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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Poetry”

not as long as you allow it so


no one can help you
is what she was trying to tell me
in a language not my first
and though I may have comprehended
I pretended not to understand

we went about our merry ways
and days went by
until out of the blue she sent
me a text in my own language
saying no one can help you

for some reason I reacted reflexively
swiftly swiping it away
and thinking to myself
when in the world was the last time
I ever asked for help

weeks and months ensued
and I went about my days per usual
all the while thinking to myself
how right she was when saying
one one can help you
not as long as you allow it so




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the wounded marionette


it was hard to see the strings
stuffed inside his rucksack
as he rode the train from one town
to the next
all slumped over and needing
a miracle or two
to bring him back to his former self

they stopped the bleeding
back on the battlefield
stitched him up as best they could
sending him on his merry way
cross bar and all

staring out at the countryside
he went in and
out of consciousness
the landscape as desolate as his thoughts
leading him to wonder if the good doctor
would be able to save
his most precious possessions




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

chasing idealism with or without wings


out of thin air resides reality
like a butterfly suddenly taking flight
reminding you of days gone by
when every moment mattered

you take a stab at it
that imperceptible tipping point
hoping to reel it in and relive
a particular space in time

your subconscious orbit
always seems to get you there
but every time you awaken
the outcome never changes
and the butterfly lives on




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

early evening reading


it’s early she said
there’s plenty of time to recreate
the world as you know it
won’t you take a long break
and come play with me

from what I could gather
she’s the one wanting to recreate
that which she’s been reading
nearly naked on the bed for an hour now
her freshly shaven legs
like parallel images of crescent moons




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

wildflowers in the wind


I wish to be intimate with ideas
that have yet to materialize
brought on by a slight breeze
brushing against my cheek
and slightly opening my eyes

out of thin air they arrive
and mysteriously disappear
incomplete thoughts needing
nurturing and time to mature
like sporadic seeds in the air

I wonder how they’ll affect me
these intimately idyllic ideas
existing in the peripheral
occasionally testing my mettle
as if they know me better than me




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

crossing the river jordan


sailboats are positioned
at the edge of my mind
I am poised to set them free
now that the waters have receded

off-white and triangular
they replicate themselves ad infinitum
keeping time and racing upon
a river that has no end

possessing the power to escape
they enter interstellar space
where celestial bodies
effortlessly sail on their own terms




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

white flag


she’s in my head now
[how can she not be]
having gone off to war
without saying goodbye

she’s off to change the world
oh how I want to tell her
[but never will I speak]
how there’s nothing
left to change
only pieces to be moved

lately I’ve been dreaming
of tanks and bombs and drones
awakening my bones like clockwork
[in the year nineteen ninety-one]
waving a white flag
and bringing her back home




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

forgotten isle


I did not mean to forget
but the years have a way
of hiding that which should be visible
like storms concealing waves
so very close to shore

will you ever forgive me
after forgetting to keep you in mind
having skipped away
from one stone to the next
testing the limits of time

it’s not that I’ve been lost before
but this time must be real
as if exiled on a forgotten island
where neither moon nor sun
shall no longer call me friend




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on digging deeper


I keep telling myself there is much life
left in this story as I pull to the side of
the road and record a few more entries

radio frequencies seem to come and go
much like white lines and off-white clouds
swiftly and surreptitiously passing by

everyone writes poetry now and again
especially when off and wanderlusting
to places usually found underground

I’ll always keep coming up for more air
as long as the good lord will let me
but in the meantime I’m planning on
going deeper to find a few more answers




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

last supper


what will it be today
she asked
a line well-rehearsed

he said he wasn’t ready
and she walked away

it was freaky windy outside
and even though
no windows could be opened
the blue curtains did blow

he knew the menu
by heart
but he read it over and over again
as if for the last time




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

reworking dark love songs


I’ve been testing the limits of creation
laying down disco tracks and
introducing new lyrics certain
to get you up and dancing

I’ve been listening to ‘one of
these nights’ and practicing
the high harmony parts as if
I was a prepubescent teenager

I’ve been waiting by the telephone
line and thinking about your eyes
writing down every single line
entering my unmethodical mind




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

panic attack


I’m minding my own business
maybe reminiscing
what others call daydreaming
I call reaching within
finding some sort of zen
on a side street
on a curbside seat
taking it all in




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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