Matt M – Scratch

25 Jan

January in London



Artemis born in the springtime woods with no form

and breathes the smiling summer birdsong,

smells his mother’s underside and drinks the golden sky

but in the wild no sky keeps cradle for long.

Mother gone.

Artemis licked and pummelled by rapids through Autumn

and watch fish flash past and taunt til winter,


Artemis useless

Quickly sick and soaks through afternoons on stale cliffs and silent

Artemis know armed time will come to cut his fury up

sleeps uneasy and fearful, feels his stomach wriggle

wakes twice to taste December frost

and learns that fruits don’t run but hide,

that he need not run or hide anymore.


Artemis wake in spring and plunges into honey sting with new and sharpened teeth

beats the sunset from the sky

beats the sunrise from the forest floor

scream escape and build a mask of thorns.


Artemis need release and thinks –

he’s got a plan.


Time know it takes the claws of growing bears to change the time and

wanting change, time winks.


Artemis stand on cliffs and fills his lungs with fire

leave the forest and burn every squealing tree at his back

Artemis walk for miles and miles

and sees the city awake and feasting through the summer

sees the city awake and feasting through the winter

sees the stable mass of forage blindly dwindle and thinks –


he’s got a plan –


Time know it takes the claws of great bears to change time

and, conspiratorially, winks.


Artemis sees the jaw grind need of need and plans to knead the putty people

Artemis preparing and everything has a beginning

Artemis make friends in small prohibited cafes through summer

slumber through autumn in the back of a beat-up Ford

Artemis waiting

for window frost and sticky doors and deadened eyelids leaves


Artemis learn that coward time takes basket muscle bribes

and takes the time to learn to fish and surge through summer

Artemis kill and kill and kill til winter

then softens claws with tailored silk

and rolls through city streets suited in the very best January

owns every pavement by March

owns every betting squalor and bank

knows his own peculiar justice

writes it learns it burns it




City feels the weight of laughing time and cowers slack

Artemis learned the ways of the wood before he showed his greying back


Artemis in all offices by May and stands on hind legs for honey

Artemis sits now and look you u, and up, and down


You beehive, shake and fluster around your semi-solid soul

You asking favours of a woodland veteran hide hands in genitals and wait

You watch eyebrow cock and not the black threat jewels beneath

You need this

You know the city has no time for hibernation and that you cannot sleep

You know your children cannot sleep

You know your mind stomach kneecap thigh and heart can never sleep

You know the thought of trees and burn it

You know your panic fury will never pour but seep and so does he.


Artemis purse lips tight loosen wallet and throw you fruit

smells your sweat and orders papers on his desk

Orders papers to his desk

Orders coffee to his desk

Orders pornography to his desk

Artemis grown fat and rheumatic and more than time through summer

takes no fool for pity’s sake and wears pain three inches in front of his face

breaks gaze and nods, releases you for now


You rabbit boy, you bowing badger stagger back and bear him wide girth

You scurry to guttered peeling door of family and smile like October sunset

You scatter fruit across the table

You clutch your sorry elbows to your neck and bring your knees above your chin

You eat and eat and eat til screaming January




Artemis owns the pavements

Artemis owns the betting squalor and every obstinate argument

Artemis sleep when he sleep

Artemis knows every transgression and how to make the trams stop

Artemis knows explosions

Artemis ate the word for fear and fed it to the homeless

Artemis ate the homeless and fed it to the army

Artemis ate the army and fed it to his children

Artemis ate his children and fed it to the papers

Artemis eats and eats and eats and shits parasites into the water

Artemis fast

Artemis big

Artemis been awake for centuries, dreaming a dying dream

of winter hibernation beneath the forest leaves.




One Response to “Matt M – Scratch”

  1. mouthypoets February 7, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi Matt,

    This is some unusually brief feedback from me because it feels like your doing something that I am not 100% I understand the overarching purpose of and as much as I could talk about verbs and stanzas and redundancies I feel like that’s a little irrelevant if it’s contrasting your aims and objectives for the piece personally and in relation to your audience.

    So I have just given you two points, one telling you the main different in experience for me seeing this on the page and the other asking you to explore the purpose of this piece further.

    -I only just clocked the title of this poem – it really changes the whole context of the poem and you could really play with this context in performance – have you thought about how you are going to play with this? I feel like this could really push no boat out for you. Also, I think you need to find a way to really highlight that title, because it really help me ‘get’ what you were trying to do with the piece maybe a projection of the title or January in London?

    So what?
    -I am sure you have been asked this question at Uni, it’s one of the key things we have to ask ourselves as a writer… Why share this? What are the audience getting out of it? Yes it’s fun, funny and sounds nice but I am not sure of what the wider more overarching goal of this poem is and that is so important, especially as it’s so long. Do you know? If not I think you need to do some freewriting around that and also ask other people who have read the piece what it meant to them? I think the decision around this could help you cut this down a little, as it’s pretty epic at the moment.

    Speak soon,

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