top of page

Wendy-O Matik: California Poets Part 7, Four Poems

Wendy O-Matik

July 1st, 2024

California Poets: Part VII

Wendy-O Matik

Four Poems

The Clueless Ones


Cows circle in open fields,

conspiring about what to do to support the ecosystem.


Seagulls perch on steep rocky cliffs,

strategizing for the revolution.


Aphids congregate on the underside of crisp, green dino kale,

imagining their role in the uprising.


Salamanders settle onto sun-baked rocks,

educating their young on the importance of sustainability.


200-year-old elder blowfish meet with coral reef

in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean

and babble on incessantly,

brainstorming creative ways to save their shared habitat.


External parasites join forces with gorillas

under darkened forest canopies of western Africa,

debating tactics and procedural details, and

plotting ways to conserve and redistribute resources fairly.


Giant river otters of South America

network with crabs, shellfish, crayfish, frogs, and rodents,

scheming to rescue endangered species and cleaning up their waterways.


Mass migratory species stave off hibernation

in order to prepare for the impending global crisis,

while helping other more vulnerable animals along the way.


In the quiet early morning hours,

you can hear a frolicking chorus of crickets and cicadas

buzzing in a universal non-human language saying,

“All for one, and one for all,” as if they too had been read

The Three Musketeers in their youth.

There is an intuitive sense among them all

That no one is to be left behind.


Only humans

graze absentmindedly

or prefer to stand in line

for the latest sale at Wal-Mart,

with little regard or interest or worry

in saving themselves or the planet

from the inevitable onslaught

of injustice


and predictable extinction.

White Wash



While sleep escapes her,

she lists her confessions.


I was conceived in part because of race

this was 1966

I was delivered in a white-walled hospital on white bed sheets

beside the spirit of thousands of white babies before me

amidst white doctors

and white nurses

while people of other races

held the janitorial jobs—

     scrubbing toilets, dumping garbage

     serving food, doing laundry

I grew up in a predominantly

white neighborhood

because white privilege bleached the streets

in the image of their choosing.

I went to schools packed with a predominantly

all-white student body with all-white teachers

and all-white administrators and all-white textbooks,

     transcribing a dominant Eurocentric colonialist perspective

whose white privilege excluded the accomplishments

   and contributions of people of color

because they were taught to do so.


White employers hire me

based on my privilege of white reflection.

I gain entry into places because of my white status—

     universities, clubs, bars, jobs, organizations of the elite

     summer camp, student exchange program

Because of my whiteness

I am excluded and protected

from gangs, juvie, prison, military service, racial profiling

and other lower socio-economic traps.

I am permitted unlimited access to

free drugs, parties, neighborhoods,

stores, and gated communities

without suspicion or second-guessing of my right to be there.

Because I am a gold card-carrying white person

with detailed, specified entitlements,

society serves me, and my white brothers and sisters,

without questions

respectively and accordingly.


I am alive and here today

in this white-washed apartment

owned by my white landlord

holding this job, savings account,

car, clothes, and all the rest

thanks to my sweet little white ass.

And believe me,

when I tell you,

that I never forget it,

nor the heavy accountability

that comes with it.



I’ve become unmoored.

With no anchor to an attachment,

this life sinks and stifles at its own peril


to pointless erosion.

Without a secure connection,

     all meaning evaporates

     all purpose voided

Blanketed in starkness

a new perspective emerges

made of fear and endangerment.


For 19 years

it’s always been the same dream.

I’m on a small, one-seater,

battered wooden row boat

far from shore with no current.

I am adrift and without oars,

shrouded in a dense heavy fog.

I am gripping a thick coarse rope

which is stealing swiftly through my hands,

shredding my palms raw.

When I look at my hands, the blood is dry.

The ribbons of my old world

      my former life

      my previous coveted identity

have been yanked away.

I can never have them back again.

Forever over.


In our current modern day reality

the disruption between the couple

is abandoned, forsaken

      no reconciliation can happen

      no room for error

But in the movies

and in each and every one of our fantasies

the lost partner

at the last minute is pitted against a fate

worse than hell itself

   Countless lives are at stake

   Countless measures are taken into calculation

And suddenly there is room for error

One partner imagines their life

is held only in balance by the other

who is reeling 50.2 miles out of bounds

derailing somewhere near a heavily populated area

with enough toxic substances onboard

to obliterate a small town of 650,000 people.

And the partner thinks... maybe...

    this whole argument

    this whole messy bullshit of an affair

Could have gone down entirely different... maybe...

In my fantasy

he has a change of heart

he sees an insular light of loss and forgiveness

and wants only connection.


of course in reality

never receives his new lost message.

This reversal of rejection never gets relayed.

This true act of heroic devotion is averted.


After 19 years of separation

I live in a mass grave of broken hearts.

It’s a different kind of modern day holocaust.

I’ve become a refugee of despondent dreams

I’m a shipwreck of failed relationship

after relationship

after relationship

after relationship

after relationship,

to show for after nearly two decades of effort.


Singlehood is nothing to brag about.

You become a survivor

but in the end

you know you won’t survive.

I have come to learn that aging

makes me cling more.

Singlehood brings fear of isolation,

my own fragility capsizing any hope.

So I’ve stopped watching romance movies

unless it promises that

someone dies

and love perishes.

A film simply must

mirror reality

if I’m to imagine any possibility of a life

beyond this smothering loneliness.



the binary gender dilemma is not an easy one

I stumble over inadequate words

and pronouns

and the intention behind their secret agendas.

Because I am biologically woman,

I am a walking assumption

the moment I step outside the safety of my door.

Because society defines me

by my cunt

by my tits

by my uterus

by the number of children I can

or cannot conceive,

I have felt the pressures of social conformity

narrowing my choices in life.

Because I feel comfortable mentally and emotionally

with the fluidity of gender

within myself,

I am less boxed in than most.

With fearless lovers of mine,

We are an amalgamation of woman and man

man and man

woman and woman

all at the same time

We toss out our gender along with our egos

and role play in the unknown

We forget our gender

We dismantle our preconceived notions of the sexes

We fuck our sexually limiting categories

We suck and kick and bite and cry

our way through to distortion

blurring the paradigm

to fit our fantasy.


Which brings me back to the

revolution of bodies and minds

the physics of our empowerment

virgin touches the whore

brown eats out black eats out red eats out white eats out yellow

cellular meets molecular

type A+ sucks type O

planetary dark matter bumps into galactic anti-matter

intuition tops cognition

hormones fucking hormones

fucking single celled amoebas

the origin of all living things


In my fantasy

I cannot determine where my cock

becomes your cock

I cannot distinguish your fist from my pussy

From the primordial scream of our loving making

I am not concerned about our division of sex

our uncommon ground

our differences

I am sealing our fate in my ejaculation

because as a biological woman

I can

And because I am man enough to meet you half way

around the linguistic burden that we all share,

the borders of he-she-they-it

I lift up this final teardrop of our human essence

in reverence for the time to come

when you and I

cannot see or feel the separation

only the bloodline that runs in both our veins

as one.       

Author Bio:

Wendy-O Matik is a poet, writer, activist, and the author of Love Like Rage and Redefining Our Relationships. Back in the 90s, she could be found doing spoken word in the Bay Area punk scene and touring with various bands through the US, Canada, U.K, Australia, and New Zealand. Today, she lives on an organic farm in Santa Rosa, CA, where she has coauthored 11 mindfulness meditation books and still dabbles in poetry from time to time.                                                     


bottom of page