Two Poems by Matthew J. Hall

Bluer Shade of Green

Being prepubescent, we had no need for nervousness
We rolled freely on the bed
She had green eyes and smelt like clean clothes

I kissed her long, blonde hair and soft lips
I kissed her face repeatedly
Her mouth touched my neck
Her fingertips skimmed the tops of my ears

She was so beautiful
And I think of her often
And I often think of the last time I saw her
Sitting at the far side of her mother’s oak table

She didn’t seem to remember
Her eyes seemed a bluer shade of green

In spite of everything suggesting otherwise
I touched her oak hidden foot with mine
She flinched, obviously perplexed

I pulled back as discretely as I had reached out
And we sat silently while our mothers talked


Smile Thief

I used to like watching Saturday cartoons
my feet dangling and bumping the sofa
the horrors of school, distant and far removed

then one such Saturday I broke my gaze
and searched the room for the voice I’d heard, demanding

and there was nobody
and the piano we all used to play sat idle
and the doorway held an empty space
and the emptiness was sickly and quiet

so who the hell had told me I had no right to smile?
I wiped that silly bastard from my face
and hid it under the cushions
deep inside the furniture on which I sat

years later I went back
grimly determined
hell-bent on finding it

I cut that cunt of a sofa
and tore out its fluff and flesh

but the cartoons didn’t quite cut it
and the piano was well and truly out of tune
and the sadness bowed the door frame
and the taunting teachers
and the grief of it all
and the empty echoes of childish prayers
and the years of binging
and the fucking painkillers
and the heroin
and the booze
all looked back at me and laughed

I remember my last day of school
and a buddy kept talking about
how we would remember each other for ever
And I told him
I just want to forget

he seemed hurt
and he told me to fuck off

doubled over in that sofa
searching for my smile and that demanding voice and my youth
I saw my friend and heard his rebuke
but my smile was nowhere to be seen

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