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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Poetry”

many a madman


the war rages on but there’s no telling
which side is winning
no telling precisely who’s the enemy

I’m too old to fight I tell the tin soldier
glued atop my dashboard
attempting to persuade me
to uncover my weapons
buried beneath the floorboards

I tell him I’ve long abandoned my post
and refuse to fight for anyone but me
ditching the ideals of many a madman
instead giving chase to a setting sun
slowly fading into pacified waves




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

promise me one thing


it was saturday morning
and you promised we would
pick flowers unless it rained

the rain never came
and neither did you
and I was left rearranging
my hopes inside a brown paper bag

next day the sun shined
like it had never done before
and for a brief moment I believed
this time you would come around




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

minding my own business


one of so many I easily blend
in among the populace
taking to the streets on a friday night
feathers tucked behind my back

I hadn’t noticed anyone spotting me
so I kept on keeping on
turning my eyes from green to blue

it’s hard to say how or when
times actually change
but there’s no question today’s people
are in need of so much more
something indefinable
but if you ask me it may be less
like believing in something
beyond their comprehension
for example someone like me

I usually tell myself what happens
here doesn’t really matter much
but lately I’m not so sure
which may be the reason
I keep on keeping on
determined to be close when called




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

occurrences at the break of dawn


I’ve repeating dreams
experiencing violent deaths
but each morning
I awaken unharmed

the occurrences are infrequent
but make no mistake
the pattern cannot be overlooked
each episode unrelated to the next

periodically I wonder
or better yet analyze the meaning
behind these dreams
whether what I’m witnessing
has absolutely nothing to do with me
and everything to do with you




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

rhetorically speaking


this is sick I heard her say
but truth be told
she could be talking
about anything

anything for you
I quickly exclaimed
tipping a cap
I wasn’t wearing

maybe I’m just having
a bad dream
maybe this isn’t happening
[she’s repeatedly saying using
arms and hands extensively]

or maybe [I quietly interrupt]
everything’s happening
for reasons unexplainable

indifferent to my reminder
she settled into a position
somewhere between iceland
and the netherlands
memoing and addressing
one postcard after another

we’re the lucky ones
I went on to say
my mind slowly powering down

but she would hear none of it
and just like that she was
off again into another world




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

age of aquarius


wherever I go I’m bound by water
whether rivers or lakes
streams or ponds
always near as I move
from place to place
following me like the pale moon

it’s as if I was born to dream
of rod and reel
license and stamp
walking along little mill
tackle box in hand
searching for that perfect pool
where freshwater trout
gather to stay cool

I’m told the age of aquarius
is subject to interpretation
though for some reason I believe
I’m alive in its midst
the month of march always
bringing me luck
while the constellation pisces
remains slightly out of reach




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

stirring the seed in the soil


it seems the trick is to feed your body
with specific types and amounts of oil
or so I’m learning there is more to nature
than leaf and flower and feather and bone

to the perfect alien we are one in the same
especially when viewed a million miles away
subtleties at best captured in a mirror
attached to a wall countless centuries ago

in the urban garden there is more to life
than surveillance and common temptations
abundance showing itself in spades
evident on low hanging vines and branches

folklore and concoctions openly compete
promoting cures and extending lives
nearly all sharing a simple solution
showing respect to the goodness of earth




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

living for tomorrow


tomorrow I shall become one with the spade
and move half the black-eyed susans
from the garden to behind the fence
long before they go to seed

tomorrow I shall make a list
and commit to memory what else
needs to be done before the season ends

tomorrow I shall learn to live again
ridding myself of past mistakes and failures
forgiving myself as well as my enemies
a simple reminder how all lives still matter




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Quick Trip


It’s early August and I understand
I need a new mousetrap
that is can’t seem to locate the last one
that seemed to work so well

It’s not easy these days
focusing on lists
whether it be for fruits or
vegetables or perishables
or adding one-timers to the mix
like peppermint extract
and tabasco and wooden matches
and oh yeah
don’t forget the mousetrap

How many times I’ve gone down this road
is highly immeasurable
each trip different than the last
orange cones and patchwork and detours
muddying the landscape [making me]
constantly changing my mind




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

turn by turn navigation


let us reexamine where we’ve gone
thus far relatively speaking

there seems to be some question
regarding our general direction

one step forward and two steps back
why is it we keep stepping on cracks

though indifferent toward religion
saying prayers is still an option

I thought we had come here for good
but since learned we’re only visiting

though preparations must be made
we find ourselves living for the day

and those promises made long ago
will outlast any ancient road




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

going through the motions


everything was crystal clear
in my mind
what I wanted to say
but when the time came to act
I froze in my own tracks
one foot in front of the other
body in full motion
memory failing

I called my mother today
to see how they were doing
aches and pains
too proud to hire a maid
it took some doing
coaxing a laugh via chit chat
neither of us interested
delving deeper than that




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

life has become cumbersome


standing at the edge
water motionless like ice
casting reflections in my eye
smooth stone within grasp
half the size of a hand
I press and release
press and release
unable to change its shape

past years once a blur
slowly come back into focus
realization setting in
that despite my true intentions
I could neither mold
nor influence nor protect you

some flowers bloom once
and some bloom dead
yet stones accumulate
constantly recirculating
some skipping across water
others creating makeshift walls
temporarily shielding me
from a world I once knew




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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