Poetry | Lila Matsumoto | Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water


Lila Matsumoto

Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water

A Poetry Book Society recommendation for Winter 2021, Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water is the second collection by Lila Matsumoto, and is published by Prototype. Comprised of five discrete sequences of poems and poem-stories, the collection moves through different voices and times, landscapes and interiors, inviting the reader to participate in the creation of a strange yet familiar world full of ordinary-extraordinary moments. The following three poems are taken from the sequence Rouleau of Songs, and are reproduced here with permission.


Piece and buoy, all.
This rock – gneiss –
a-working at shells.

Moment, that different cork.

Start from cardboard or heartsease
stone-crop or balsawood.
scalpel on a mat.
Sometimes more needed looking, missing a small element.
Cross-section ease, like a twist. Another’s in the jig with the glue.

Journey in the open distilled to a maze
narrowing to a thread through wrack and marram.

Don’t take a jump in the final steps. Lichen relates I
to a context more appropriate, viz. bird’s-foot trefoil.

From that shellmade end, the boat’s volcanic.
Whereas up in the moon
a little element floated.



An early movement is passing
hardening into homily
or a heroic portraiture

The forecastle white with cloth
Cache of statuettes, her slip
Stars through window on distaff side

Clue’s in the layette
Birthpang of the offhand occult
Rogue habit as maternal detail

As pressing as the need to speak
is the need not to be found
A litany of things inessential

Nothing human is safe
from suspicion, lest of all
the music of a life



The city is a body ringing itself with sound. Two voices,
three, in clarion getting louder carrying down the street.

Remind yourself of death each time an elevator opens,
as the song that implores in four-four the watch to be
turned face down.

Pain is always circumscribed in music’s sweetness,
calling origin and disappearance of sound. Is the city
then not a stance against the contingency of ends,
dorming everything before the raid?

Tarrying in the opus: food everywhere spilling out,
gleaming globes of fruit, white-silver starlights
garlanding the street. Also: a churn to cream wealth,
the highest botching of an earlier wood, of flesh
seared insensate.

Do you live the things or observe them? What voice
effusive and quick, thin and coercing? From door or
window to the sleeping city – what must you sing?


Two Twin Pipes Sprout Water by Lila Matsumoto is published by Prototype. To purchase a copy, go here

Lila Matsumoto’s publications include the poetry collection Urn & Drum (Shearsman, 2018) and the chapbooks Soft Troika (If a Leaf Falls Press, 2016) and Allegories From My Kitchen (Sad Press, 2015). She teaches poetry and creative-critical writing at the University of Nottingham and plays in the bands Food People and Cloth.

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