jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Birds”

convergence at the river


did you see that spark
in the sky
spooking thousands of blackbirds
and sending them
to the stars

the earth shook
from the footfalls of five hundred
elephants
rushing away from the scene
of the crime
in absolute terror

the nuclear winter
was unmistakably inevitable
all the armies of the world
laying down their arms
praying the world
as we know it
will recover from its losses





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

lord of the birds


birds & song & moving picture
congealing into a triangle
far away but coming into focus
slowly nearing the breakline
brought closer by the moon
& an inland breeze
children of the sand
pointing & jumping & shouting
we are saved
we are saved





december two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

truth or dare


nobody knew there would
be a test today
not even the teacher

a bomb threat forced them
to vacate the premises
and they set off on foot
to the amphitheater
on the west side of the
tree-lined river

it was there they exposed
their souls
one by one for some
others two by two
and even three by three
queried intensely
of life & death
in the end left to choose
either truth or dare

creativity had no limits
in what became
a sacred undertaking
where birds of different colors
sought the safety of the trees
experiencing the discomfort
of the tragedy
and the relief of the comedy
of the spoken word
filling the open air





december two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

underestimation


I’m a songbird
without a song
whispering sweet
nothings

there is sadness
in the silence
this much I know

I’m a songbird
without a song
listening for a clue
on a windless night

but there is only sadness
in the silence
this much I know

I’m a songbird
without a song
underestimated
and determined

turning sadness
into a melody
this much I know

practicing wetting
my whistle
until the morning light





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

the executioner’s crow


there is tension
and then it goes away
no explanation

you sit back & look
for a new way in
there has to be a treasure
down there somewhere

you mark the spot in your brain
and you fly away


so many times I’ve been
destroyed
but you always come back
digging me up
from the grave

this world has always been
white & blue & black
the latter near perfect
in its execution





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

angel as a songbird


I’m not going to rhyme
I swear I won’t
even though this poem
is about a songbird

there are seven of them
[actually]
inside the bush
swapping silly stories
thriving on higher vibes

a single gust of wind
sets them aflutter
alighting where required
to give aid & comfort





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

a shadow of their former selves


he thinks she’s gassed
not drunk
just exhausted to the bone
by way of living
flat-footed & unable to react
like she once used to

he’s not doing much better
pretending to be a bird
surviving
on seeds & roadkill
an occasional
brandy slightly chilled

they sold or gave away
everything
& took their act on the road
convinced there was something
out there
besides consumption





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

dual linguistics


slipping in & out of consciousness
the world is suddenly strange again
going from one calamity
to the next
hopeful something wonderful
is on the horizon

an alternative reality may be that I’m
actually dead
as reported two plus years ago
after the new flu broke out
leaving me hanging around in this place
and that
waiting for someone or something
to tell me what I should do

one thing’s for sure
that is the birds on the other side
are starting to make
more & more sense
as I continue to pick up
on some of their languages





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a radical change of pace


we keep the doors locked
when at home
and unlocked when gone
seems like the most reasonable
thing to do

most of the neighbors
have been replaced
—since we never talked to the old ones
[in the first place]
we’re not speaking
to the new

it’s like we’re living
inside a hitchcock movie
strangers viewable
through their rear windows
training birds of prey
right there
in broad daylight
the ones without feathers
probably drones





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sorrowful pilgrimage


it was the day after
our bones tattered & torn
knowing not if we were
dead of alive

overnight the crows
became nocturnal
as if the poles had reversed
after a century
of fluctuating

they had become
our field guide
and though we asked
they wouldn’t say if we were
dead or alive

time passed as if
in reverse
each lifeless town we reached
showed no sign of
blood or skin or bone

wildflowers grew by the roadside
we picked them
we put them to our noses
but to no avail

the crows said it was okay to eat them

and so we did

as we traveled further
back in time
the crows became
eerily quiet
in the dead of night

and we knew not if we were
dead or alive





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

going in for the kill


there were only three of us
but we managed to make a sound
unlike any other birdsong

we hung out in alder trees
creek & trail fifty feet below
passing along the binoculars
spying on pretend prey

diving headlong & swooping
living & dying in a precise moment
as if in an endless dream





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

crossing the line


I tell myself I can’t write poetry like that
that my voice just won’t obey
what the mind wants to imitate

and even though I once was a blackbird
my voice will sing no more

isolated by accident
I consider knives & scissors & fingernail
cutting up a past by creating
jagged shapes out of paper
and new definitions out of thin air

how the pieces get put back together
is out of my control
for there are more compelling things
to consider as we cross over the line





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

carbon copying blackbirds


burning down the forest
doesn’t seem like the right thing to do
whether in times of peace or war

it’s not like you can make carbon copies
of hundreds of thousands of trees
replacing them within a generation or two
after having the enemy succumbed to flames

it’s not like you can stitch & sew time
making it nineteen ninety-nine all over again
before the world became more complicated
than la niña or an impossible crossword

ever since the first shots were fired
blackbirds continue to gather at the border
in numbers innumerable
patiently waiting for all hell to break loose





february two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the gate & the raptor


there is a bird at the gate
a juvenile raptor
stopping me in my tracks


do you speak english I say

he appears to be in some sort of a trance

I ask him the same question yet again
but only silence

past the gate is where I’d like to be
where I imagine
eternal happiness resides
the kind of place that keeps you coming back

there is a stone bench
low to the grassy ground
so many yards from the gate & the raptor
where I sit down
and wait my fate
from someone or something
I know nothing about





january two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

surveyor


I am outside of my body again
taking a test flight & practicing diving
like a gannet in the bay of biscay

come winter the wicked storms
will be the fiercest in recent memory
forcing my eventual return

living below the surface
I manage to experience flashbacks
of a life high above the sea





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

sheltering in the wood


the wind brought the robin’s
farewell song
briskly whistling through
the crabapple tree

high up in the sky
recycled machine parts
fall in a straight line fashion
picking up speed
but not disintegrating

the crabapple attracts
scores of robins
copping a buzz & chattering
like blue-haired biddies
at a mahjong tournament

no matter how fast
the wind blows westerly
it can’t forever prevent the sky
from crashing the party





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

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