Thursday, July 30, 2009


Blood is my latest collaboration with Aurora poet Kristin LaTour. It has been my pleasure to work with her to bring this collection of poetry together, and I look forward to publishing it some time next month. Kristin is a member of the Waiting 4 The Bus Poetry Collective, and I have enjoyed performing with her and watching her think. Working on this project has given me renewed appreciation for Kristin's artistry, and I look forward to more collaborations like this.

Autumn Todd Photography

Kristin demonstrates a keen grasp of intimacy, skillfully making use of perspective in order to enlist the empathy of her readers and audiences in an unflinching series of voyeuristic glances. These are claustrophobic glances into uncomfortable corners, where most of us would simply look the other way.

Imagine the tiny
of air inside
a soap bubble

around a backyard
struggling against
its own demise

pushing and
against fate

a thin soapy
holding oceans of
air at bay
uniquely alive

for just a moment
of silky
too good to last

listen for the
calamity of rushing air
momentary spasm

across the face of the universe
you will hear
the voice
of Kristin LaTour.

© 2009 Matthew S. Barton

There is a self evident quality to Blood, as if Kristin LaTour has simply pulled back a curtain on the pain and suffering that are the subtext of our own lives, inviting us to see it with new eyes. Given the subject matter, the imagery is spare and remarkably restrained, refusing to indulge the gluttonous appetites of our cynical blood-soaked imaginations. Instead, we are invited to set aside our conditioned responses to blood in order to take a closer look. Perhaps a more considerate, more compassionate look, without looking the other way.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Are the colors really this
washed out
or is it the kodachrome
spreading turpentine

across my
mind’s eye rewriting
history between
yellowing sheets of glassine

I am crawling
across a blue shag carpet
and it is funny somehow
learning to walk knee high to
the saint bernards

always looking up at
the viaduct where the
freight trains smashed my pennies
into long flat disks

although I would still
rather have a sour apple
tootsie roll even if there are hundreds
to choose from

and even though one day I will be
the sad looking
man with a day old beard

pressing my face
against the glass staring
at an insurance
salesman sitting at his desk

where the penny candy used
to be who
doesn’t know what happened
to old mister randall

and never really
thought about what the
world is coming to

just another
street corner anachronism
like all the others wondering
out loud

why I should pay a dollar
for a candy bar at a gas station
of all places.

© 2008 Matthew S. Barton

Monday, July 27, 2009


For me, poetry has always been an exercise in futility. A moment of recognition, invariably seen through the lens of recollection, polished in the grist mills of hindsight, reduced to melodrama and hung on the backs of mannequins in department store windows. The fact that I relish this process secures my status as a gentle lunatic, arranging cardboard cameos in shadowbox dioramas, offering imperfect still life depictions for shoppers passing by on the sidewalk. And yet, this is exactly the sort of futility that preoccupies me. Tirelessly searching people’s eyes for a flash of recognition, daring me to believe that a small kernel of truth might be revealed if properly arranged within the clutter.

Naked Mannekin is exactly that: a cold hard look at moments of simple truth hidden in plain sight. Moments captured in a butterfly net and pinned to the wall. There are no landscapes here, no surveyors connecting the dots of understanding, and no one to define the center of my intellectual compass rose. I intend to go where the poetry takes me, come what may.