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matthumphreys_1Matt Humphreys was among 125 young artists selected from a national pool of 6,500 applicants to attend ARTS Week 2003, an all-expenses-paid week of workshops master classes and showcase performances in Miami, Florida. Matt was chosen for excellence in poetry.

ARTS Week, January 6–11, is the national finals of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts’ (NFAA) Arts Recognition and Talent Search®(ARTS) program. During ARTS Week, panels of judges—experts in their art form—evaluate the young artists for cash awards and the chance to be named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and honored with a medallion in a ceremony sponsored by the White House.

ARTS alumni include Grammy-nominated singer/actress Vanessa Williams, renowned jazz musician Terence Blanchard and National Book Award nominee Allegra Goodman.

for A. Colbert
by Matt Humphreys

As a chica bonita you danced in the carnival
at Pamplona, a glittering dervish of hair blacker
than the night sky above you.

I would see your bracelets’ silver crackle,
hear the thunder of your soles as they pound
cobblestones. Did you shy away as his great
figure engulfed your eyes, did you walk away
as he cooed, chica bonita, pretty girl, pretty,
oh, pretty girl, these things I could tell you.

And you have not forgotten the dance’s rhythm.
When you talk, your black hair spins in ringlets
and sways, just so. Chica bonita, these things
I could tell you: I am not Papa, I am no soldier.
But there are things beneath all men, passions
that hide in our blood, flickering understandings
of night and dark, wanton windows, shutters
thrown back as though to seduce the very stars.

And no lumbering Bacchus could capture spirals
as precise as yours, as you danced into the constellations,
and forgot these things, these things,
chica bonita, these things I could tell you.