Damn Your Eyes by Matt Clifford

Damn Your Eyes front
Cover Design by Jona Fine.


Damn Your Eyes by Matt Clifford will officially release October 26, 2017.  To request a  PDF for review, email thepaperplanepilots@gmail.com

Damn Your Eyes:

Edited by Michael J. Hetzler
Interior photos by Chris Eason
Back desciption by Brice Maiurro
Interior Design by Sara Khayat

Cover design by Jona Fine

Back Description

Matt Clifford is spiking the Kool-Aid.
A caustic, yet vulnerable, thirty-something brat.
He builds a box just to escape it.
Self-deprecating, but he’s taking you with him.
Matt Clifford is Denver, but he’d never admit it.
This book is equal parts Matt and Clifford, but only sometimes.
Matt is a full-time poet who sunlights as a tax accountant.
His poems are, at once, collective and separate.
Damn your preconceived notions.
Don’t be so reliant on a back cover to tell you what to think.
This book deserves to be read.
Damn this book.
Damn your eyes.


Matt Clifford is a coastal transplant, city-ruining culture suck, snorting stardust off angels’ halos like a tax accountant and decorating the loft of his mind with student loan art. His poems don’t make sense, his band doesn’t even play real songs, and he can’t grow facial hair.


Please join the Paper Plane Pilots in welcoming Matt Clifford to Los Angeles for the release reading of his latest book of poetry, Damn Your Eyes (Paper Plane Pilots, 2017).

Urban Social House
5220 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Join & view the Facebook Event here.


Goodreads Book Giveaway

Damn Your Eyes by Matt Clifford

Damn Your Eyes

by Matt Clifford

Giveaway ends November 15, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway



I have always been a writer; to myself.

Hundreds of magazines, blogs, newspapers and publishing houses have turned down my writing.

I was mad, even depressed.

I’d go through stages of self hatred, thinking I would never be good enough and my writing was shit; I’d never get any better.

You want to know why I’m not mad anymore?

I realized why I write, and it’s not for the approval of others. I write as an outlet, because on those nights, where I think my life is falling apart, somehow when it’s all down on paper it seems to ease the pain.

It seems simpler when it’s out there for me to examine. An overwhelming thought is bundled into a thin piece of paper.

I write because there is no one that can ever understand what’s going on in my mind and to spill it out on a page seems to be a better idea than keeping it bottled up inside to rot.

I write hoping that one day


it could reach someone in need.

Someone that needs to know they are not alone in their discomfort, and needs to know that people go through similar events that break their hearts and shatter their souls, but they live to see another day and the feelings pass.

I write because I pray that one day I can look back on these pieces of paper and feel like I’ve grown

and changed

and moved on

from the pain that once had me spewing mislead sentences, unforgivable language and poems that didn’t rhyme.

I write to feel comfortable in the madness that surrounds me.

I write to feel whole again; if only for that moment.

city off a hill

we sit silent      like prayers.

           buildings like    lightening bugs.

i left   a poem     on the fridge    for you.

i want   to scream         at you, but i don’t         know you.

          thank you         for taking         me       in

          you have to clear it all out.

                               like that?

home   on speed dial

       tethered                       like hope.

i’ve been told               that you’re                    listening

       i don’t understand        why

there’s so little             natural             light.




in the daydream, you bred light and photographed ghosts. ripples were wrinkles that formed where your lips met. you spoke to skeletons about today’s war. the chess game is silent.

in this version, you don’t build windchimes. you don’t find peace. in this version, you are not the standing ovation. you are creaking light.

shhhh open your palm and ask for a ghost. end the night with worry. sink into growth. the daydream was never a promise. it was never pixels or skin or choice.

you bow your head, your back to the violent sun.

please forgive me for cradling you before you left without your light.

Poison Street

I’ve tried
And now I’m tired
I tried to be support
And push us to better ourselves
Moving away from the things
That make us terrible people

I tried to do this with you
But two days and you were gone
Running back up to these poisons
And poisonous people
That you once said you hated

I wanted to start this with you
We were freshening our souls
And beginning something wonderful
Now I’m starting to believe you like the dark
The poison; The hate

You want the reckless and the terrible
The beaten and the stupid
I can feel it in my heart
You don’t want to tear away from it

You say you want this new life together
As you run as far away from it as possible

I want to help you and support you
In reaching these goals that have been set
For years this has been coming
But suddenly now it’s here
And you are nowhere to be seen

I feel betrayed and hurt
Because I trust you
Then I leave for a moment
And suddenly you’re back
To those old ways
Never staying sober
Long enough to care
Or remember our relationship
Or anything you want in this life

I’ve tried
And now I’m tired
Of worrying and feeling alone
Living this life we wanted
But now it’s just me here
While you run wild
In the streets you swore
We left behind

The time it takes

The time it takes lets me down gently.
With fistfuls of lanolin and pocket knives.
There’s something to it, in the way
it moves me left to right then slightly left
before the next day’s dawn uprooting data.

Rockstar goes down virtually and easier.
The neck stifles its coughs with greater expertise.

Somewhere along the line is the sum
of our increasingly varied parts.
But this is a nonentity. Or perhaps a phantom
passing gas to other phantoms and then
laughing all the way to the bank of flowers
some artist put here during the ’90’s.
A firestorm in tow. I’d go where you went
but just to watch you leave in replay,
because I lack what’s called “balls.”
Other issues now presiding.

The kids all process leeches.

-r. miller

Well, if you must know…

To the tune of six hundred American dollars,
they spun and turned their collars up, the parlor junkies.
They wore on their feet shoes so clunky
that one almost felt sorry.
How, after all, can such tragedies
be allowed in this, the best of all possible worlds?

Wind came a-churnin’ like a churlish beggar
in baggy pants. The dance continued,
as did the sale of liquor on Sundays,
much to the chagrin of the churchgoing crowd.
They squalled so loudly that they garbled
the content of their message.
They may as well have been pulling steel wool
from their mouths.

A crowd was gathered in the ballroom,
all of them brandishing hot irons
and cynical cartoons. Some called it a boon.
Others took to their hot air balloons
and were never seen or heard from again.
I was already wending my way through
the labyrinthine halls of that piping hot palace,
seeking the solace of someone or other’s bedchambers.

Clamor covered and smothered the event.
‘Twas a fine time to repent,
though nobody could quite remember
the protocol for that. All was overkill,
spilled guilt and hot flashes.
Splashes of a wounded sunset
crept through the window.
Of these, none took notice.

-r. miller