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Matthew Stewart

© Marina Rodriguez



the poet

Dividing his time between Extremadura in Spain and West Sussex in England, poet Matthew Stewart works in the Spanish wine trade. Following on from his debut collection, The Knives of Villalejo – a work some 20 years in the writing – Matthew recently published his second full collection, Whatever You Do, Just Don’t. He's also the author of the popular, influential and much-praised poetry blog, Rogue Strands.

the poems

Los Domingos

00:00 / 00:48

                        You’ve taught me to sip a café solo,

                        to let its bitterness seep through my gums

                        and mark the end of our tapas and wine,

                        just as you’ve taught me to relish silence

                        in the slow, shared sliding-by of minutes.

                        I no longer force the conversation

                        these never-ending Sunday afternoons

                        while muffled westerns blink on the telly.

                        An ancient carriage clock fights to strike four

                        and your mother pours her glass of water.

                        Perhaps this week she’ll suddenly repeat

                        her suspicion of a neighbour’s illness.

                        Or we’ll sit here without the need for words

                        till your father stirs and cranks the volume

                        to signal kick-off at the Bernabéu.

Heading for the Airport

00:00 / 00:40

                        The cab suddenly turning up

                        twenty-seven minutes late

                        after my ten frantic calls

                        from the pavement outside your block,

                        your dressing-gowned silhouette

                        hovering on the balcony

                        with a halo of wispy hair.

                        My suitcase thrown in the boot,

                        doors slammed, the driver crunching gears,

                        I forgot our goodbye wave 

                        while checking my flight. If only 

                        that cab had left me behind,

                        longing for Spain. No way to know

                        I’d never see you alive again.

The Last Carry

El Paseo Marítimo, Chipiona

00:00 / 00:32

                        You were seven and hadn’t asked

                        for one in months, but the salt wind

                        had whipped your energy away

                        before calamares fritos

                        at our favourite place on the prom

                        left you woozy, slumped in your seat.

                        Even as I threw you over

                        one shoulder and braced for the trudge

                        to our house, my back was hinting

                        at a future without your breath

                        tickling my neck. At you walking,

                        beside us, if we were lucky.

Publishing credits

Los Domingos: Wild Court (King's College London)

Heading for the Airport: The Spectator (July 16th 2022)

The Last Carry: The Spectator (January 30th 2021)

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