Offcourse Literary Journal
ISSN 1556-4975 

Poems by Matt Woolven.

Matt Woolven is a former English teacher and currently resides in Connecticut. Some of his work first appeared in Flutter Poetry Journal. More is soon to be released in upcoming issues of The Ranfurly Review (June, 08') and The Scruffy Dog Review (spring & summer, 08').


Meriting Fear


As art is art to one who is art,
Love must be love to one who feels love.

As suffering is suffering to one who suffers,
Beauty must be beauty to one who feels beauty.

As joy is joy to one who cries joy,
Awe must be awe to one who feels awe.

Why then must art be fragile?
Why then must love be frightening?
Why then suffering hard to dissolve?
Why then beauty so elusive?
Why then joy so ephemeral?
Why then awe its own season?

And so it is with everything substantial.



That Latvian Way

Show me how to dance in Latvian
and I'll tell you what beckons me.
Acquiesce, gently
and give me permission to use you as
my muse
if not for just one more moment.
Let not the mountains lure me for now
and I will un-tether the ribbon
and let each word fall from its page.
Take the remaining coins I've left
and invest them.
Your unassuming smile speaks of
one thousand recoveries.
If just for a moment
move me across that old country
and peel my voice from the yearning.
Press my knees until they fold against yours
and follow my eyes up through the autumn air.
Watch Venus replace Jupiter in the morning sky
and rub your elbows against mine like the crescent moon.
Teach me how to lower my head in
that Latvian way
and just for now
fold your stories across mine.
Disarmed, we'll pray stillness for the
inert child breaching near completeness.
I am told that in your people difference
is embraced in that Latvian way.





tumble down the
stairs with me
in eggshell white

and embrace each
piece a fading

self a
dim promise
gaining each step.



God’s Boxes


You keep your prayers in a hand-crafted wooden box vibrant
with youthful colors and place it neatly in a bedroom drawer.

Knees bent, hands clenched,
bowing supplicant for ephemeral peace to unending tumult.

I keep mine stashed in a gaudy vanilla plastic container tucked
away in one of a plethora worn-out and torn piscatorial pockets.

Lenient spine, gentle fingers,
caressing line forward into ethereal and lasting stillness.



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