How Things Were

Family called us difficult children. School and the neighbors called us worse.
“Your Mothers nerves can’t take it “ Dad would angrily yell. Late at night, I would squirt lighter fluid on our boots, my sister would strike the match, and we would run screaming through the house. Stunts like these just made our folks nuts.

by – Doug Mathewson

Fox Tale

Japanese medieval literature has a reoccurring theme of foxes who turn themselves into women to to trick and deceive the unwary. Corrupt magistrates are embarrassed, dishonest merchants are exposed, and unfaithful lovers revealed. In one story an imaginative woman said “I just can’t believe you thought it was me!”
“It was so obviously a magical fox taking my place who did and said all these things.” ” You must be quite foolish, to be so easily deceived”
If we could speak the language of foxes, what might they have to say on the subject.

by – Doug Mathewson

Hat Death

The world was in attendance
We watched on
Black and white TVs
1961’s bright January day held promise
Bare headed John Kennedy
Addressed the nation
On Inauguration Day
A breeze went through his Hyannis Irish hair
He offered us a boarding pass
To a nation united in hope
Behind him stood in somber rows
Dignitaries great and small
In formal top hats
Photo-shopped in, perhaps
From Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg
Images more fitting to a faded past
They were the dinosaurs
Suddenly irrelevant
Reduced to token roles
Why were they there?
Wasting our countries time
In their foolish old man hats
To the savvy and astute
The transformation was instantaneous
No time for hats
So much to do
Men in motion
Taking charge
Or keep your hat
Sit on the porch
In a rocking chair
Your teeth now in a water glass
Just forget to shave
And wear your hat
Offer your sage council
To a now diminished audience
Consisting solely
Of one sleepy
Hound dog

                          by – Doug Mathewson


When she wore the sweater that I gave her
The one she hated so
I knew she wished to please me
Suspicious as to why she did
What could she be up to this time
So with concentrated vision
I looked until there it was
Saran Wrap protruding from her collar
To keep another tattoo I would hate
From itching beneath the scratchy wool

                   by – Doug Mathewson


Doing Pet Psychic Radio is ok.  It’s easy to do.  “On security tapes, Chelmsford looks so sad.”  “Tomato peed down the a/c vent again!”  Easy, till Veeranjane.
You’re no house cat!  With a head full of star charts, and your augmented military biotech body!
“To explain”, he purred, “would certainly exceed your 55 words”.

by – Doug Mathewson

Frosty Ride

The intense young composer told us “my work is based on Milton’s Paradise Lost.”
“This electronic landscape depicts Satan’s escape from hell.”  He played his synthesizer.  I closed my eyes to imagine the lush, flowing verse.
It sounded like a circus parade calliope.  Who knew Satan escaped from hell hidden in a Good Humor truck?

by – Doug Mathewson

Fiction Class

“Write what you know”, she said.
City  still refuses to honor native son.
Local author does not get huge advance. Again.
Twenty-two quarters will do laundry, but not if you buy cat food first.
Returnable can and bottles are not recognized by lending institutions as an “income source”.
My head hurts, I know too much.

by – Doug Mathewson

At Your Finger Tips

I know a good idea when I see one. Or in this case an idea whose time had come for a second time. The Smithsonian shows in its costume collection Victorian gloves. Women’s kid-skin gloves with a map of London circa 1885 discretely worked into the leather. They were to be purchased in custom fitted sets. Each pair with map of a different European capital. Quite a travel convenience for the well-to-do when on holiday.

Later I saw another version. These were men’s gloves for the business traveler showing Montreal. The streets of the city above on the right hand, the underground city below on the left. They were labeled in French, but English versions could be ordered, if you had the audacity to ask.
Where would I find a home in today’s cellphone-pda-gps-text messaging world for this lovely old concept? Disaster personnel were interested, but did not have the lead time to make them practical. Manufacturers of snowboarding and skiing wear crowded so much advertising on the gloves, that the trail maps were lost. Motorcyclists were to face the challenge of reading a map that wound around chrome skulls and past eagle logos while their hands vibrated on the handlebars. Bicyclists wanted electronic displays, but not the added weight.

Finally the answer I should have seen from the first emerged. Disney. A perfect match. On sale now, at all Disney theme parks: Three fingered Mouse gloves with blinking LEDs indicating restroom and ATM locations. One aspect remains the same. At Euro-Disney they raise an eyebrow and pretend not to understand if you ask how to set your pair to display in anything but French.

by – Doug Mathewson

Assassins Guild

Dad said I could help at work on Valentines Day. I just turned twelve and was so excited and proud. New Years and Valentines were always busy, but girls were so much better at “following through for Cupid.” I screwed the silence on my Hello Kitty nine millimeter and smiled. Today would be so special.

by Doug Mathewson

Perceptions of Receptions

Often news stories describing art gallery openings or artists receptions are about the venue and the attendees. Who wore what, who was escorted by whom, the band, the cheese and crackers, the gallery owners, but rarely it seems about the artists or their work. Most sound like “red carpet” interviews. The author never seems to actually go inside. Look at what passes for entertainment news. Which film grossed highest over the weekend. That is business news. Read the Los Angles Times for a closer look at the production and promotion side of movie industry.
Reading artistic mission statements is always fun. They make great poems. Make one up and read it aloud. But surely there is a journalistic balance that would be interesting and informative. Personally to see the art and the artist together helps me to understand them both so much better.
At a recent i-park Open Studio program I met two exceptional artists. Art and the whole creative process continues to fascinate me.
Claudia Borgna is an international art gypsy (gypsy in the romantic American sense, not the sometimes derogatory European sense) who travels the world making art with her recycled plastic bags. This is far more exciting than it sounds. The impact her outdoor installations is really impressive. She keeps expanding farther and farther on natural themes with unnatural (man made) materials creating hyper-natural environments.
Dhanur Goyal is a relaxed soft spoken man until the topic becomes art. Both he and his pen and ink drawings are as fierce as the bengal tigers of his homeland. Work from his show “Lost in a Lost World” is incredible. To me there are elements of Sgt. Peppers and Salvador Dali in Dhanur’s powerful images. He depicts human nature so strongly. He showed an image of two people sharing a single face. He explained that two people become one person when they argue. The more I stare at his work, the more intrigued I become.

by – Doug Mathewson