Matthew Sweeney

Matthew Sweeney’s collection Horse Music has just come out from Bloodaxe. His satirical novel, Death Comes for the Poets, written with John Hartley Williams, appeared recently from the Muswell Press.

Two Poems

Matthew Sweeney, 25 April 2013

The Twins

are far from identical. One is half-blind, the other hunts small birds with a crossbow.

One has a decent tenor voice, the other rasps out the obituaries on local radio.

One is vegan, the other eats everything, and his favourite meat is bush rat, which

he frequents African restaurants to ingest. His brother fails to accompany him there.

What have they in common? Blond hair, a liking...

Poem: ‘The Warning’

Matthew Sweeney, 22 November 2012

That sizzling morning, I lay on the lawn, beneath the totem pole I’d brought back from Nevada, and painted white and black, to ward off ghouls, ghosts and evil men.

I had Coltrane playing from the hallway and was humming along. The black cat was poking and hissing at the white cat, when a crow landed a couple of feet away.

Both cats scarpered when he opened his beak and cawed, dropping...

Two Poems

Matthew Sweeney, 2 December 2010

The Glass Chess Set

He woke to find a glass chess set by his head, on the bedside table. The vitamins had been removed, the lamp shifted to the floor, the two glasses of water were gone – all this done without a noise. He sat up to see it better. Everything was glass – the board, the pieces, half of these clear, half opaque, as were the alternating squares. He got out of bed to...

Poem: ‘Snow, Ice’

Matthew Sweeney, 25 June 2009

In spite of the snow, he powered his bike down the freezing road, avoiding the dogs that gambolled there, shitting and pissing, barking and growling. He cursed them all, their scarfed and gloved owners, too, also the cars that passed him by too close, the monster buses that wanted to crush him, the fat cold moon in the smoggy sky above.

His mouth recalled the taste of brandy-balls, sucked...

Two Poems

Matthew Sweeney, 19 June 2008

The Vintner’s Boat

The vintner rowed his boat as close to the lake’s shore as he dared, and in the prow stood a five litre bottle of his Cabernet Franc Barrique. A big man, he powered on, past sunbathers, past sleepers, past fisherfolk, whose lines he took care to avoid. Behind him, a school of perch grew in numbers, as if all were reincarnated drinkers. The odd shout encouraged...

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