I Must Let You Go

Sometimes I must let you go

so you can come back again.

Time spent apart is time spent

sorting through the good times

and keeping bad times in perspective.

Silent days, quiet nights filled with

fervent solitude, no voices to fill the void.

You have a life to live

on another street, on another schedule,

in a different frame of mind.

Minutes and hours tick by

with no calls, no texts, no messages

of any kind. Seems like the drift

that started long ago has

definitely stepped up its game.

Out of the blue you appear

on my screen, ready to begin

the friendship we had in the past.

I approach with caution, mindful of

what caused this pause in our connection.

Words escape me at first,

thought stumbling over one another

in a race to see what will emerge

from the caverns and crevices

brimming with memories. The wheels turn

but nothing moves me forward.

My fingers finally touch the keyboard,

ready to respond to your inquiries.

Yet I am tentative, hesitant to speak.

Sometimes I must let you go

so you can come back again.

Brett Mattison

A Gentle Spirit

A troubled young man emerged

from the ruins, lost, frightened,

needing direction and guidance.

A gentle spirit arrived with

a hand on his shoulder and

reassurance in her voice:

You can do it…I believe in you.

Stars twinkled, sprinkling the evening sky

with love looking down on

the gathering at the wall.

A cool breeze brought calm to

the conversation, words carried with compassion

through the night to a soul

touched deeply by a gentle spirit.

Snowflakes flying in the air,

sounds of the season drifting

throughout a house decorated with

handcrafted devotion and dedication to

brightening the lives of others.

A gentle spirit smiled upon the scene,

surrounding all with her light.

The sun spread its warmth

on a special day, the joy of dreams

coming true bringing everyone together.

Hearts were joined as one with

a gentle spirit witnessing the world

stopping for matrimony meant to be,

a union for all time.

A name echoes from the other side,

beckoning the body to complete

its journey. A gentle spirit answers

with weariness in her voice.

She is ready to walk free,

flowers blooming forever in the hereafter.

Brett Mattison

One Size(Does Not Fit All)

This is a collaboration between Joe Brewer and I during the March gathering of Madison Poetry Tribe.

One size does not fit all.

Not individual personalities, perchance.

Certainly not when humans are involved.

One size, one too tight for many.

It doesn’t allow for potential growth,

let alone our dreams.

Everyone is different, quite unique.

No canned applause can show that.

Let the light shine from within,

no shadows around any size.


Buried deep in the closet

lies a box coated with

a fine layer of dust.

Clouds of particles scatter as

his hand wipes away the years.

He is surprised to find

several notebooks filled with writing

from his younger days. If only

computers were around back then.

The delete button would’ve been

quite useful, each stroke making

unwanted words, phrases and stanzas

disappear instantly from the screen.

Yellowed pages, fading ink,

the signs of a budding writer

honing his craft in an era

where longhand was still revered.

So many poems, so many attempts at

finding the inspiration, the muse

which would lead to lines

magically forming before his eyes.

He opens the curtains and

lets the sunshine bathe the room.

Coffee is brewing in the kitchen

in anticipation, waiting for the journey

through the notebooks to begin.

Brett Mattison

Not a Rehearsal

This is a collaboration between Joseph Brewer and myself during the February gathering of Madison Poetry Tribe.

Life is definitely not a rehearsal.

No script, no chance of a second time.

You only get one shot at it.

You’re thrown into it, in reality.

Chaos ensues until calm is restored.

It might be too late for reflection

so give every moment time to shine.

This is about as real as it gets.

Don’t waste your opportunities

but play it close to the heart.

Wild Man at the Mic

The wild man at the mic,

spinning some AM gold.

His rap was way out there,

total jive but totally smooth

in its presentation. The music

was everything, jumping from pop

to soul to rock and back again.

Playlists? They did not exist.

The wild man at the mic

was given a creative license

to go along with his broadcasting license.

Each show was a masterpiece,

brilliant in its design,

overflowing with solid segues

lasting far into the night.

The wild man at the mic

had an intimate affair with

his audience, guiding them through

troubled times in the streets

and troubled lives at home.

His secret ingredient sat in

the bottom of a coffee mug

filled with the liquid elixir

to fire his imagination and

keep him going throughout the shift.

The wild man at the mic

wasn’t always the mad scientist

of the airwaves. His life didn’t revolve

around being the voice of

his generation. He lived, he laughed,

he loved, he existed in

another sphere, another dimension

outside of the booth. At heart,

he was very human.

Brett Mattison


Memories are cut out of moments

but they fade with the passing

of time. They are fleet of foot,

here now, gone tomorrow.

Some memories are born today

but do not see the growth

life offers, even when recorded on film.

My past is full of memories

with abrupt endings, fate interfering

with the completion of joy.

In my mind, every walk back

leads me to a dead end,

a wall erected to keep me

from connecting my conscious

to the thick layer of subconscious.

Memories are meteoric, rising quickly

in the subliminal sky, only to fall

to earth and create confounding canyons

where the cosmos once stood.

Stars twinkle briefly before becoming

comets meandering meaninglessly in

the distance. Telescopes and telepathy

are no match for the fog of the future.

My memories are fading with time.

Will you be in mine?

Brett Mattison

Angst Year

Last year, next year, angst year.

Tell me what you are against.

I’m against the wall,

pinned down by the struggle

that continues every single day.

Sunrise and sunset are the same,

hours burning in the ether,

the smoke smeared across the sky.

My expression does not change

even when the environment does.

Last year, next year, angst year.

Tell me what you are against.

You are against the idea of

justice for some and democracy for none.

To you, the threat is very real,

making this time the tinder

for the fire exploding into view.

Each bill, each law passed

is another step toward the angst,

the amorphous assembly of anarchists

poised to possess the promised land.

Last year, next year, angst year.

Tell me what you are against.

Brett Mattison

Looking for Fault

This is a collaboration between Joe Brewer, Ben Pierce and myself at the January meeting of Madison Poetry Tribe.

We were too busy looking for fault,

making excuses in case we were caught,

making double cross triple back if we were not.

We were looking over our shoulder,

in case they were contemplating us

looking at our feet not to see each other

through the lens of suspicion.

Guess we can only blame ourselves,

waiting, to learn, if we were ever found out…

In a Pile of Rocks

In a pile of rocks,

am I on the bottom,

a part of a solid foundation?

Or am I a pebble,

perched precariously on top,

poised to fall to the ground?

As the waves crash upon me,

the sea pleads its case

to the ragged shoreline

I call my home.

Will I slowly erode

and become one with

the hardened coral reef?

Or am I destined to

float away into the distance,

left to the mercy of

the prevailing elements above?

My fate lies in the hands of others.

Brett Mattison