voyeur poems is a collection of poetic instances where the observers feels absent from the scene they see but, in turn, cannot not escape the situation they have become a part of. These simple views of brief moments are centered around delicate sounds and sights that lead to visions of quiet heart brake and resonant daydreams.


Winner of the 2006 Kansas Authors Club Nelson Poetry Book Award


“An astonishing book of serious philosophical weight, like the poetry of the late Wallace Stevens…This book takes many risks and triumphs over them.”
– Jonathan Holden
Poet Laureate of Kansas 2006-2007


“The daydreams in Matthew Porubsky’s voyeur poems never slip into easy fantasies; his voyeur/narrator is generous with details. His particulars keep the poems grounded, always connected to a sensuous, credible world where ‘the stem from the cherry/…matches your lips.’ Like the narrator, when I read the poems in Porubsky’s first book, I, too, felt ‘the hairs on my arms and neck/ rise like the dead.’ ”
– Phil Miller
Editor, The Same


“In voyeur poems the world is under close surveillance. Through his keen-eyed poems, Porubsky faithfully renders all that his steady inward and outward gaze reveals, seeing past the surfaces of things into their very souls.”
– Amy Fleury
author Beautiful Trouble

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Poems from voyeur poems



from vacant alleyway: a crowd, part two


i’m not sure why i always saw her with you.

even when we were together, even in bed, i felt like

she was there.  sometimes, when we would go on walks,

i would lag behind to watch you walk.

you didn’t walk, it was more of a strut, really,

but then she would flash into my head,

and i would know we would never be a close as you two were.

maybe i’m jealous of all the time,

all the experiences, you two had together.

i know you still love her, you always will,

and it’s in a way you will never love me.

she will always have a certain piece of your life, your heart.

i found your old pictures one day, i never told you.

there was a picture of you sleeping in bed.

she must have taken it.

your comforter, the one that we shared too,

the one with her lipstick stain on the corner,

was wrapped around you like a cocoon.

in the picture, above the bed, the bed you two shared,

the bed we shared, was a painting of an apple.

you always told me she was an artist.

i noticed the apple more than you in the picture.

it was perfect, green and reds fading together to a color of innocence.

i never wanted to talk about that picture because

then we would be talking about her again…

but she was always there anyway,

even if we didn’t say a word about her.

i would see you sitting alone and know you were thinking about her,

the way she smelt, the way she tasted.  i never thought

i was in her league.  maybe that’s why she never went away,

i couldn’t make her go away.

i don’t think she will ever go away for you.

like when you held my hand, i thought

you were thinking about hers and how mine was different.

i know she was always in your head and heart when we would

talk or take a walk or make love, she was there,

staring at me through your eyes.  i looked at you and saw her.

then, after i found that picture, i saw why you ate apples every morning.

is that why you ate apples every morning?  to remember her?

were you always thinking about her?

she was always there, right next to you.




from vacant alleyway: thin air part one


outside, this boy, short with brown skin,

stares at a page of notes taped to the door,

shoulders slumped with trombone in position.

he stares at the page rippling in the wind

watching and reading notes.

his shoulders rise, brass twinkling on his face,

and slides the slide, over-greased with inexperienced hands,

and blows…

bhhrrrrp            bhhhhhrp            bbbhrrr

his foot taps.

bhhhhhrrp            bhrrrrr

his foot stops.

he stares at the notes on the page.

he plays at the door.  he plays to the door.

the closed door.

bhhrrrr                        bhrrrpp            bhhhhhhhrp

his foot taps.

his notes wave the page.

he plays at the door.  he plays to the door.

the closed door.

his foot stops.

he stops and counts to himself with slumped shoulders.




daydream girl no.8 1/2

for federico fellini


appearing out of the curtains,

you step softly and place a glass of water

next to my bed, pull back the sheets,

smoothing creases to perfect corners,

and set my slippers at the foot of the bed.

in a white slip, you flip through pages of my writing

at the desk in front of the window,

read about yourself, and laugh in ancient beauty.

you stare at me over your shoulder

as i tumble into bed.

you lay your white veil over the lamp

to dim the light for my tired eyes,

kiss the palm of my hand

and let your brown hair float on my face

as you lean in to kiss my forehead.

your straps slide off your shoulders

and i watch your slip fashion to falling folds.

the next day, you return

dressed like a black swan

and drive me to a dreamy alleyway

where you sit on a stone step,

your chin on your knees,

wind whistling in our ears,

and you talk about love and salvation.

you see right through me,

to the confusion,

but you smile with dark eyes and long lashes,

waiting to bring order through innocence.


originally in The Same 2003



barefoot cemetery blues


i sit in front of and to the side of

the stones with their icy shine

in the fading echoes of the sun

twilighting over the trembling trees

tracing shadows like the dry dirt

cracking away from the marble

reflections of remembrance.

the silk flowers rip

and the dry flowers rot

as the west nile wind

winds around headstones

and i scratch imaginary itches.

insects sound under a purpled sky

as a shadowed spider

swings and spins its web,

working to wait.

i see their faces in absent stares

with shut eyes and sinking skin,


the wind whips a red balloon

in random rages on a redder

ribbon that is pulled down

and snaps up and is pulled down

and snaps away from the


decorations of music boxes

and blown out candles,

baby shoes, virgins, flags,

weathered pictures and weeping wreaths

that once asked attention

for those who needed none,

fade in the light and in the night.

i hear silent nursery rhymes

sneaking from lidded cribs

in lonely laments and requiems,

roared and whispered,

riddled with remnants of withered roots.

i hear them singing showtunes,

humming while they put on lipstick,

and praying as they clean their fingernails.

i close my eyes for stoneless sight

and feel them all in the grass between my toes.




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