matt pond PA

Sanctuary.

I met Louise in the early summer. Crawling in the grass next to her, I watched her graze and gnaw, a true pro at a sweet meadow strut. She was a cloven-hoofed beauty, sweetly aloof and on her own trip. I got close, she permitted my presence — then Louise walked away. And now she’s […]

I met Louise in the early summer. Crawling in the grass next to her, I watched her graze and gnaw, a true pro at a sweet meadow strut. She was a cloven-hoofed beauty, sweetly aloof and on her own trip. I got close, she permitted my presence — then Louise walked away. And now she’s gone on to those majestic, lush fields in the sky.

It’s the same for all of us. The modern world is a maze. We are careening toward an unknown future with armfuls of technology, as the the earth spins around a thousand miles an hour. All we can do is hold on and try to head in the best estimate of a direction.

What I know is this; what makes sense to me is experience without expectation. Involvement in an environment or an idea, committed to making an undertaking come to fruition or at least make sense.

We went to Woodstock Sanctuary without presumption.

We knew we wrote music, we knew we loved animals. We came across a kingdom of creatures, surviving and thriving together, living life to the fullest. We came across a community built upon mutual respect, mutual reflection.

Sheep with patchy coats, timid horses, affable goats. The bulls were breathtaking, both gentle and powerful. The chickens, ducks and turkeys — shy because of their previous captivity, but always slowly, slowly coming around. Grand pastures, idyllic and still sensible, still humble, mostly purposeful. Surrounded and woven together with the roaming guinea fowl — rampant, surly, loud and beautiful.

But maybe humans are rampant, surly, loud and beautiful. (This might also be the constant out-of-context definition of music.)

The Woodstock Sanctuary is inclusive. It’s just about participation. One spare weekend afternoon. Or a commitment as a member. Or a lifetime dedicated to these fine-furred, fine-feathered friends.

To understand and help anyone or anything, we need to accept every animal. Even the two-legged, misinterpreted lumberers can see the truth — inclusion and acceptance are the only way we’re going to successfully reach any kind of simple heaven on earth.

Transcendental Cynicism 3.

We used to only imagine it. The others. And the hidden hours we spent being whole unto ourselves. Our lives were our lives. We took pride in the ways we learned how to survive. (Whatever this reality is now, I’d like some assistance exploring the movie-set ruins of meaning. We’ll wear pith helmets and smoke […]

We used to only imagine it. The others. And the hidden hours we spent being whole unto ourselves.

Our lives were our lives. We took pride in the ways we learned how to survive. (Whatever this reality is now, I’d like some assistance exploring the movie-set ruins of meaning. We’ll wear pith helmets and smoke cigars. We’ll be in black and white. I swear we’ll be beautiful.)

So when the screens come down at night, when there’s only mindwaves wandering about the ether, do you ever run into me? What if we thought the same thought at the same time? What if no one had to know anything more than that? An everlasting, unanswered echo. Searching and painfully beautiful.

Transcendental Cynicism 2.

Today is promising. There are zero root canals on my to-do list and I’m a shirtless king. Chris is coming over after he gets done working for Sally. He’ll probably text me at around three-thirty. He’ll show up exactly at seven. We haven’t worked on a song together in a while. (I’ve been awkwardly trying […]

Today is promising. There are zero root canals on my to-do list and I’m a shirtless king.

Chris is coming over after he gets done working for Sally. He’ll probably text me at around three-thirty. He’ll show up exactly at seven.

We haven’t worked on a song together in a while. (I’ve been awkwardly trying to piece the arc of an album together. And he’s been awkwardly building the foundation for a family.)

We’ll get awkward together tonight.

Sometimes in the fog of consciousness, I visit faraway lighthouses on rocky perches. Briny air, plenty of scotch. The lighthouse-keepers love and hate me exactly how I want to be loved and hated. And I love and hate them back, with everything I’ve got.

Transcendental Cynicism 1.

Whose yellow hair is this? A stray organic filament of spun light on my sea green sleeve. With summer starting to ebb, there is a cool rain. A reason to contrast, a reason to cover my rusty forearm. I may not be passionately in love with parties. But I like it less when I’m sticking […]

Whose yellow hair is this?

A stray organic filament of spun light on my sea green sleeve.

With summer starting to ebb, there is a cool rain. A reason to contrast, a reason to cover my rusty forearm.

I may not be passionately in love with parties. But I like it less when I’m sticking around at the end. In the presence of people who are a million miles away.

I like this rain because it talks to me while I worry. It’s laughing at the word worry when everything is still so lush and peaceful. It’s laughing at me. There is nothing to do except accept this graceful unicorn of stupidity, transcendental cynicism.

The hair is still there and I pray that I’m not a contaminated bite of food on some giant’s plate.

Ectoplasm.

There’s a softly sloped pit in the midtown woods, in the overgrowth along the abandoned train tracks. A natural amphitheater where the show never stops — a twig falls, a squirrel scrambles in the dead leaves, a robin borrows a moment. Plastic bags clasped in the crooked knuckles of bushes, discarded juice boxes, parsimonious lottery […]

There’s a softly sloped pit in the midtown woods, in the overgrowth along the abandoned train tracks.

A natural amphitheater where the show never stops — a twig falls, a squirrel scrambles in the dead leaves, a robin borrows a moment.

Plastic bags clasped in the crooked knuckles of bushes, discarded juice boxes, parsimonious lottery tickets. Pieces of sheet, ripped on every side, the scraps of a questionable past now float and flip, gentle signs of joyous surrender.

The breeze-blown wall of garbage encircling the enclave makes the interior nearly unnoticeable. A forest hidden in a city. A place anyone could reach, but no one goes.

The pit fills up with water when the heavy rain falls. The water starts glowing as it rises, cyalume pale green, bubbling, chugging, alive.

In gray morning, as ink spills out of the night, I go here to drink the dirty city potion pouring up from the ground, absorbing our primeval treehouse memories and probing, apprehensive visions of the future. From a body that’s so similar to yours. From a mind that can’t be too far off either.

U=EV/ID.

It is an experimental life. An unrestrained shout down into a dirt floor basement. Mind, mouth, throat, hope. Or the simple brilliance of walking barefoot on the lawn at eventide. Total trust until one windblown thorn pierces the sole. Each morning, the shutter opens slowly on another round of consciousness. New light on familiar skin. […]

It is an experimental life. An unrestrained shout down into a dirt floor basement. Mind, mouth, throat, hope. Or the simple brilliance of walking barefoot on the lawn at eventide. Total trust until one windblown thorn pierces the sole.

Each morning, the shutter opens slowly on another round of consciousness. New light on familiar skin. Squeak, sheet, voice, branch. Stretch and effervesce.

Windows can speak in this world. When heat reclines on swollen, moody clouds, the adolescent glass will often demand to be kept unlocked. Eventually admitting entry to spouting, drizzly guests. Thus, casting smears across my emotionally alchemical claims.

(A fake bedside science report copied from the watery scribbles of a rain-stained notebook.)

It’s an experimental life.

Conformists are partial to naps and quiet brooding. Nibbling on soft cheeses, adorned in shawls, kept safe from peril by a wall of throw pillows — forever teetering on the harrowing precipice between scrabble and jigsaw.

The rebels style their hair in public restrooms. Sunglass-ed, fingersnaps. Every subsequent footstep is an angry piece of performance art. They say “let’s split” when the vittles evaporate, when the last call incandescence muscles in. When the prehistoric Van Halen concert lets out, they smash soda pop bottles, shake street signs and silently slow dance in the middle of the street.

To bridge these disparate worlds I close my eyes and travel through time.

Back, back to those days as a make-believe carny. Sweeping up after the zebras, guessing the weight of lost, drunken stepfathers, flirting with the bearded lady, taunting the strong man.

Above me, the unattainable Trans Am beauties. Sashed in the backseat, always bikini-ed and waiting for the parade.

With a reverse lens, the past makes sense. The reasons and reactions. It is now crushingly apparent — bad hair was the culprit of my circus loneliness. The genesis of my risible discontent.

The experiment has me here, clicking at keys to asdf-jkl; my way into the light, to beseech the summer sky for some kind of meaning. The supernatural howl of convoluted compassion, the unpresuming passion for a taste of understanding.

In the middle of infinite outer space, I still believe that we can find one another. Laughing and time traveling together, with our magic hair, lopsided in our acrylic-ruby-studded saddles on a pair of formidable, flying ponies.

Cruisin’ Under the Eclipse.

The cruise ship deck is empty. A gray mist holds a tight lid over the sea’s sights, the sounds of the chugging engine quelled to a lonely bachelor’s gargle. Gulls sporadically waddle out of the white. Then turn back into the woolly nothing. This could equally be anywhere and nowhere. Everyone’s huddled below, watching the […]

The cruise ship deck is empty. A gray mist holds a tight lid over the sea’s sights, the sounds of the chugging engine quelled to a lonely bachelor’s gargle.

Gulls sporadically waddle out of the white. Then turn back into the woolly nothing. This could equally be anywhere and nowhere.

Everyone’s huddled below, watching the weather.

They fear and worship the imaginary apocalypse. Somewhere past the horizon, they believe there’s a metaphysical hurricane in a stolen shrimp boat. Stalking us, waiting to overtake our vessel. Lusty phantom pirates aboard, scarved and scurvied, trying to pull us under, to wed down in the raven’s watery chambers: the nothing that none of us knows how to unravel.

I would prefer to believe I stand alone up here due to my consummate shuffleboard skills. The announcers in my head cannot stop gushing about this cinderella story, the fully grown kid from New England that shocked the world with his slippery flair. A backwater nobody, who stepped out of vanilla shadows for a single, silent moment of glory.

It’s not enough. I would like to speak to someone. To wrestle with words, to chase with safety scissors. I would like to play the lawless shuffleboard of youth. To obliterate the disks or send them soaring into ocean.

I don’t want to watch the weather in the Sugar Bubble Lounge down below. I want the thunderbolts to hit me square in the forehead. The rain to pummel my skin, the wind to lift me off the ground. I want to grapple an alligator, I want to be punched by a donkey.

I search for the captain. Perhaps he has some corncob wisdom to invoke. My desire to understand is real, my question is simple:

Who implanted this joy and pain inside of us? And then set the game show wheel spinning. On a cruise without vision, on a deck without anyone to caress.

The problem could be this — I used to be the guy who drinks his seltzer warm. It’s not sufficient to say I drank a negligible supply of fizzy water every blue moon — warm seltzer was my thing. As if scored into my features, like forehead creases or unsophisticated, Saturday night inflections. I’m a collection of humid memories, stifling dreams. And warm seltzer is right there, pouring from the waterfall of life in a fleeting and infinite image of my simple self.

But this seltzer in front of me is cold. It runs through my body with a cooling, refreshing feeling. I’m sated in a way I’m rarely sated. (I don’t know who I am.)

Still Summer Cocktails

Legends After The Fall Mezcal, Coconut, Lime, Hellfire Bitters The smell of gasoline is the call to arms, the triumphant (car horn) alarm. As if we could beat the spin of the earth with just a little more speed, a little more cultivated chaos. A length-less, deepening dive, jumping off the dock into the cricket-filled […]

Legends After The Fall

Mezcal, Coconut, Lime, Hellfire Bitters

The smell of gasoline is the call to arms, the triumphant (car horn) alarm. As if we could beat the spin of the earth with just a little more speed, a little more cultivated chaos. A length-less, deepening dive, jumping off the dock into the cricket-filled darkness.

Still Summer

Vodka or Gin, Lemon, Grenadine, Campari, Soda, Mint

Trouble comes easy in the heat. You know it, the cops know it. The birds and squirrels won’t shut up about it in the sideways sun at dusk, all deep lemon and dusty gold. They roost on power lines and race tires within inches of their lives. Drunk on the memory of unforgettable love.

The Full Stop

Angostura Amaro, Aged Rum, Pineapple, Lime, Velvet Falernum, Mint

The Perseids rain down in the middle of August. If the moon steps aside and the skies stay clear, there’ll be brilliant, streaking kaleidoscopes across the Hudson River. Hands trace the arc down from the skyline to the neckline. Time stops, making out is always recommended. The menthol, lime, pineapple lips.

Canada

Rye Whiskey, Maple, Orange & Peychaud Bitters, Absinthe

Two somebodies that nobody knows wake up in the bed of a pickup truck. Their hair is tangled, filled with strange citrus and broken pieces of brown maple leaves. Their breath perfumed with the previous night’s whiskey. Two somebodies that nobody knows stay hidden in the shifting shadows, one step ahead of the summer, ahead of regret, ahead of any terrestrial power that would ever dare to (try and) stop them.

Provincial Wolves.

It’s not like that. The scent is not entirely lost. The windows still pull shapes from the sky. The door is a constant summons to more. What an easy and amazing walk uptown. Brilliant yellow incandescent scenes framed by branches, heavy with swollen leaves. A stumbling couple weaves through shadows, using signs as walking sticks, […]

It’s not like that. The scent is not entirely lost.

The windows still pull shapes from the sky. The door is a constant summons to more.

What an easy and amazing walk uptown. Brilliant yellow incandescent scenes framed by branches, heavy with swollen leaves. A stumbling couple weaves through shadows, using signs as walking sticks, enmeshed and exchanging limbs.

The same shadows where the silent, banished smokers hide. Only the embers give them away, a pulsing glow from gaping porch darkness.

Loitering bbq smoke and the charred smell of skunk spray. The trains from midtown wail, lumbering metal cetaceans chasing tail. Lazy deeds delivered, block by block, clanging absentmindedly through intersections and out past the city limits.

The sidewalks here, persistently flippant. Always uneven, as if recovering from an earthquake or set in place by stroppy teenagers, the dangerous sons and daughters of sloppy masons.

In the village, time could be anytime. The candy store is open late. The coffee shop is closed early. Each individual adhering to their own circadian rhythm. Revolutionary yawns under breezy awnings.

Summer rules mean that there are no rules. The worst feelings are easily flipped on their backs, convulsing in laughter. The margins are wide enough to let streetlights shine through until dawn cuts in. Clothing is optional.

Years have passed, yet we are still the same scouts behind a curtain of muscle and fur.

The fabric of ourselves and the world surrounding. It can withstand the holes we punch with our canine teeth. It can withstand brittle candor and tough love. Truth is the only living god, to pretend that it’s otherwise snubs the sifted beauty, the sunken treasure hidden below shipwrecked skeletons, down in the muck.

Running and humming in the darkness. Running and humming in the darkness. Humid love blooms as hunger shoves wildly — desire ’til the day I die. Running and humming in the darkness.

What You Thought was a Party

What you thought was a party was just a plain cheese pizza photo op, a cross-promotional chin-up into a compulsory hoedown. One scratchy hay bale and a complimentary bucket of smiles. Fun is mandatory. On my first stakeout as a fake cop, I realized that repeatedly refreshing my phone and swiping this-a-way and that-a-way allowed […]

What you thought was a party was just a plain cheese pizza photo op, a cross-promotional chin-up into a compulsory hoedown. One scratchy hay bale and a complimentary bucket of smiles. Fun is mandatory.

On my first stakeout as a fake cop, I realized that repeatedly refreshing my phone and swiping this-a-way and that-a-way allowed me to blend in with the oscillating sidewalk throngs, gently surfing through intentionally unselfconscious waves of screen-goers, an everlasting struggle to kiss normalcy’s divine ring.

The newspaper fell from my blackened fingertips and I began really searching, really swiping to see myself in the role. (Disappearing down a side street, there is no second thought or regret in succumbing. It is the way. Carry on and case closed.)

The parakeet on my left shoulder married the iguana on my right and no one noticed.

What you thought was a celebration was just Cake Day in the conference room. Under finely crafted drop ceilings and resplendent fluorescence, a comically cynical attempt at placation, persuasion, conditioning, enlistment and indoctrination. Everyone sinks teeth, all the way down to the cardboard cream.

Fact: Peephole Magazine reports that people who are comfortable in their own skin often practice being comfortable in their own skin in front of a mirror. Yet they never go to the bathroom.

What you believe is a good way to communicate is really just a photograph of a sunset that fell into a telephone that never rings.

The catcalls echo inside these cerebral walls. No matter how far I run into the thickest forest, there isn’t any procedure to obstruct the velocity of unwanted notions, a flashing mental montage — the cop stops me before I can ask him for help, puts a finger to his lips and says, “Talk is for retirees.” And then, posts a video of himself drawing a revolver. (It hardly resembles a revolver.)

What you thought was part your identity was just a poorly written show about zombies. What you thought was a zombie was only an out-of-work actor, hoping someone would notice the extra emphasis in their split-second decapitation. What you think is a leader is merely a goblin: a non-scientific science experiment gone wrong. Or maybe we’re all the same, conveniently split in two so that the plight of homeless people won’t interrupt our steaming succotash along the cliché Champs-Élysées cafes — the mellifluous flow of ideas, white wine and suffering.

I gave my entire bullhorn address in an extinct indigenous language. It cited everything that’s ever been done wrong to anything, anywhere. No one understood the message or the meaning but the banners were majestic.

A morse-code love poem through the water pipes reads: Entertainment and reality are impossible to distinguish from one another. Everyone transmits an ephemeral televised version of their life. Everything must be captured and immediately thrown away like a diaphanous and disgusting bug, soaring and then suddenly swallowed.

Please get me the cat juggler’s name before he leaves the building in shame!

A. Animals should neither be eaten nor juggled.
B. Fame is a feral animal. And I want mine right meow!
C. If you point out the stupidity of the internet, it just means you’re jealous of Kanye West.

What appeared to be a famous person was a famous person. Everyone knows the name, everyone knows the face. But they cannot juggle, act, perform, write, read, sing, dance, create or convey any deeper, understanding or connection. And at this slippery-eel moment, the state of celebrity also appears to be the goal of humankind.

(As they frequently whisper in cineplex, always follow the eels.)

Impulsive, embryonic adults and flittering children somehow dictate the maturity and quality of our culture. We all keep diving down further and further, accepting and adopting apps that define the way we spend our time, the way we appreciate the world spinning around us. Journalists measure the quality of their work by likes. Artists measure the quality of their work by likes. Lawyers, labels and loves, notions and choices boil down to likes and deceased presidents.

Commerce is now love. Happiness is an act. Money and fame are everything. (I’m begging for you to punch me in the face and prove me wrong.)

That, or while distractedly absorbing the knife techniques of master youtube chefs, we ultimately must conclude that McDonald’s is the greatest restaurant of all time.

That, or pizza always wins.

Battling Nature

Or The Anatomy Of a Fall — or — The Maps of Mistakes — or — The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand. *** Topic follows discussion. To stumble, bruise and break. These are the only lusty, dirt-proven powers. Flailing out onto the ground, a mouthful of dust and soil, shock, time stops. And […]

Or The Anatomy Of a Fall — or — The Maps of Mistakes — or — The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand.

*** Topic follows discussion.

To stumble, bruise and break. These are the only lusty, dirt-proven powers. Flailing out onto the ground, a mouthful of dust and soil, shock, time stops. And scene.

A formative funnel takes me back — the swirling, human summer scents — cloves, fried dough, metal Bud Light bottles, half-drunk beer orphans on the chewing gum-stained concrete, slumped in the shifting Tilt-A-Whirl shadows — the rock-solid foundation of an imaginary GnR Theme Park.

My demi-rock-gods are graceless beasts, dressed in tawny wrinkled suits, flipping through old New Yorkers and sipping coffee, down in the mental caverns, the mothball mind. (They prefer dim lighting down there. A wistful look away following any Parisian allusion. They still — still — go on and on about Godard, Tom Waits, Charles Bukowski, Anne Sexton and Warhol, as in holes. Sometimes, small clouds of Parliament smoke puff out from my ears.)

I skipped the classes once I uncovered all the multiple-choice patterns. A wizard’s permission slip permanently hanging from my back pocket. If a few choice words are highlighted it’s unnecessary to understand the rest — it’s far better to knowingly laugh at the unknown. As long as you are leaning, the lines don’t need meaning. Leaning on a locker, leaning on the Green Plymouth Fury, leaning on the mottled brick wall of a forgotten Circle K.

I was given a chocolate medal of honor by the esteemed faculty at CliffsNotes Academy. We all attended the commencement, applying the required attire — flip-flops, Polynesian printed jumpsuits and koozies looking for one more beer to fill the emptiness. There was a paperback drum circle at the reception and, later, a hardcover bonfire. Because as everyone knows, books are for jail.

Here. Out beyond the fake university gates. Here, meaning is in the ear, eye, nose and throat of the beholder. Whatever gets caught in the cochlea and blown out the gullet is as good as gold.

(I wake up on a raft in the middle of a pond. It was all one of Bill Murray’s many electronic daydreams.)

The left toe was crushed at Onteora Lake, the right hand, hip, side cut and contused at Awosting. These things are true. I’m not lengthening the tale. There was a moment of crawling in each of these episodes. Crash, blood, swelling, swear. It’s the unavoidable reality of amateur earth hurdlers.

When I was young, I didn’t care. Bleeding and breaking were the acceptable risks attributed to almost any activity. But I’m running out of room for scars. And I don’t want to convince you that I’m not scared anymore. Because I’m here — and though I’m physically prepared for most apocalyptic unrealities, I’m afraid. (Basements, moths, cops, electrified microphones, hugs.)

1. Burlington, Vermont. Late summer. The original teenage donkey takes center stage, stabbing the kitchen knife into a bedroom wall. (If truth be told, the motivation was merely to impress a couple of fine ladies with a little redneck recklessness, the recklessness that always outraces desire.) The hand slides down the knife the the wall, gasp. The actor exits stage left, past the rigging, through makeup as feathered costumes fly, dashing out the side door and all the way to the emergency room. Embarrassed, terrified, tendon-less in two fingers. Months of recovery after surgery, zigzag stitches and a hand that half works. Shots of tequila simultaneously resurrect and erase the sharp, shooting pain.

2. Annandale-on-Hudson. Early spring. In the hazy distance, a frisbee falls in the grass below Eastern Bloc era dormitories. A gangly, long-haired kid leaps from the second floor ledge, plants the landing with his palms in a field of glass and throws a bloodied frisbee back to his best friend (who would later marry the bleeding bohemian’s future ex-girlfriend). Twenty stitches from a couple part-time comedians at Northern Dutchess Hospital. “So you cut your hand playing frisbee?”

3. Lake Awosting, Last week. At seven and half miles into a fun run, heavy legs get heavier and heavier. Weak vision, the intense contrast of sunblast and darkening boughs on the shadowiest parts of the trail. A rock hit by the right toe at a good clip, into a sprawl out against the stones and dirt. Hand and hip are bleeding. After a pat-down, nothing appears to be broken. Further, around the corner there’s an unshattered water-bottle full of wine, almonds, figs and an insane view. Another day, another scar, another sweet swallow of wine.

A real county fair prize.

Pitch-black to gray. Pre-dawn stumblings, half awake, phone scrawling to oneself. Undressed, wandering for olives and seltzer. Checking the locks, the baseball bat sentry. A sluggish search party without direction re-retires after the icebox has been plundered. A neanderthal success. But a success, nonetheless. The first slices of early morning sun cross the bedroom floor. […]

Pitch-black to gray. Pre-dawn stumblings, half awake, phone scrawling to oneself. Undressed, wandering for olives and seltzer. Checking the locks, the baseball bat sentry. A sluggish search party without direction re-retires after the icebox has been plundered. A neanderthal success. But a success, nonetheless.

The first slices of early morning sun cross the bedroom floor. Skinny, golden lasers cut protracted paths over sheetless feet. Beyond the ramparts, nattering birdsong rises above the grinding low-gear shift of garbage collectors. Cans crinkle, rumple, clonk.

Dreams and dreads with a pillow under my head. If I could get beyond the petty meditations, the loops of listless thought. If I could pop the top off the container of time, if I could be the movie-me, the one that only speaks when the music swells. If = then.

Stuck since the beginning. A three-speed brain, a nearsighted set of built-in binoculars, chicken legs, Bic lighter bald spots stretch along the forearms, scarred fingers, scarred shoulders, scarred everything. A real county fair prize.

I was once a willingly commandeered kid. Whatever they fed me, I ate. Whatever they told me to do was done. Mussed up hair, lighthouse eyes, soft-bellied jellyfish skin. Fear ran the show, the show ran all night. I was prone to losing things that were in the palm of my hand.

The Point was a Harry Nilsson animated film on a tiny television in New Brunswick, a message from the other side, euphonious, radiant, revelatory. As if Oblio and Arrow hijacked a gaggle of cathode rays, opened a direct line through the cosmos, shot straight through deep space and into my dimly lit cerebrum. (If there is a way in, then there is a way out!)

A dark, cozy den by the Passamaquoddy Bay, entombed in the smell of wet wood and seaweed. I knew that there was more to life than what I knew.

It’s 9am. I know that must mean something.

Older Entries