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The battlefield lies before me,
wasteland of plastic fallen warriors,
life’s blood drawn from hollow barrels
spilt to dry upon the lined page of conformity.
Jagged edges jerked from a central spiral spine
decorate crumpled balls cast on hardened ground.
wage war across open white space
until their final sentencing.
Anise and cinnamon waft toward me
as if warm trade winds blew
across scented water,
tastes of the exotic wash over my tongue
as I sip the nectar of sustenance
while swallowing a bitter pill.
Unable to break the barrier between
fact and fantasy, there remains
a constant search for the ephemeral
where words meet paper and
coexist in perfected peace.
Until then, another exhausted warrior
falls from my tired hand,
sharing space with the floor clutter of
~ P. A. Matthews/E. A. Irwin
Author of the “Myth to Life: The
Rise of Riley McCabe” series.
I reside in California, and write
fiction and poetry, often crossing
genre boundaries just to keep life
and because I can.
When words fail, I tend to swing my sword.
Bright shiny cutlery is as important as
exquisite moisturizer, good hair products,
and a fantastic as pair of stunning stilettos.
Writer – in every aspect of the word. How shall I tell of me?
Perhaps I’ll let a poem explain the nuances contributing to
the passages inside the labyrinth of my mind.
Song Of Me In The Key Of ‘P & E’
A head of tousled golden hair
frames a face considered fair,
with pouting smile unless it’s wide,
upon my cheek small dimple resides,
but what about the eyes,
those windows of my soul,
the colors wash across them
in a spectrum of the sea,
from gray to green a
multitude of blues lie in-between,
expressions like storm clouds
gather until relived by calm,
but what goes on inside the mind
some just consider blonde.
What do I witness when
watching from the deep
recesses of hidden thoughts—
do my hopes, dreams, daily passions
decorate my guileless face with pleasure
others have unsuccessfully sought, or
what of the horror of which I write,
is this what turns the mischievous beckoning
of my eyes impish without a guiding light
from above, or is it the revelation of
God’s light that allows me to search
through darkened evil without fear.
Singer, artist, author,
math award winner who can no longer
balance a checkbook, sometimes doesn’t bother
anyone sure I can struggle through
convinced it will make me stronger.
I laugh at that wild imagining,
struggle only makes me tired.
A mystery I am, a conundrum of indignation
and grace, a tightrope walker without a net,
quiet soul with boisterous laugh in constant configuration
of how life is approached, never satisfied, and yet,
what makes me tick within the shell
of a woman few will ever know?
Could it be that I will never tell,
afraid misperception of unwillingness
to divulge my inner man is always
misconstrued, allowing hurt and pain
from those who only want a show,
or, is it the discomfort I feel from
those with whom I invest my trust
and they refuse to honor it.
Friendly, helpful, unsparkling conversationalist,
funny, thoughtful, rarely makes a list,
and back to God, I never really answered
that burning question—my faith runs deep,
my trust in Him has never wavered,
I’ve witnessed hate, and love, and anguish,
heard myself speaking of the insanity of me,
though here I sit, writing out this wish
for a new day that will end in eternity.
I’m sure some wonder what became
of the chubby, blonde little girl—
she grew up, conquered, faltered, and altered,
and even to me I’m an enigma in this world.
Welcome to my Labyrinth.
The twists and turns inside my mind at times convoluted
with sudden dead ends, darkened thoughts which reveal
nothing but more darkened thoughts, endless runs of
barren ground where nothing sparks creativity, padded
walls where I beat my fists and scream into the ether,
sparkling passages filled with accomplishments and dreams,
places in the cleft of a wall where I lay my head and rest
from the persistent highs and lows of life.
I have always wanted to be a spy.
From the first day peeking inside a Nancy Drew mystery, I was
hooked. Where else, but between the covers of a blue plaid book,
could a little blonde kid grow up to be a solver of fantastic
mysteries, or better yet—an espionage agent? Little did my
mother realize, as I immersed myself, the fantasies implanted
in my imagination would solidify, fostering all types of behavior.
Surprisingly, she didn’t squelch the insanity or my grandiose
dreams. The thrill of sitting beneath an overgrown bush, as it
brushed against my face in silenced seclusion, escalated the
needs of my shy six-year-old status, while I madly scribbled
notes regarding the disguises of those passing near, watching
for crimes I was sure they’d commit before the hidden eyes of
the fair-haired wonder.
Slowly, my spy cache grew. Begging for paraphernalia to
furnish my spy kit, I soon possessed an arsenal, including a
smooth black gun, worthy of what James Bond used, along with
a camera for taking all-important surveillance photos, which
both shot plastic bullets upon my cold demand, as well as
walkie-talkies, and a stylized pen fashioned from something
purloined which allowed covert conversations with spy central.
One of my prized possessions was a well-secreted identification
card revealing my agent status only when put under a magic red
film. Ah, life was good as spying became second nature, each
endeavor relished when I took my love of the underworld and
placed it in an unsecured environment—school.
While students did their thing, developing a system intrinsic
to the spy was where I set my sights, sure possessing the ability
to read upside down and backward were inherent traits which
only needed practice. Searching for new schemes, writing
techniques were made up of codes which I diligently checked in
the mirror for each message awaiting decoded revelation.
Much to my chagrin, I never learned to develop invisible ink.
Despite begging for chemicals, my mother never felt the urge
to become homeless while I blew up the kitchen with
experiments, although I was encouraged to inspect any type
of foreign matter, including blood and hair samples with my
trusty microscope. Raised by a mother in the aerospace
industry and being the child of a science and electronics
teacher made for an interesting mix I often refer to as my
slippery DNA ladder. Did I mention I was a geek?
Undaunted, life as a secret agent filled my head with
So, while Florence Nightingale and Madame Curie were
wonderful role models (played I was both), it wasn’t until the
appearance of Emma Peel, British agent extraordinaire, when
my quest for secret agent status found real possibilities.
Here was a woman who looked fantastic while she kicked the
enemy’s butt, saving the British empire from infiltration and
attack. Yes, Emma became my ideal.
I read every mystery I could get my hands on. Let me rephrase
that—any mystery my grandmother (another Emma) allowed
me to read. I must confess mysteries, thrillers, and a library
filled with suspense still keeps me reading. Throw in a bit of
horror and I’m your gal.
Alas, I never realized my dream of growing to five-feet-nine
inches, owning an Austin Martin, or saving humanity with
guns and the ability to read and write backward. Life somehow
altered my imaginative dreams. However, the unquenchable
thirst for spying and mysteries never faded, nor did thinking
like a secret agent. Nuggets of intrigue remained deeply buried
within my heart and psyche, awaiting exploration, nurturing
a germ of an idea … writing thrillers.
Those who know me know I love the intrigue of getting inside
someone’s head to deliciously dig around in there with shiny
cutlery to find out what makes a person tick, or what gives
them ticks. I like complex characters and plots. I like to be
disturbed by something which alters a character’s normalcy.
I love it when I can play all that out on a page and someone
will say my writing came too close to reality.
A book and its sequel were written (the Shamrock series, yet
unpublished) and in those books the main character is an
amnesiac skilled with a gun since childhood. While the need
to experience everything I wrote wasn’t necessary, the gun
issue was. How could I tell an audience what it felt like to hold
that piece of heavy cold metal in an aching hand while blowing
a hole in someone’s head? Fate intervened. I would experience
what I had daily practiced with my amateur plastic collection.
Shooting a real gun.
My day at the shooting range ended with me emptying a
larger-than-life .45 of its ammo into a paper target. The
dissipating smoke revealed my performance … a bullet clean
through the center X which left all but the center of the letter
intact. Perhaps one day I’ll frame the target and hang it next
to my Pulitzer Prize certificate for outstanding fiction,
whenever it is awarded.
A girl can dream, can’t she? I thought back to my childhood,
happy my imagination had fostered ideas not necessarily
shared by other little girls on the playground.
Deep in my heart I have never given up on the dream of
being a spy, but learned to take those dreams in a new
direction. You just never know where your dreams will lead …
Lest you think I somehow got trapped in a cycle of
never-ending mystery, I was able to accomplish a few
other things as I crept through life. Singing: my true passion,
and one I got to live out for a good portion of my life.
Painting land and seascapes in oil. Chasing storm clouds
with a camera so I could hopefully transfer the images onto
canvas and do their grandeur justice. Luckily, I like science
so I don’t tip over from all the right-brained activity.
Yes, you never know where your dreams will lead.
Maybe life is a mystery after all.
Thanks for reading. I hope you return.
E. A. Irwin/P. A. Matthews
The Pensive Pen
I live my life by practiced pensive pen,
The words well chosen from my mindless cache,
Across the lines each letter tells me when
To end the sentence – period or dash.
Each notebook filled with twisted spiral spine,
On pages rife with ordinary ink,
Lies prose, or poem, or solitary line,
My choice, no matter what the others think.
A pattern is emerging as I write,
An unknown author-this, my daily plight.
~ P. A. Matthews/E. A. Irwin
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