Monday, September 26, 2022

Matthew E. Henry

Matthew E. Henry (also known as MEH) is a Boston poet and educator. His books include the Colored page (2022, Sundress Publications), Teaching While Black (2020, Main Street Rag) and the chapbook Dust & Ashes (2020, Californios Press). He says his “writing shines a black-light on the bed of education, race, relationships, religion, and everything else you’re not supposed to discuss in polite company.”

He is also the Editor-in-Chief of The Weight Journal, which showcases the best from teen writers, and is an associate poetry editor for Pidgeonholes.

MEH is the first-place winner of the first annual poetry contest from Fare Forward for his poem “Say Jonah was right and grace is wasted.” This win earned him the privilege of judging this year’s contest. I am delighted to say that, through blind judging, he selected my poem “Two Types of Ibeks” as this year’s winner.

The following MEH poem first appeared in New York Quarterly Magazine, and will appear in a forthcoming collection.

Say God is the Tough in the Prison Yard

Say God is the tough in the prison yard
you’ve decided to take out. He’s the one
to help you make a strong name for yourself.
once He rises from bench-pressing twelve times
your sopping-wet weight, you make your move—bump
His stone shoulder, spinning yourself around.
He walks on unfazed. you square up, talk shit
about His momma, His unknown daddy.
you pluck His beard, spit in His face, punch Him
in the chest. slowly, He exhales, locks eyes,
shanks Himself in the side—sharpened toothbrush
sinking to the bristles—then walks away.
stumbling back from blood, you’re forced to wonder
what He would be willing to do to you.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.