jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Birds”

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

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

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