Matt lives in Japan and teaches English. Matt thinks about things. The neuronal pattern of his brain has a certain array or shape that is different than mine. At least as far as processing rational information goes. He is reasonable and perceptive and methodical. I am irrational and hallucinatory and slap-dash. But there is one area in which our brains seem to align -- poetry.
But first, more about the differences.
He recently ordered my favorite book in the universe: Bruno Schulz's The Street of Crocodiles. That was so neat of him, that gesture of camaraderie...of desiring to share in a piece of my world. What, I wonder, does he think of that book? OMG! He will be confronted with things that express the essence of my being. With that region from which my odd thoughts spring. If a great metaphysical difference appears in those pages, I hope it is not too jarring. I hope that book does not cause him mental illness.
Occasionally on FB, we get into discussions about general things. When I type something, it always seems perfectly simple and unquestionably correct to me. I post it, and then WHAM!...Matt has some different ideas about it all. And then when I try to restate his case (which is the proper way to debate), I never even get close to what he meant. Damn. Our brains are not in alignment. It's frustrating for me, and it must be for him, too. But I tend to concede the fact that his brain is wired according to the proper directions. Whereas mine has a few wires loose. So when it comes to philosophical, economic, other didactic stuff, I'll simply sigh at my wrongheadedness and eventually salute his tighter frontal lobes.
Now when it comes to poetry, Matt and I have no such problem. He seems to like some of my poems, and I like some of his. We both acknowledge that mysterious aesthetic domain as a source of subtler, intenser truth. Matt writes a new poem every day and posts it on his cool blog Shadow of Iris -- Shadow of Iris blog. You can click on the player below each poem to hear his recitation. He writes these as a challenge to himself and as a way to keep the juices always flowing.
I like most of his poems. And some are remarkable. Here's one that especially struck me:
a gibbet swings
in the sullen winds
while drizzle falls
on old bones
grown green with moss.
Matt is civilized, self-effacing, and reasonable. And talented. He's okay as far as I'm concerned. And maybe it's a good thing that his brain and my brain were wired by distinct mischievous gnomes.