Tuesday, March 13, 2012


You cannot say it without meaning
something particular and peculiar.

It’s a lonely syllable, forgotten
in a child’s mouth, out of tune
with the cavernous song of you.

It overshadows. It is
a tree among stumps—
its top branches,
its sturdy roots,
stretching outwards,
away from itself.

It dresses in an emperor’s clothes,
likes to be  dominant and predominant 
upon the tongues of everyone. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blue in Detroit

Blue is patches of sky, hovering over
Detroit at the cusp of fall, hung by God
for a people hungry for wider living
and open spaces, not this crumbling
concrete and burnt out houses across the street
from the elementary school playground.

That blue will become a polluted orange-pink,
a strange beauty that’ll make your eyes water
and fill you with longing for familiarity,
not this city of strangers who never loved me.

I’m not seeking pity.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Victoria Hernandez Dances

They say I never dance
at school assemblies—all the boys
wearing pressed and tucked shirts
and the girls, their hair pinned back
with clips and bows. But they don’t know

I dance with her in unlit spaces.
Under the bleachers in the corner,
she takes my hand and twirls me around,
embraces my waist with her thin, dark arms,
and silently dips me backwards.

Her body becomes a comma, and my heart,
sound flooding my ears, pauses when
she pulls my body so close to hers,
then steps away, and I breathe
the Salsa beats again, watch her hips sway,
a primal music pulsing in my veins.

She burns deep,
deeper in my belly. 
And no one knows
how our love is beats 
and melodies and doesn’t need 
to speak or be seen.

You never dance, they say. But I do.
I dance and dance and dance.

© Ami Mattison

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I want a poem

Wordle: poem

I wanna poem to tell me
it’ll be okay.

I want a poem to say
all the stray words
stuck in my throat.

I want to toke on it, roll
the bits into thin paper, light
the end, and inhale long.

Yeah, I want a strong antidote
of meter and rhyme, telling me
this time hopelessness is just
a long word for lost faith.

So gimme a poem.

Show me how the grey expanse
gives way to cerulean.

Give me words I can chew,
metaphors I can swallow,
images I can drink.

Cover me with a blanket
crocheted with rhyme.

I need the measure of poetry,
to rid me of this stilted, prose life.

I’m holding a blade to my neck,
and that’s not a metaphor.

So please, gimme a poem.

©Ami Mattison

Saturday, April 30, 2011



Some nights when I’m half-asleep,
I hear Mama’s voice say my name.

Other times, it’s Daddy, calling out.

I awake, half-expecting to find  
myself again in the back yard, hiding
behind the overgrown honeysuckle
intertwined and clinging to chain-link.

Mama holds open the kitchen door.
Or Daddy unlatches the fence gate.

And I, a half-wild child, emerge,
long dark hair tangled with burrs,
palms and knees stained red with clay.