Two new poems by Matthew Howard

One from the cave
A cave man and a cave man and a cave man
found themselves upright in a cave,
found their limbs suddenly dexterous
found their fingers feeling into articulations;
and they were laughing, well, not as we know it
but a sort of chattering, incredulous
at the good result that had fallen into their hands
(these things going searching from them)
and they felt they had to mark it somehow,
such an occasion wouldn’t come again,
so they stood together at the mouth of the cave
and looking out they just knew this was all theirs,
but right then one scoops up a rock and smashes
it into the skull of the one to his left
(it could have been the one to his right)
anyway, and he smashes and he smashes and he smashes
and it’s like this thing pushes through to his fingers,
so he keeps going and he’s covered in all strange
new stuff and he wants to know what else is in there
so he beats and smashes (he’s so strong!) he doesn’t stop
until he’s just hitting the earth of the cave floor,
until the soil’s all slopped with this hot sticky stuff;
but the funny thing is this one wasn’t any stronger
or taller or better – he just did this first,
as if a synapse sparked sooner or something
behind his eyes sharpened its focus on this compunction.
And so just then, the other cowed at the heel
of the sweating one’s side and they watched
the long flow out the mouth of the cave –
a new beast streaking freely on the plains.
Or so it went,
and so it goes.

– – – – – – – – –

Hand Dryer: A Vanitas
The auto downward jolt
of hot air on my hands
shocked; the blast-stretched skin
showed new transparencies
of bone under flesh.
God, the bastard blows hard.

Matthew Howard is in his late 20's and works in Norwich in the insurance industry. He is currently taking the Diploma in Advanced Poetry at the UEA which is taught by Sarah Law and Helen Ivory.

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