We, at the Epyllion, have something very special to share today: the profile of a local UWF artist, Matthew Shimon. Some of you might know Matt from his various performances, both poetical and musical. He is also, as of this writing, gracing the English department’s homepage for his work with “The Exquisite Corpse,” a showcase of contributions from students, alums and community members.
We’ve asked Matt to share his poetry and a little about each poem in question, so from here on out, the voice of this article is his. We hope you enjoy what he has to share.
My name is Matthew Shimon, and I am a creative writing major with a minor in philosophy at UWF. I was born into a Jewish family in Queens New York, and I lived in Brooklyn until the age of six when I moved to Miami. I was raised exposed to Jewish theological beliefs and Middle Eastern cultural practices, yet my family was fairly secular. I attended a Jewish private school, where I was a loner and an outsider, until the 7th grade. From then on, I was thrusted into the larger, secular world.
When I was fourteen years old, I started writing poetry – at that time a cathartic emotional organization of my anxiety and pubescent “love.” But from there writing became the lens through which I interpreted the world. I predominantly focused on writing poetry until my undergraduate career initiated, during which time I focused on utilizing my writing to analyze and interpret literary and philosophic texts. For me, though, writing still remains the medium through which I interpret the world. I retrospectively understand that writing, specifically poetry, is a medium whereby I rationally process my emotions. I give myself the opportunity to feel an emotion and then linguistically turn it around a few times until I find just the right words, just the right perspective, to describe the scenario in question.
My writing has a very therapeutic effect on me; it is a way I come to understand myself. As such I’m relegated as a text of myself that I can read, yet I’m also enabled to continue writing the ever-expanding chapters of my own life. My secondary hope is that others too are inspired by my writing and that my writing enhances and enriches their lives somehow in some way.
Table of Contents
My Psalm: Livestock Looking for Slaughter
I don’t remember if I was conscious of my intentions or not, but I (retroactively) interpret this poem as an in- and sub-version of Psalm 23:
מִזְמור לְדָוִד ה׳ רֹעִי לֹא אֶחְסָר.
בִּנְאוֹת דֶשֶׁא יֵרְבִּיצֵנִי, עַל-מֵי מְנֻחוֹת יְנַהֲלֵנִי.
נַפְשִׁי יְשׁוֹבֵב, יַנְחֵנִי בְמַעְגְלֵי-צֶדֶק לְמֵעֵן שְׁמו
גַם כִּי-אֵלֵךְ בְּגֵיא צַלְמָוֶת לֹא-אִירָא רָע כִּי-אַתָּה עִמָדִי
When my father left, I became the man of the household, and I would recite this Psalm as a part of the Shabbat Kiddush – the blessing on the wine. I wrote this poem at a time of profound weakness, mentally. It is the existential, nihilistic expression of my feelings of isolation, depression, and despair.
At the end of another dark day
I see only more darkness
Throughout a light polluted sky.
The light has never guided me
In its “infinite” wisdom,
And I am a sheep to be herded.
but Never herded,
My bleats and bah-ah-Ahs solicit too much
Of the material world and are shunned to silence.
Sheer me! Slaughter me!
The one black sheep,
Hollow solitude creeps through my skin into my wool,
Draping my eyes heavy.
No, it won’t be cruel;
It would be crueler to allow this livestock
To linger longer in this shadow of a world.
“A being exists named Scully.”
This poem is a mythologization and personification of my trauma. I wrote this one around the same time as “My Psalm,” and it is a reflection upon my mental state. Scully is my trauma, low self-esteem, and anger incarnate. All of the “he’s” in the poem used to be italicized and uncapitalized, a play on the capitalization of “He” when referring to God, but I found the effect of that style implied too much of a distinction between me and my trauma. So I nixed the italics.
A being exists named Scully.
he is a man of misery:
The 6th perfect solid,
Limbs and body asymmetric along his vertical plane,
Leaning, as on a crutch,
To his right side,
Standing tall upon the pillar of smite,
His eyes have been documented
To have incinerated an erupting volcano, –
mountain, earth, lava, magma, and all –
into a smoldering heap of cool,
he’s a hermit.
he treks across the land,
Rumored to be devising and enacting
A sinister plan. You’ll know he’s he
When you see vulture eggs and hatchlings
Nestling in the patches of his beard.
This 6th perfect solid,
His asymmetric body,
was molded by experience.
Darkness glimmers in his mind.
The light is a bane to him.
Despite this, he limps on.
Wanna hear something funny,
I see him in the mirror.
His glance burns a hole through my soul,
My heart becomes erupting vessels
And red-hot magma;
My skin sears,
Blood, like lava, gushes from my ears –
And Scully smirks.
When I collapse
he chuckles, but
he roars in delighted rancor,
Falls upon himself,
If I try to stand, and struggle.
Scully is a cruel, cruel man,
The Oath of the Oaf of Me
I wrote this poem in the fall of 2016 and included it on a poetry packet I wrote for a Creative Writing workshop course with Professor Jonathan Fink. It describes the sheer superficial simplicity of falling into a rut. This fall from good graces occurs often in my experience as an idealistic, daydreamer-optimist.
The sun shattered my sleep
With such promise
I thought the air smelled of
But the Wasp of Life
Buzzed by right quick
And stung my heart
… … …
Now my day has crumbled
Like a wafer-thin oath.
These haikus are a condensation my emotions during a particular event. She is coconut oil; I am sesame oil.
Ut Dirigi Cocos Nucifera
I melt at your touch:
Smooth, and sweet, and subtle; soft.
Let us bathe, hands joined.
Sincere, De Sesamum Indicum
Thick, complex texture;
Toasted, Fragrant, Dark flavors
Beckon. Why resist?
What Matters When People Leave Home
I wrote this poem in the winter of 2015. One of my best friends at the time was mourning the suicide of one of his best friends. I didn’t know how to comfort him because I’ve never experienced surviving another’s suicide, so I wrote this poem. But, I did not share it with him, at least not for a while.
People Come and go.
The difference is that some people
And never return again.
So hold them while you can.
Give them Warmth
Like a stove-top burner
And oil in a pan.
Just the right amount
Can change a person.
Love has that power,
To thaw a frost-bitten heart.
Kindness and honesty have that power,
To rebuild bones sawed apart.
Bestowed upon you, a wizard, is the power
To cast your magic as you see fit, the magic of
But even magic has its limits,
So when some people leave home,
Perhaps never to return,
Whether they take steadfast strides with
Their heads held high and shoulders wide;
Or they sneak out a creaky bathroom window
In the midst of a peaceful, sleepy night;
Or they blow up a hole in a wall, hop out, and
Turn back with a final mischievous look, stick out
Their thumbs and say, “see ya!”
Just know that
Loved ones come and go;
That they were [ever even] there
Matters most of all.