jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Birds”

on highway one hundred


how does a dead hawk
end up on the centerline
unrecognizable except
for the color & pattern
of her feathers

it’s a busy place
especially mid morning
and late afternoon
speeds anywhere from
zero to seventy-five

of course it wasn’t there
come next morning
giving me pause & imagining
what transpired there
in the dead of the night





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one-room schoolhouse


the entire classroom was lost in thought

wrens were bouncing off the window
as if the outside world
had become scarier than usual

the children were reading solzhenitsyn
as the substitute teacher paced
back & forth along the blackboard
questioning every line

one by one the wrens went away
only to be replaced by morning doves
forming a simple line on the ledge

later there was a debate
exactly what year it was
unable to come to an agreement
they decided to move on to salinger

there would be no recess
due to the ongoing conditions
the kids tired of math & science & dead birds
all they wanted to do was read books
like ‘one flew over the cuckoo’s nest’





september two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

answering the false call


sirens sounded
the crows & ravens took off from their stations
carrying messages of survival in their dna

one arrived on my fence post
half a day after the warning
sturdy & stoic & talking in a language
only I would understand

of course he arrived prematurely
this much he knew
for the skies became more colorful
allowing me to admire the varying
degrees of darkness in his wings

within the hour he departed on his
own accord
probably to where the water was rising
leaving me to my one device
and my mixed emotions





september two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

while under a severe storm warning


in a crowded auditorium
I was hand picked by my teacher
“which direction do birds
fly for the winter” was the question
probably directed my way with a certain
level of confidence in my answer
but I replied with something other than “south”
and thus it was from that point forward
I lost all but a crumb of credibility
at the budding young age of five & a half





august two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

short summer nights


three hummingbird feeders
hang from the rafters
inside the old gazebo
located in the back far corner
of the property
one hundred some steps
from the sliding glass door
refilled every daybreak
by the old man
the homemade nectar
prepared the night before
by the missus in the kitchen





december two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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

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