jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Birds”

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

handful of wishes


shadows like birds or
birds like shadows
flying behind white linen curtain
coming and going
back & forth and over & under
undoubtedly feeding their young
or chasing their very own
displaced souls

since I couldn’t see
what I couldn’t see
I changed my train of thought
pretending they were giant moths
turned into beautiful butterflies
made possible by a warrior princess
carrying a magic sword
and a handful of wishes




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

diary of a woman with wings


child of the southern sun
desires stir within
centuries pass
outer appearance changing
minute by minute
egg to feather to sparrow
sparrow to crow to raptor
circling and circling
even higher like an angel
ushering in the darkness
stars falling one after another
trillions of fireflies turn into lightning
piercing hidden clouds
and striking naked trees
rapturing the soil
fertilizing sterile seeds




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

standing in line


yes it’s true the world is dying
[is always dying]
and we are a witness to its death
[its glorious death]
a slow and painstaking process
mysteriously inevitable
and eternally unanswerable

the airports are nearly empty
and the streets eerily silent
filled with long lines of masked pantomimes
arms extended and palms open
shadowed closely by feathery creatures
unable to fly and feverishly
sweeping up the crumbs

high above the skyscrapers
far beyond the tallest of trees
patches of blue begin to emerge
perhaps a sign of better times yet to come
or simply a figment
of every child’s imagination




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it filters through


some birds are back but the temps
are well below zero
either they never got the memo
or they’ve come back early
for some unknown reason

I slowed down for a murder of crows
while taking the long way home
a hundred or so
cleaning up a spill of sorts near
the corn sweetener plant
once in my rearview
anxiously getting back at it

shifting gears past the hill
the music meets the sun
and the speeding locomotive
sounding off along the river
eagles circling high above
sparrows racing in my peripheral
nearly anything with wings
busily chasing dreams




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the spirit will find a way


lost in thought on this late
december afternoon
oak leaves circulating
throughout the neighborhood
wet and scattering
and firmly planted
in the back of my mind
tens of hundreds of them
their varying shapes
reminding me of summer clouds
imitating anything imaginable
derailing my train of thought

I see an angel and elephant
pooh bear and little roo too
a steam locomotive
chugging across an endless plain
while out of the corner
of my eye
a red cardinal
perched stately on picket fence
calls me to my feet
awakening my lost spirit
and freeing me
from my sunday melancholy




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the bird and her fiddle


listen carefully there is a bird
 warbling from the moon
  how she got there is anyone’s guess

is she yellow or is she red or blue
 plump or thin or somewhere in between
  can you tell by listening carefully
   to the tenor of her fiddle

there is a feel to her presence
 sublime and pleasantly inviting
  when will the world stop spinning
   and listen carefully to her message




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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