new zealand electronic poetry centre


Wystan Curnow

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


Matisse Asleep
Matisse had not ever been able
able to sleep for any length
of time at one time as opposed
to short sleeps at several times
He could nap but not sleep

Matisse could not sleep for
more than five hours at one
time could sleep scarcely as much
as certainly not more than
five hours. Matisse did naps
but could not keep asleep.
Matisse had not ever been able
to sleep hours at a stretch
Moreover Matisse had never
got to sleep without a light
and the radio a light and
a radio switched on since
he was twenty four or twenty five
Not since that age had Matisse
been able to go to sleep never
to go there in the dark, in the darkness
not ever to sleep in that time
Matisse has discovered he has
just now disovered a method:
in the evening around about
10 o'clock he has someone help him
With their help Matisse gets dressed
around 10 o'clock and he goes
out. Matisse goes out, he goes to one
of the brasseries. Those brasseries 
one of them. In the evening around ten
Matisse goes out to one of the
Brasseries. And he drinks half a glass
of beer half a glass only Matisse eats
he drinks takes time his time
and he eats eats some of those french
fried potatoes some of those
french fries you buy in a scrap of
brown paper, those he eats
Then Matisse will once again
taking his time the time after
having woken have another
or the other half of a glass
of beer and afterwards he manages
Without fail, Matisse manages
without a light without the radio
or the raised voices at four am
the broadcast of the radio play
at four o'clock in the morning
in the darkness and the quiet
Matisse is able to sleep
for hours and hours at a time and
without fail. He is able to sleep.
Matisse sleeps. Matisse asleep.

Last updated 24 April, 2005