Despite the fact that it was Christmas Eve

And I was traveling alone
To an unfamiliar part of the city
Reading Paths To God By Ram Dass
In a seat by the door

Despite the fact that you
Left one in the car with me
Who I then grilled for info
About how to locate you
To track you down
And make you pay
For what you did to me

Despite the fact that nothing
Was taken but my
Sense of security
And faith in humanity
As my broken glasses
Hit the subway floor
After you struck me in the face
And scurried out the door
Laughing with your friends
Onto the platform

Despite the fact that
The terror in his eyes
While I threatened him
Inspired me to let him go
With no recourse

Despite the fact that I am reminded of
Another teenage boy many years ago
Screaming out the window of a
Moving vehicle startling strangers
Just to make a girl laugh

Despite the fact that after
Eighteen years in the city
I shamed myself for not being
More aware of signs to move
To another part of the train car
Or a seat away from the door

Despite the immeasurable guilt
And the lumps of victimhood
That have and will be felt from
These small cruel acts


I forgive both of you

Show Poem / Dec. 10, 2021, KC, MO (The Brick): Please be aware

The old man you shake your stick at
May be on fire

The pain shooting through his knees
Seeps into your babies bottle

A mother’s breast he had to fight for
Sleeps beneath the ground
Preserved like a future science experiment

There is nothing in the world
That cannot be beautiful and sad

The rush of picking a side
Overshadows the main dish

Who loosened the lids on all the salt shakers
Who left the refrigerator door open
Who’s footprints are in the butter

Could there be such a thing
As a mindful meat cutter

Could we eventually see
With the eyes we are born with

I see many worlds dancing and
Many worlds asleep
Many worlds dreaming
Dreaming of wakefulness
Dreaming of sleep

Show Poem/ Dec. 3, 2021, Lawrence, KS (Replay Lounge): Today I write the poem down

But that doesn’t make it more or less
Than the poetry of any other moment

When I see a silent leaf drifting through
An unseasonably warm December sky
It is no different than a mob of young sexpots
Tearing up a dance floor on a Friday night

Regret is a shortcut for the rich path of mystery

Its sugar has us dipping our tails
Into bottomless wells chasing
Our own stories over page after page scrolling. Ahead in a book that has yet to be written

Engage your ass as rudder not the carrot or the stick
Invite the ghost of radical uncertainty
Into your bungalow of shifting sand

Hitch a ride on the wave of destruction
Rejoice in the salty tears
Of unqualified compassion

What can I do

Close to me

Pick up the trash
Count all the little floaty things
I see coffee dripping
Parents dropping kids off
The race is on
So much poetry around coffee
So much trash not picked up
For weeks it blows
Sometimes longer
Set free from car windows
Escaped from cans
Stuck in fences
Bleaching in the sun
Might make it into a bird’s nest
Or lawn mower blade
A passerby’s thoughts
Eventually someone takes care

Fri. Dec. 20 @ Revolution Records (KC, MO) Release Party and open mic for Dad on 8th St. Publishing

8th Street Publishing Guild is proud to announce the release of Matt Roth’s new chapbook entitled “Dad”. Join us for an evening of poetry, music, drinks and more! An open mic will follow our featured readers. Be sure to pick up your very own copy of Dad at the reading!

8th Street Publishing Guild is Revolution Records’ in-house publisher of surreal & avant-garde poetics. To learn more, read what we’ve published, or find out how to submit, find us online or come meet us in person at the readings.

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Operating at a safe distance –07 /26/19 @ Crow’s Coffee (KC, MO) #poetry

Addicted to three-thirty​
Allowing for the clouds to pass
Documentary jungle dreams
Operating at a safe distance

When I was a child once
I let a dog bite me in the eye twice
The first time I wanted to play
The second time I was apologizing

Time to let go of all the stuffed animals
To break the seal
To pet the penguins
Take a coffee with danger

Zero-calorie sweetener
Balanced for everyday use
Earthly grains ready to eat
All-day pain relief
What was I apologizing for?

My species, my infinite wisdom
In every relationship since
I’ve never forgotten you Pretzel

Addicted to running 

To hearing every voice
The ringing is a ghost
Of love

Telephones that took our time

We used to attach ourselves
To common things
Smuggling in new light

Arrowsmith Trans Am REM

Now we distort the stolen titles
Fighting the grinder of spellcheck
The cold hard algorithms
Softening us up with baby talk

Google Twitter YouTube Paypal

We spent weeks in the woods
With a single token collect call
Spoke of my latest badges of merit
Or how many bug bites I had sustained

Even then I had very little desire to talk

Luckily there is no deadline for love
No such thing as too much love
Flowers are telephones
They like to be admired
They love to be loved

And they love you

Girl in a wheelchair at the airport

Thank you for sharing with me
Your beautiful ballet in outer space

I fell in love with you at first sight
For a moment I thought you were a boy
It felt like it happened
Almost without thinking
Why did I do that
The shoes gave it away
Why do we need that
They were pink

From above clouds can look like
Skin under a microscope
The surface of another planet
Or the old standby cotton balls
The fabric of our lives

If I’m honest it was the hair that
First got my attention
The way it hung in your eyes
Like saying look at me
I can’t see you

Okay maybe it was the wheelchair too
I don’t know which came first
In this chicken or egg world
But I just wanted to thank
Thank you for the dance