a world seeming irreparable,
casting out cynicism, deeming it worthy
of your life and time and days
Breathing light into its future,
brightening the mornings we’re facing,
shaking it off with optimism
that I’ve tried to carry with me
until the next time I see or talk to you

Gathering in your wisdom,
from my knees in armed extension
To hold illuminations to your journey
and the sudden cruelty now cast upon your life
If I can give that redemption back to you,
given endlessly so many years across its distance,
I’ll close the pain off cold
and bring it home with me

Matt Mauldin
Santa Barbara 
MM 4/2018

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Eerie Morning Sun, Here

God what a balancing act
the news ringing out in siren call
cutting through static air

it’s too much to compete
with whatever else is going on
fulfillment before the desecration
the ground we walk

you and I we’re stuck
in a place where novel concepts
are worn like thinning
tread on the bottom of our shoes

every morning the sun
casts an eerie glow in shadows
glossing over
all sense of urgency and sedation

no one gets what they want
here – everywhere else the world
dies off around us eroding
it’s banks and rotting

where the water cuts
a line in sediment’s stain
drifting across the periphery
wafting across our vision

the road to hell
unraveling increments
paved with feigned nobility
soiling its wear in cracks of the soul

intentions creep in
and wear resignation eating
from the inside savoring
flesh of the host

Matt Mauldin
Santa Barbara, CA

Originally appearing in Another Way Round

Payday Loan (Tom's Book)

Robert Greene, the First Bohemian - public domain

This earth is running out of water
I offer a twenty, but you’ll take fifty
in advance of forgotten payoff

solace is a four-letter word
we’re taking it to the bank
breaking it off into crumbling little bits
rumbling pieces
spreading it around

rewritten morals of the story
rising angst filtered through shame
lust manifested seedlings
pushing bulbs
sprawling roots

down drying along these racks
concentrating efforts withering
across time and in the sun

Matt Mauldin
Santa Barbara, CA

Originally appearing in Another Way Round

Friday, February 9, 2018

Patterns of Reconciliation - now available

Now Available:
Direct with free shipping
Also available through:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tendons Holding Steady

public domain image

Provocation, always a dicey proposition,
sometimes best laid despite its wake
Torn pages, thou which dost protest,
lay in remains 
filling in the time lost

Along tides sweeping incoherently,
they don't drown 
as much as they encompass the uncertainty 
of a given moment's meaning –
places and names transplanted

The skin on your feet lurching forward,
tendons holding steady,
eyes wincing 
uncertain glances

Lifting the veil, materializing
forward into the grazing downhill slope,
illuminating its view 
in distant vantage

The circuitry of this moment, 
buildings of a city distant,
carve a blight against horizons

Rock formation, 
endless forest, 
foothills cast in blue vivid skies,
slightly tainted by a haze 
of emission, sharply sped –
passing by, 

in detriment of motion, 
in monument of observation
Chaos roundly rumbling in silence 
from a distance

Making clear the scope 
of what is here, charting 
position of its calling

Shaping spinning clay, unrealized 
in the dignity of what it holds
Its shape, the way it feels 
on wistful hands
The melding of earth, of color, 
and aesthetic

Moments in its making, fleeting 
faith in the bounty 
of its creation, spinning 
out of control in resignation
of unworthiness of the craftsman 
It might slip away 
in dark and damp surroundings

But it moves, 
time's effortless motion
Waters circulate quietly, pulsing
around stones and limbs,
pushed from upstream

Materials, collection, moving life
headlong in quiet disarray, 
chaotic order

Downshifting tension's disturbance
into radiance of color,
warmth of ambient light,
slipping through reminders 
like clockwork

Matt Mauldin
Santa Barbara, CA