Matthue Roth


POEM: 'Carlisle Street (The Last Ghetto)'

By Matthue Roth

You and me on Carlisle Street
feels so illegitimate, holding hands
strolling along stands of Tasmanian fruits and music stores
two bars, more urbane than urban
where the Jewish kids meet. flirt. buy each other drinks.
but always go home alone.

A rabbi once told us
always have guests for Shabbos dinner.
It’s a segulah for shalom bayis.

What that means in English is,
you fight less
with other people around.

On Carlisle Street
we are never alone
every five steps is
another long-lost friend
or the cousin of one.
To move a block
Takes hours.
We are the opposite Of a marathon.

Chana, 22 years old
and still single, anxiously
trades names of old flames
pairing up, kids flying out
as fast as photocopies

She’s the last in her class
to get married. She is an advertisement
for herself,
dressed in nostalgic black & white
getting more severe every year
like a bottle of wine
she poses with a picture of her husband
propped against her heart.
Now all she has to do
Is find him.

John lives alone with the ghosts
of his grandparents
in their old apartment. He is the wildest
kid we know, visiting exorcists and
death-rock shows, throwing footballs over
international borders, but at home
he is tender. At sunset
the three of them have tea
making dirty jokes that offend
none of their sensibilities.

My cousin Karl
80 years old next month and never married,
I’m his closest relative
and I’m never here
drinks coffee and talks
to waitresses 60 years younger than he is
tells them he’s the president of the USA

They never doubt it.
He’s earned this retirement
a conductor on Melbourne trains for 30 years
and 5 years in Nazi slave camps
now he sits in his old barrack-mate’s café
Glick’s Bakery and bagels that don’t taste like bagels,
they taste like bread
He’ll sit there for hours like a fishing net,
waiting for people
to trickle in.

I know where he is. I’ll bite.
I like stories,
and it’s nice to be legitimate
for a change.Read More


A Lonely Golem

By Matthue Roth

Earlier this week, Matthue Roth wrote about why kids love scary stories. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit: Read More


Why Kids Love Scary Stories

By Matthue Roth

Matthue Roth’s newest book is “My First Kafka: Runaways, Rodents, and Giant Bugs.” He lives in Brookyn with his family and keeps a secret diary at www.matthue.com. His blog posts are featured on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit: Read More


Jews, Non-Jews, and Being Losers Together

By Matthue Roth

Earlier this week, Matthue Roth blogged about publishing a real life old-fashioned book and getting up early. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit: Read More


Writers Should Get Up Early

By Matthue Roth

Yesterday, Matthue Roth blogged about publishing a real life old-fashioned book. His blog posts are being featured this week on The Arty Semite courtesy of the Jewish Book Council and My Jewish Learning’s Author Blog Series. For more information on the series, please visit: Read More



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