Matthew Charles Siegel
Born on the banks of the Erie Canal, Matthew Charles Siegel's work is a perfect reflection of his truth: unabashedly honest and sincere, often
brutal and conflicted, never afraid to challenge himself or his audience.
After receiving a B.A. in psychology and philosophy from Syracuse
University, and working for several years in Buffalo as an environmental
activist, Matthew moved to New York City to pursue a masterí s degree in
politics and history from NYU.
Since moving to New York, he has been a showcased performer at the
louderMONDAYS reading series at Bar 13, the Words of Wisdom reading series
at the Spoken Words Café in Brooklyn, the Louder Than Words series at the
Bowery Poetry Club, the Food 4 Thought Series at Le Dekar Café in Brooklyn, the Acentos Bronx Poetry Showcase at the Blue Ox Bar, the synonymUS reading series at the Nuyorican Poet's Café, and at The Bowery Poetry Clubís Respect the Mic series. Matthew was also a member of Team Acentos 2004, which competed in the New York City Regional Poetry Slam. Currently, Matthew is a member of the louderARTS Project, a not-for-profit arts collective committed to developing challenging spaces for artists to create, critique, present and teach poetry.
A Social Worker by day, Matthew currently lives and works in Brooklyn.
mcsiegel at hotmail dot com
Letter to my Unborn Child
The prescription for my DNA
dispensed over a counter
in pills that dissolve bitter like hope,
I fear that I will leave you drugged,
without the health care needed to pay the bills,
that the cost of your youth will be paid in dreams,
your regrets held in a drawer with receipts
that register in cold eyes
the price you have paid for adulthood.
I fear blood infected by angels and devils,
the tug-of-war of unrelenting opponents that pull upon your veins.
I fear that these childhood friends will abandon you
after kissing your cradles with the promise of hope
that you will wake up with my DNA caught in your throat,
screaming that you never asked to be born in the first place
that you will have no need to face a world
that so desperately needs to meet you,
sleeping on strangerís couches instead of at home,
tempting fate like newly formed fingers
cradling the singed wicks of firecrackers.
I fear that my lessons in living
will be taught in a dialect
of psycho-babble and coping mechanisms:
Step 1- breathe into a paper bag
of malt liquor
Step 2- exhale the remains
of an unfinished cigarette
Step 3- find a bed messy enough not to notice
when you come
and when you go
I fear that my love for you wonít be enough
to stave off my addictions, that my love for you
wonít be enough to prevent your succumbing to your own,
I fear buds stored like bullets in chambers of pipes
the romance of a polluted city street you see in my eyes,
noses powdered with the coked-up rhythm of a line dance,
veins that listen to needles,
spinning tracks to the beat of a man who plays the dirty spoons,
I fear the alleyways, the filthy bathrooms that will constantly call your
the sleepless nights, the shivering, the wondering where you will sleep
the darkness of nights spent waiting for the dawn.
I fear that you, my children will consume women like narcotic,
men likeóme, swallowing a horizon like a barbiturate
to lull a morning soul to sleep,
coffee syntax dribbling over teeth
stained the color of insomnia
when sunlight through the window
tastes like a mint on your pillow
when the six a.m. news sounds like a lullaby
and the prospect of dreams
feels better then sex.
I fear that you,
my children, will fall prey to the insanity of normalcy
that keeps my pen from moving, that you will spend
your entire life striving to be perfect, otherwise
you will be perfect,
I fear a time
when lovers will seem stranger than strangers
when the loneliness of a crowd will echo louder
than an empty room.
I fear that the day will comeó
the shattering of a glass
that was once half full
when God is not enough,
and you have had enough, a day
when you measure your patience in calibers,
contemplating the hard comfort of a bullet,
the soft pillow of exploded expectations, feathers
falling to the floor in time-lapsed frames
that some call days. I know this place too well.
In this place your nights battle your mornings,
warning signs dig into punctured arms and wrists
are scratched like a suicide note on a prison wall,
where the letters haphazardly prescribed onto bottles
can fill a future like a medicine cabinet.
and I know this place too well.
When I say that I fear bringing children into a world like this,
I often wonder if I donít mean a world where I am your father.