Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review: 'The Human Condition Is A Terminal Illness' by Matthew J. Hall

British poet Matthew J. Hall writes poetry and short fiction. His works have been published in magazines, anthologies, and online. His poetry chapbook, ‘Pigeons and Peace Doves’ was published in 2015 by Blood Pudding Press. He currently resides in Bristol, England.

Matthew has that extraordinary gift to first paint the images of loss, disappointment, disillusion, and fragmentation of dreams and then reassemble the pieces so that we may better understand our own foibles and weaknesses. His poems may be about anguish but they are also a microscopic and macroscopic salvage of concepts that others would see merely as loss – and walk on. Matthew pauses long enough with each of these poems to allow us entry and embrace our similar experiences – and the best way to share that is by quoting a few of his poems.

even my daydreams are damned

took a piece of pink chalk
and sketched us on a paving slab
we were dancing under the moon
it was so bloody poetic
but then out of nowhere
you told me you were seeing someone else
I hope it rains soon
and washes us both away


I drew you a pencil picture
on the backside of a bus ticket
you were nestling into the underside of my left arm
we were old, had grown old together
the shading was shaky, but you would have seen
that we were sitting on our bench
at the foot-end of our tree
swift birds were overhead
a winding path and thick grass at our feet
my legs were crossed
I think it would have made you smile
but as I got off the bus
I tossed it in the used ticket box
because love is too dangerous
and I am a coward


all she wanted was to be pretty
in a blue sky kind of way
she wore a dress of white
lace panties and expensive shoes
she posted her picture
on every wall she could find
until everybody knew her name
she never woke alone
and when she didn’t feel pretty
she forced it
with painkillers and cocktails
she painted hazel eyes
on her eyelids and winked
and she was so very pretty
and so very sad

Here is a poet of heart and disillusion and perception that once his poems are digested, it is difficult to let them out of our psyche. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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