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Matt Phipps
Matt Phipps

Matt Phipps lives and works in São Paulo. Originally from the UK, he relocated to Brazil in the mistaken belief that it would be sunnier than London. He is currently editing his first novel and getting used to writing about himself in the third person.

Matt Phipps Poetry


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You who always saw straight through to the heart
Of things

Do not forget your visions or accept the fictions
Of the fearful

All that’s changed is the path got tangled up
With love 

 

That’s the way of things down here
On a blue planet

Having nothing still means nothing
To you

And though each new layer brings you closer
To earth

You feel the weight but would not have it
Otherwise

When the time comes you’ll relax your grip
And find

The light undiminished, and everyone there.

Award-Winning Photographs I’ve Never Taken

 

Number One

 

The first award-winning photograph I never took

Was of a man in his sixties sitting cross-legged

On cardboard under the eaves

Of a derelict mansion behind Av. Paulista.

 

He had the kind of face – thin lips, hawk nose

And eyes like tumbled agates – that I’d expect

To see atop a khaki coat, behind a countertop,

Doing some skilled job I know nothing about

And am therefore intimidated by. Someone,

In short, to whom I’d usually defer.

 

But there he was in the damp garden

With his empty cans and his hessian sack,

And an expression that was frozen now

Forever, halfway between anger and pain.

 

Number Two

 

The second award-winning photograph I never took

Was of the desperate housewife I passed

In the street as she aired out her Peke.

Rich and golden she was also, somehow,

Brittle and frozen, a lacewing trapped in the amber

Of years no intervention absolves.

 

I would have taken my shot just as

She saw I was coming, and looked

Pre-emptively away in disgust at my leer.

(Or was it panic that it might not appear?)

 

And my photo would also have caught

The way her dog, by some freak of empathy

Or canine instinct, followed her gaze

And turned away too, as if faintly appalled

By the eye-watering smell of humanity

And men that are lower than dogs.

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