Arts & CultureLIFESTYLE


Introducing a new series of poems by Julian Matthews. Julian is a writer and Pushcart-nominated poet published in The American Journal of Poetry, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Borderless Journal, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Dream Catcher Magazine,  Live Encounters Magazine, Lothlorien Poetry Journal and The New Verse News, among others. He is a mixed-race minority from Malaysia and lived in Ipoh for seven years. Currently based in Petaling Jaya, he is a media trainer and consultant for senior management of multinationals on Effective Media Relations, Social Media and Crisis Communications. He was formerly a journalist with The Star and Nikkei Business Publications Inc



And so we sit at the table partaking of a meal,
the home-made, home-cooked, home-delivered
a gathering of friends, new and old,
unmuted, unzoomed, live, in-person, fully embodied,
greeting each other like refugees
meeting on the dock, our boats having survived
the treacherous crossing of middle class suburbia
and stepping back onto the shores of human connection again,
wetting our cold feet and lapping up warm chatter about pets,
pasta, pastries, prices, politics and the pandemic, always the pandemic,
and, thankfully, of our common love of books, and writing and poetry
and missing sitting in darkened theatres with strangers, to watch a movie,
or a play or just chilling with a warm-up, pre-concert cocktail, perhaps a long island tea,
or two, before listening to an orchestra, fingers fondling keys, bows caressing strings,
lips pressed against mouthpieces, hugging tubas, the tsk-chizz of sticks on cymbals,
being enveloped by the sensurround sounds of music played by real, in-the-flesh humans…

And in the end there is laughter, ribbing and the teasing out
of each other’s backgrounds, our reasons for being, why the need to put words
on rectangular screens, this unboxing of the isolation inside us, this shedding of thickened skins,
double-vaxxed, immunized, and unmasked, fully ensconced in that most singular of human acts,
the Art of Conversation, manifesting our ancestral DNA of gathering around the embers of dying
fires under stars, trading stories, sharing opinions and yes, even gossiping,
just to know we are alive,
we are still alive.

First published in The New Verse News, current-news poetry site edited by James Penha

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