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poetry by j matthew waters

returning to the beginning


the garden
the aroma & beauty
opening your arms for me
smiling & inviting
I believe I’ve seen you before
I swear I have

maybe because
I was born
or abandoned here
and you took me in
turning my skin brown
by working the earth
teaching me how to love

it’s been too long
a lifetime maybe
the most powerful winds
bringing me back home
back into your fold
your aroma & beauty
slowing fading
into sweet november




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

traffic jam


I’ve been testing different mattresses
since discovering I’ve got
all this free time

the world barely sees me but I’m around
moving about in conveyances
I once dared dream

in the mid-morning I see pink flamingos
riding their bicycles on first avenue
disturbing all the black & white traffic
crawling from point alpha to omega

it’s all I can do not to show them
how it’s done
but move on I must
there are too many mattresses
I’ve yet to test drive

once the skies have cleared
millions of sparrows move in
altogether halting traffic
singing in unison enough is enough
with all this exhaustion

fast asleep in broad daylight
I dream of crows hiding behind dark clouds




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when straying from the science


when running your hardest to first base
you should not go air-bound on that final step
stretching & suspended will only slow you down

that is the simple science of it
yet so few runners actually put it into practice
turning a possible single into an eyelash out
mainly due to a lack of faith




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the rocker rocking all on its own


I’m tired of guessing or surmising
what is certain to happen next
as far as I’m concerned
the jumbled mess can remain as is
whether scattered on the countertop
or strewn across the bamboo floor

truth be told I’ll never know
who if anyone
ended up gathering all the pieces
my tired eyes shut tight
the rocker rocking all on its own




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

homemade remedy


I’ve been plagiarizing recipes
thinking it’s just what I need
to get things going again

they say the remedy
to any kind of sickness
is within an arm’s reach

all gardens are not the same
so you must pick & choose
as opportunities arise
or pass them by altogether

these concoctions of mine
may not rock like the original
but rest assured
they’re just as good
as any good doctor
could prescribe




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

all along the fringes


nothing haunts me more
than your solitary smile
etched in memory
like a photo under glass

I try to reach out
but there’s nothing to touch
just a lingering aura
baked into my skin

wherever I may go
ambitiously I am watching
hopeful today is the day
you finally find yourself




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

other than it seems


she’s the love of my life
having been gone for so long
I nearly forgot what it means
when white rose petals

fall effortlessly from the sky
like october snowflakes
huge & warm to the touch
imploding & suddenly

gone as if never existed
like an unbelievable myth
that in the back of your mind
has to be something




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

burning down the house


inside that house
how many times must you
recall the images
whether real & precise
or simply metaphysical

sigmund would have been
intrigued to know more
especially how your
palms turn dry & gritty
fingertips like matchsticks

analog alarm clock
wakes you regimentally
every single day since
the sound evolving into
a talking heads classic




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when someone knows you better than you


man in the street approached me
diagonally jaywalking
to meet me at some sort of
geometric vantage point

my eyes pretended not to notice
but his voice grabbed my attention
having me starting to believe
all he wanted was directions

my bad for talking to strangers
for quickly I found myself
in the middle of a well-rehearsed
plea for the dollars in my pocket

seemingly fit & perfectly articulate
I declined to take the test
and abruptly carried on with my day
insults & accusations included




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a face in the crowd


zooming in
smaller places get bigger
like a google map
in the palm of your hand

venturing further
into the inner city
the picture becomes clearer
contrasts run aplenty
between feast & famine

quickening the pace
and light on foot
you naturally touch all
hands reaching out
carefully connecting the dots
one face at a time




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

new life stirring


what’s the next big thing
trembling beneath the surface
like some alien embryo
implanted before time itself

everyday something new
infringing on true consciousness
like a magician on stage
subtly manipulating nature

this movie is a remake
its ending always evolving
depending upon the edits
and your passion for new life




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

death by night & day


there’s a storm in the offing
eying to replace the warm november sun
stone cold vengeance slowly moving in

spring long gone & summer faded
what wickedness comes this way
unstoppable death fast approaching

hunker down but remain vigilant
fear not the influence of faraway stars
steering you artfully well into february




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where was I when all the trees fell


I don’t even remember the year
destruction in the rearview mirror
the leaves never did turn color
come october
people walking the streets afterwards
shaking their heads
and talking to complete strangers

the evening sky
was littered with smoldering dust
making the waning gibbous
look like a dirty dish
covered with smudges

I remember someone knocking
on the front door
silver flashing on shirt pocket
and on the right hip
asking if I knew the year




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the artist in the parlor


she didn’t like to be photographed
though being drawn
was another matter altogether

she didn’t like pickles or salmon
or dinner parties greater than six
always preferring to sit (or lounge)
in the living room or parlor
taking in conversations
and open to most questions

during dinner she liked to keep quiet
communicating by way of
visual contact instead
excusing herself before dessert
retiring to the parlor
with anyone who would join her




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

learning virtually


who does he work for
everyone raises their hand
the camera does not lie
clutter in the background
and glitter in the air
some say the answer is obvious
like stink on a skunk
others pleading the fifth
as if they’ve been paid off
but when either party is called upon
the truth suddenly escapes them




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

post modern pandemic


interesting times often lead those
living barely on the surface
finding solace in dark & sullen places
often where fallen angels convene
discussing in greater detail
their strongest of all desires
and their willingness to obtain them
at all costs




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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