Genesis – Philip Matthews

NC048 © D. Johnson, courtesy of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center

Flutter at no wide open mind.

I did not think like an individual eyelash. 

I did not move in the hourglass house, 

perpetuating itself of flashes of quicksilver of fish-knives. My parents. 

When the sermon was streamed in the old South, it was creamy, a small amount amounting. 

Whatever I thought of / against me, little queer hook, I was writing on my centurial skull. 

Until something ovarian. A tucked testicle. I felt her tapping, almost at full plank: Petal.


Philip Matthews is the author of “Witch” (Alice James Books, 2020) and “Wig Heavier Than a Boot” (Kris Graves Projects, 2019), a collaboration with David Johnson. A poet from eastern North Carolina, he currently resides in Sauk County, Wisconsin where he is Director of Programs at Wormfarm Institute. Up to this point, his practice has anchored in site-specific meditation and performance: he is curious about what happens next. philipandpetal.com / @philipandpetal

The Colorado Photographic Arts Center has an exhibition Aug 14- Sept 23, 2020. The Space Between explores issues of queer identity, sexuality, and relationships through the works of three contemporary artists, including two photographers and a poet.  In “Through the Lens of Desire,” Kris Sanford uses vintage photography from the 1920s – 1950s to explore an imagined queer history. “Wig Heavier Than a Boot,” is a collaboration of poetry and images that reveals Petal, a persona whom Philip Matthews manifests to write about and David Johnson photographs. 

genesis – cassidy scanlon

genesis 2

he pressed seed to soil,
convinced that force could yield to growth.
the earth does not spit out
the beginning of your becoming.
for this, she is a true mother.
nurturing despite herself,
a sacrifice you are indebted to.

you know
the burden of a seedling
in tough soil. of plants
born in desert sand.

you know
what it’s like to grow
in a hostile womb,
suspicious of all things
padded for protection.

you are born
when the sun is at its height
cruel and unforgiving in exposure
of the elements.
your mother
tries to shade you,
casting shadows
you conjure when evoking
your father, an abandoned wind
lining the crowns of trees.
he speaks in metaphors
and you respond with poetry.
but language eludes you,
a longing lingers between
tongue and desire.

you search for roots
the potential of recognition
ravages
your family’s vines
concealing
the conception
of the first rejection.
the initial fortification
of want without resolve.

teetering on
a petrified foundation,
the past is porous
and swelling with decay.
but instead of dying takes
another form. molded
in stone, a fossil
imbued with traces
of recorded history.

hourglass

Cassidy Scanlon is a queer writer, Capricorn, and astrologer who received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. Her work has been featured in L’Éphémère Review, Loaf Mag, and WITCH. She writes about astrology on her blog Mercurial Musings and is a regular contributor to rose quartz magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @sassidysucklon. 

Photo: Brent Cox