Matthew Brouwer… Introduction to Life


Introduction to Life

The first thing to know is that life is suffering
The second thing to know is that whoever wrote this
was a depressive pessimist
The third thing to know is that we don’t actually know
who wrote this
If you ever take a historical scriptures class you’ll learn that a name
like Buddha, or Krishna, or Jesus is the equivalent of saying,

“Our Founding Fathers”

The fourth thing to know is that “Our Founding Fathers”
were probably all men
The fifth thing to know is that it takes a father
and a mother to make a baby

The sixth thing to know is that a baby is life

The seventh thing to know is that babies are the cutest
while they’re crying or laughing
or doing anything else that babies do
The eighth thing to know is that if you ever make a baby
you will find yourself simultaneously drenched in agony and joy
The ninth thing to know is that this will continue long after your baby

has become a woman or a man

The tenth thing to know is that if the Buddha ever had a baby
He probably would have actually said,
“Life is suffering
and joy”


Matthew Lane Brouwer has performed his poetry throughout the west, leads writing workshops for teens and adults, and coordinates the Whatcom Juvenile Justice Creative Writing Project for youth in juvenile detention. He has a smattering of publications in online and print journals and a bundle of self–published chapbooks beneath his bed.

Matthew is also a Rapoetics Issue 6: Ghost House contributor

Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Brouwer







Corner of Cedarwood and Northwest… by Matthew Brouwer


Corner of Cedarwood and Northwest

Almost finished with my daily walk
my head throbs meekly
like the closeted demands

of a passive aggressive in-law

Gray Holstein clouds munch upon the blue sky
excreting an unsatisfying

50 degree weather

Nearby, a group of teenagers
just released from school
patch their insecurities

with indiscriminate utterances of profanity

Somewhere a car alarm honks continuously
every two and a half seconds

putting everyone on edge

To my right a drunken homelessman

sleeps jaggedly in the grass

A mangy black dog eyes me queerly

from the back of a beat-up pickup truck

Suddenly I realize
I have had my shirt on backwards

all day

Before me a steady line of cars
drags like chains upon the roadway
the faces of their occupants look as if

they care nothing for the problems of humanity

The slogan on the credit union reader board irritates me
as I wait for the signal to turn to walk
I tire of wearing these pajamas in public

and wonder when my rash will go away

When I get home I think I’ll call my girlfriend
and tell her, yes, I still love her
even though last night I agreed, yes
it would probably be best for her to leave now
and ride her bicycle back home

in the dark


“Corner of Cedarwood and Northwest” was originally published in The Gospel According to Matthew. Poem by Matthew Brouwer. 2012.

Copyright © 2012 by Matthew Brouwer


Walt Whitman Fantasy… by Matthew Brouwer


Walt Whitman Fantasy

Six o’clock

January darkness

Rainclouds pressed
against the face of the earth

like a razor

I’m sitting in my room trying to remember

how to write a poem

Think about putting on some ambient music
to push me out into the deep end

of my mind

But really, has that ever worked?

Maybe I should acquire some shrooms

But I don’t think that’s such a good idea

Shroom poet says some crazy shit

Think maybe I should give all my money
to the Lighthouse Mission

that would put me out to the edge

Probably not such a good idea neither

I just want to be like Walt Whitman

You know

in love with Everything!

Virginal Indian squaws
gay looking school boys
Christ-like deathbed union soldiers
sagely bearded frontiersmen
shitty American street corner vagrants

whales, spiders, cemetery grass


Though if I ever met the man

I’d probably be scared as hell

or just disappointed

Because just like Jesus
no one could really ever be

like everything they said

Just like how I hope someday
some virulent young college-age
neo-hippie fanatic
will show up at a reading of mine

and be disappointed by me

To find I’m not that mountain lion

stalking about in my poems

Just the dial on your stereo
every day fine tuning a little this way
then a little that

trying to get the treble just right

Just the dial on the radio in your car
for a moment
Mahler’s 5th symphony


A parousia of violins

and then once again nothing

except static


Matthew Brouwer is a performance poet, peer mentor, teaching artist, and organizational consultant residing in Bellingham, WA. (To listen to Matthew read the above poem click on Walt Whitman Fantasy)

Copyright © 2012 by Matthew Brouwer