Poetry of Matt Ringey

My brother Matt moved to another world on March 24, 1985. After he left, I found a book of poetry in his apartment in Lowell, MA where he had been attending college. I decided to start posting selections of his words here, under the words that came to me as I created this page, as interspersed with a few of the entries I found in one of my old journals.

COPYRIGHT 2008 MO RINGEY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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October 25 Sunday 2008 6:49 am

Last evening’s rain, so balmy and windy, became a crash; more of an implosion really, or so it sounded. I inspected my windows and, finding nothing amiss, went off to dream of floating on an ocean with no land in sight.

matt_1yearold_1200

Drinking my coffee at 6 am, velvety dark – the morning and the coffee – my path was hampered by the debris of the greenhouse window box; the crash I had heard. Somehow my first thought was to tell Matt about this. The air seemed full of him, more so than most mornings. He was everywhere, he was the air, and in the air. A single star shone above and twinkled at me familiarly. I had the strongest sensation that it was Matt. I thought about all the times I had picked up the phone to call him, and still do, and tell him about things; natural disasters, 911, that Jamoka had died, about this new thing called the internet, cell phones and my show at the museum, about a new broken bone or a book I had read – all reminiscent of that familiar feeling on trips to far-flung places such as Bangkok, Strasburg. Auckland, Melbourne, Tokyo, Spain and Chaing Mai and how I always looked for him there, thinking this is where he is, for he can not be gone; this is where I will find him. But he is not there because he is here. He has always been here. Today he is this star.

Matt Ringey

PHOTO BY MO RINGEY

POETRY OF Matt Ringey 6/19/62 – 3/24/85

So you say you’re my friend
Through thick and through thin
But what in the end?
Which one of us wins?
You throw me a party
Everyone attends
Then over the radio
A warning they send
“The bombs might be coming”
When exactly? Who knows
Take cover, grab shelter
Stock water and clothes
Everyone clamors
The future looks bleak
Like animals fighting
The strong take the weak
And if I have shelter
For which you desire
Are you going to stop
To think for a while?
Or will you act blind
Try to save your own life
Maybe your children
Maybe your wife
The radio crackles
A false alarm has been sound
For now we’re all spared
But when doomsday’s round?

–Matt Ringey
4/5/84

Matt Ringey

PHOTO BY MO RINGEY

A dream, a dream
Floats through my head
Takes my spirit
From all I dread
Dream much more
Than I could ever do
But in these dreams
I can always find you
Think I might have
Gone too far though
Now my dreams
Bring only sorrow
In my mind
A world so vast
I wish, I wish
That love would last
And so I wait
Maybe forever
Within my dream
When we’re together

-Matt Ringey
3/20/85

Matt Ringey

PHOTO BY MO RINGEY

Winding foreign highway leads
To a strange and timeless town
One I have not been through yet
Can’t hurt to look around
The church and school on Main Street
With the tall oak tress abound
White picket fence and hemlock shrubs
Of the little house surround
Summertime, and in my mind
Nowhere else to be
Swimming streams and daylight dreams
Sets my spirit free
Riding incognito
Keeps me distant from the rest
They know I’m in here but cannot see me
It’s the way I like it best
Pretty faces turn and stare
As one lone cowboy rides
I’d like to stop and talk someday
But my true identity must hide
So as quickly as I came upon
This surreal folk town
It shrinks in rear-view mirrors
After one last look around

-Matt Ringey
1/24/84

Matt Ringey

PHOTO BY MO RINGEY

When everyone is sound asleep
I rise up out of bed
With a cloudy radiance
Glowing in my head
Staring out at lazy fog
Dreams of days gone by
Dreams of life and dreams of love
Of which I find inside
Hours upon hours
These thoughts parade my head
Right to the edge of destiny
Quiet palace of the dead
Nobody seems to come here anymore
Am I the only one?
If this is so, now where do I go?
I get confused and run
I did my battle; it took me years
To find out who I am
Now I wish to spread it out
To help everyone I can
My God, you are within me now
There’s nothing I can do
but find someone to share you with
And start my life anew
I can’t change the world we live in
I can’t escape, I can’t pretend
And after all I wonder
Have I reached my end?

Undated

I hear you pray those words to God
What really do they mean?
There’s a heaven right down here on Earth
If only you’ll look real keen
“The Kingdon, the Power, the Glory are yours,
for now and forever more”
Just reading these words in church each week
Is really quite a bore
Beauty is the kingdom
While truth is all the glory
When love is in your power
You make life your own story
There is something that eluded us
With “competition” and advance
But it’s right before our very eyes
If you’ll only give it half a chance

MR 5/9/84

So you’re over the rush
Asking, “so, what’s next?”
Now that the rush is over
What Else is left
Mothing else mattered
When you held me near
I thought you wer great
But you’re there and I’m here
Nothing’s been lost
So I won’t shed a tear
Though the girl is no longer
The meaning stands clear
I was high when we met
You showed me the way
The rain would not even
Wipe the smile away
Last time we crossed
A quick kiss then you’re gone
Tell me, please tell me
Was I right or wrong
Maybe it’s best
The way it should be
But someday I’d like
You back next to me

MR 6/28/84

You’ve got your reality
I’ve got mine
I’d like to tell you about it
Sometime
You say that it matters
You tell me it’s real
What good is it if
It’s not what you feel
Inside…

MR [undated]

Matt Ringey, Mo Ringey April 1968 Cornwall, VT

LETTERS TO MATT FROM A FRIGHTENED YOUNG GIRL, HIS SISTER, AS FOUND IN AN OLD JOURNAL FROM WAY BACK

9/20/85
Dear Matt-
The sun was out today. It brought me back to the cemetery – a warm, sunny day and a black, gloomy day. I’m missing you – I don’t care where you go, I don’t care what you do… just take me with you. Today was bad. Some days are good, some days are bad. But a little piece of each day is always bad. But it doesn’t help. the magnitude, the impact, some days are evil. I want to remember the good; the hurt perseveres. I want to just ask why? It’s too late. I want to know your dreams, your hopes, your fears. I’m so tired. I’m going to read Winnie the Pooh and go to bed. Where are you? I love you.

9/22/85
Dear Matt-
I have a wall and I erected it when EVERYTHING HAPPENED. Somehow I can’t get past that term and my thoughts go no further back than that day. So I daydream about the future instead. Things have changed and so have I. Sometimes I don’t know where I am. I think I may cry soon, I think I may be able to. A Dream, a dream, floats through my head, takes my spirit from all I dread, In my dream I am with you, and EVERYTHING didn’t happen. I read Winnie the Pooh and went to bed.

9/25/85
Dear Matt-
I saw a nun riding a bicycle on Main Street today, wearing the whole GETUP. It made me feel really good – she was smiling. But it made me feel kinda bad cuz I didn’t know how to call the whole GETUP. It was sunny and warm. Nice day. Yesterday it rained all the time. I walked past the Hotel Northampton on the way to the bus and without knowing it, I ripped up all the flowers in the boxes with my umbrella. I felt nothing. Well, a little guilt.

9/27/85
Dear Matt-
Waited all day for the hurricane. Funny how your whole outlook changes when you really feel life – meaning how real and how horrible it can be; how mortal we are. Spent the day at mom and dad’s, prepared to protect them from any of [Hurricane] Gloria’s evil attempts. Turned out to be a big nothing storm.

10 Responses to “Poetry of Matt Ringey”

  1. Hello,
    I read the poetry and was amazed at what Matt wrote…very good!
    He was one of our group of friends while attending U. Lowell.
    Miss him.
    Cliff

  2. Alison Spitzer Says:

    Laura, as I sit here with tears running down my cheeks, I am so pleased that you published this…to see Matt, read his words, but also to read your feelings the latter being the most real and moving to me. I love seeing pics of you and your brother it has been such a long time…I can see his face just like one of the pics in my mind. Thank you for sharing this with me, I cried for the loss of my roommate from college for the first time in a long time reading this, beautiful!

  3. Just realized as I am celebrating my 25th wedding anniversary, you had a much more somber anniversary this year. My condolences and prayers Mo. He was a great guy.

  4. Thank you so much for publishing Matt’s poetry I’ve waithed so long to see them agian. He was a beautiful person! I remember when I used to visit him at college
    he would read his poetry to me. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.

  5. lori, and so you shall have my photocopy of the entire notebook, in his handwriting. It belongs nowhere else but in the hands of someone who celebrates his life in thought each day. xxoo

    thank you for your comment. it means a lot to me. And, Matt is a loyal reader of my blog. ;-)

  6. Thank you Laura! Maybe we can get together and catch up.

  7. Laura/Mo,
    Thanks for sharing Matt’s poetry. It is beautiful. He was a very talented writer…like you. I am glad a I got a chance to read it and I am sorry for your loss of him, but glad that you are celebrating his life. :-)

  8. Alison Spitzer Says:

    Laura, I remember all these pictures wow they are nice ones too. That is my kitchen we spoke of in the 2nd one I think it is THAT makes me sad I loved that house it killed me when it was sold…Your brother doesn’t take a single bad photo such a cute sweet guy and it runs in the family! The poetry is so nice to read and you can be proud of this tribute you are putting together. I personally am glad you are in my life anew!

  9. Donna Lamarre Says:

    Laura
    I remember those pictures so fondly of all of us back then. I wish we had kept in closer contact. SO glad we reconnected

  10. Mary Avalos Says:

    Hello Laura/Mo, another ULowell freind of Matt’s, thanks so much for publishing these poems and photos here ,I just recently became aware of this site. It did not register back then how good Matt’s poetry really is. Still miss him and think of him often, especially this time of year or when I’m out in (his beloved) Western Mass, where my son attends UMA. Creativity seems to run in the family, YOUR art work, so beautiful and truly original – I would love to see it sometime. Thanks again for sharing, hope it’s not too late to comment,

    Mary A.

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