jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Birds”

Early dinner rush


On the southside of Gianna’s Italian Beef
there grows a young Hackberry
a story & a half tall
barenaked this early December
fifty or eighty Black-Capped Chickadees
voluntarily filling in
all her empty spaces
fervently chattering at four forty-five pm




december two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Corvid at a crossroads


I thought I had started something
turns out I’m just consciously resuming
released after an abbreviated pause

Don’t think I didn’t notice you banded me
(on my left foot) like a common criminal
paroling me back into society
hopeful my eventual return yields
a multitude of data sets

This much I say & this much you know
I am not some lame carrier pigeon
at the mercy of manipulation
the multitude of neurons in my brain
tells me I’ll never see you again

Meanwhile the family bickers and balks
complacent or jealous or abhorrent
the far majority close to casting lots




november two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I am the boy god


I tried writing the end of this story
about a boy & his bird
bound together by a freak
accident his dead mother
would never forget
but in doing so was interrupted
distracted by a murder of crows
telegraphing their signals
mimicking words like secrecy
and pure fiction
a reminder those series of events
long ago were swept away by a
twisting turning wind
mystically created by the two of them




november two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

two in hand


see there the man in the bush
what could he possibly want
with a bird in hand

in broader light
the bird could be nothing
but two stones
talkative & strikingly glossy

one in each hand
he releases them to the gods
like the whitest of doves
forever bound to the firmament
occasionally returning to earth




november two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

theory of the birds


all the birds took a break for a day
boycotting the streams & the baths
downtown sidewalks & window ledges
unmistakably absent from the airwaves
instead quietly tucked away for some
twenty-four hours
collectively testing the theory that these
so-called humans
have ceased paying attention




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

the old grey whistle test


even the crows seem to be tired
this unusually long summer
their calls traveling less & less

the hours counting down
the shift will be subtle but felt
like that brief pause
at the top of the carnival ride

their feathers become grey
voices more boisterous than before
the sun making its grand return
sparking wave after wave after wave




september two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

finding my song


when I tell them I want
to be a bird when I grow up
all I hear is laughter

not just any bird
I go on to say
but one in which I can paint
my own feathers
a different color every day
one in which I can sing
a new song until I find the one
sung directly from my heart

and when I die
my brightest of feathers
will surely fade away
but my song
oh my song
it will live forever




september two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in search of october


they’re everywhere
outside the sunroom feeding
barely audible & hurrying
inside hanging like glass angels
kept afloat by invisible wires

nobody dare notices
september is here upon us
mindlessly giving & taking
asking nobody for any favors
uncomfortably sitting still

depending upon the light
doors & windows open & shut
repeating every so often
winds die down & return to life
at the slightest command

it’s best not to give in
as you see like anything else
september always ends
desperate wings all aflutter
effectively fanning the fire




september two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

permanent resident


where did you go little chickadee
the summer is barely over

those eerie sounds you hear
wicked winds coming from the west
were never meant to scare you

come back please
please come back home
don’t leave me now I’ve much to learn
once everything dies I’ll be counting on you
to help me make it to the other side




september two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fifty yard dash


red-winged blackbird
what could you possibly
want from defenseless me
& more importantly
what could I ever
possibly want from you

you protect your turf
like a madman with a gun
but believe me I want nothing
you have to offer
not from you or your beautifully
invisible family

as I press my pedals faster
through your 50-yard universe
I wonder how exhausting
your days must be
& how deeply in love you are
with what is rightfully yours




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

rapid eye movement


hummingbirds come & go
I tell myself the sugar water
must still be good

imitating by way of blinking
I stay paralyzed in my chair
unable to replenish the nectar
even if I wanted to

I see them in the corner of my eye
and they in mine
neither of us questioning
how much more of the world
there is left to see




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the task at hand


listen carefully
the birds in the air are many
and you’re missing so many of them

in another life you were
a cardinal or a crow or a sparrow
going about your fabulous business
as if there’s no tomorrow

but of course you don’t
remember those days other
than a song or two or three
that for some reason keep
challenging your long term memory

tomorrow it will be monday
which means you’ll be fishing again
casting your line at lock & dam thirteen
and forgetting about the past
only focused on the task at hand




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hesitation & pause


plucking one petal at a time
whispering she loves me
she loves me not

some are red and some are yellow
but none are black & white

outside I hear hesitation & pause
as if the birds are aware of every
single misstep man has ever taken

on the television screen
five o’clock images
are more disturbing than usual
the sound muted
love songs playing inside my head




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one town at a time


the downtown pigeons are becoming
more & more comfortable in their own skin
loitering wherever they please
empowered as fewer & fewer humans
make their way up & down the streets

I can’t imagine what happens next
what sort of confrontations may transpire
once all the lights turn green
madmen rushing to reestablish their turf
disregarding the whites of anyone’s eyes




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Baby in the window


for Aubrey Jean

They are song sparrows
nesting inside a popcorn tin
hanging beneath the eaves
vessel rocking from side to side
[from the constant coming & going]
like a boat tied to the dock
continuously in motion
but unable to sail away

From inside the conservatory
a baby is fixed at the scene
a toddler to be exact
an unsteady walker without ankles
pointing at the popcorn tin
[at the constant coming & going]
unaware they are singers
incoherently repeating baby




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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