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poetry by j matthew waters

keeping the peace


she was an unlucky kind of girl
and though she wasn’t sure
what that meant
she loved to say it nonetheless

born scorpio with pisces rising
she always wondered
why there wasn’t a thirteenth house
one in which she could run and
hide from a world spinning inwards

safely tucked inside her
mysteriously secretive mind
she only assumes a
peacekeeping role after
extinguishing all other options


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

101 CHANCES

101 CHANCES

A Collection of Poetry by J. Matthew Waters

Illustrations by Millie Ho

book cover

brand new world


little paper moon inside
my watch pocket
keeping time like I never knew
changing from sliver
to full without being seen
brightening and fading
like a kiss from my little girl
wishing the world would
always stay brand new


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the next day


I saw him the other day
at the butterfly cafe
and he was laughing
a hearty laugh
telling stories from the eighties
and nineties like there
was no tomorrow

his voice was never loud but
could easily be heard above the clitter
and clatter of the lunch hour crowd

he always left you wanting more
which is why of course
we could never go back
once learning he left this world

I’m sorry for him but not sad
and oftentimes I wonder
why he was so afraid


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

miracle


I smelled what I thought were freshly
cut roses
the color red I imagined
softly brilliant in slender glass vase

I felt the velveted petals between
thumb and finger
reminding me of feathers
I once patiently nurtured back to flight

I heard the beating of a restless heart
pressed against
innocent skin exposed to light
newly created and wrinkled in fear

I dreamed of tasting a perfect fruit
innocently sweet
and promising flawless eyes
witnessing unimaginable happenings


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

catbird singing (in the dead of night)


catbird chirps along stone walls
saying look at me
follow me
this way where the water flows

trim and proper in tailored suit
catbird mimics
moon walking
whistling across dance floor

tricks up sleeves and a beak
full of pranks
catbird screams
like a wee lad crying wolf

one eye on brighter side
falling sun
invites night flight
catbird chasing brand new day


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Chapter Five

from the book of revelation

the boss
held his possessions closely
encrypted them within seven seals

the pain he must feel
becomes real tears streaming
live down so many faces

pelted with insults his child
refuses to die
reaches out to a world
programmed to never understand
their own ransom

new generations give forth
a sense of promise
offering peace on earth (for the)
next thousand years

newly created criminals
and their invisible entourage
emerge as expected
floating like butterflies and
stinging like bees


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

letter in waiting


this woman I once knew always
spoke the truth
steered clear of all the haters
and did what she wanted to do

she enjoyed back rubs
and always said thank you

she once told me over chardonnay
how she was sick and tired of
nobody taking responsibility

once upon a time she acted
all whole and goody two-shoes
but that make her feel nervous
and less than virtuous

one rainy morning she told me
she had found that perfect place
kissed me goodbye
and fled on foot into the city

head stuck out
second story window
I waved and yelled for her to write

once she had gotten there


august two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

broken


world is broken in so many ways
though weapons are working
perfectly fine
precisely hitting
ordinary targets deemed
to be harboring
neither aspiration nor dream

we’ve heard this story retold
ad nauseam
seen it played out in theater
(time and again)
two-bit actors slaughtering
their lines as directed by
apocalyptic producers
feeding on senselessness


july two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when young he dreamed of touching the sky


when pretending to sleep in the crib
many friends of the family
came and went
commenting about this and that

my conscience told me this is exactly
how it will be in the end

bored from all the attention
I fell asleep and
dreamed of becoming the man
who lived to touch the sky


july two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

birdhouse


in your free time bright ideas
arise out of thin air
and fizzle into nothingness

more often than not
trial and error leads you
tossing your thoughts to the birds
and you wonder if they will feed on them
or regurgitate them like earthworms

but if you’re industrious enough
you can incubate them
study them
nurture them
transform them with
wood and glue and nails

on lazy weekend afternoons
you sit and listen to birds happily
singing to their little ones
and you realize it’s best
to deconstruct your inner thoughts
and rebuild them into something
better than before


july two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

imagine


these neighborhoods
reside in underworld riddles
subjected to laws
systematically enforced
by remote controls

stepping on stones
children experience daring truths
along boundary lines
carving their world from another
looking from afar

latest weapons
brutally scratch hard surfaces
buckling the pavement
like tectonic plates exploding
and consuming homes

lord have mercy
mothers lament repeatedly
sprawled on city streets
grown children riddled with bullets
limp in barren arms

lifeless bodies
encircle living among dead
pleading up on high
beating breasts and shouting for world
to imagine peace


july two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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