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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Dogma”

A feeling of not being there


I didn’t tell you I was scared of heights
because I assumed you knew me
better than I knew myself

How wrong things turned out to be
soon after your star seemed to take off
now falling fast and further
than anyone could have ever fathomed

Clouds at ten thousand feet are much whiter
than they appear from the ground
and I believe you when you tell me
heaven is not any closer




october two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

ones that got away


there was fish in the basement freezer
bluegills caught in the mississippi
taken home and cleaned
filleted and carefully placed in ziplocs
each dated by way of sharpie

each day a story unto itself
each story a small piece of the life
and times of a solitary man
long removed from
an ordinary working life

if you don’t move you will die
he told his son
carefully stepping down the stairs
unlocking freezer door with key
he kept hanging on a nail
fearful the fish might one day escape
and find their way back home




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

there at the end of the road


how can I possibly change now
or can I see the world in a whole new light
a paradigm shift so to speak
where I am no longer the victim
but savior of my own home town

I didn’t return here only to be idle
someone said there were roads to lay
replacing gravel with yellow bricks
all the way from otter’s creek
to the mouth of the mighty river

and there at the end of the road
(or shall I say the beginning)
there I stand wading in the water
like the renegade baptist himself
proclaiming the possibility of a new life
to those who dare to dream




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

lifting up the blinds


there is an undefinable sweetness
lingering in my mind
leaving me curious as to whether
I may be dead or alive

I’ve been walking in a fog now
for nearly a fortnight
kicking the dirt beneath my feet
wondering if it’s the very earth
I was miraculously born into

there’s no need to worry
or so say the angels in the field
shadowing flock beneath their wings
guiding them toward shelter

sooner or later morning fog will clear
burned away by memories
past and present and future




august two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

his eloquent elocution


he was electrocuted like some uncommon criminal
right there on live television for all the galaxy to see

federation of planets feared his demise was
anything but permanent
summoning their agents across vast jurisdictions
as herod once did

there is no telling what will come next
once the newborn has survived infancy
growing unnoticed and unadulterated
ultimately mastering his eloquent elocution




august two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

after the saturday morning rains


in the morning church bells will be ringing
and ambulances will be screaming
those dying search for a higher purpose
finding themselves on their knees
praying man and bride complete the
transformation by becoming one

universe changes at a pace
incomprehensible to the human brain
traveling at the speed of light when
shut down for the night
only to awaken in quicksand
convinced there is no way out

outside the double doors an odyssey
awaits your arrival and departure
cautiously you step out into the open
casting your eyes directly overhead
spiraling steeple pointing to a place
you understand more than you know




july two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when your angels can’t sing


it’s late in the afternoon
shadows stretch toward the river
covering its rocky banks with a
thin layer of geometric trickery

I find myself at the edge
standing calmly yet powerless
visualizing what changes must be made
to continue on this journey

opportunities run rampant
ubiquitous as the setting sun
brave and polished and callous
I pick one or three out of thin air

courage is overrated
or so I try to tell myself
lifting my spirit above my body
if only for a moment in time




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

unearthing old stories


behind the hermit’s gate
stories are being told
transcribed and archived
like nobody’s business

free passes do not exist
but those who slip inside
are put to the test
and ever seldom leave

there are grottos and graffiti
in need of attention
improved upon by signs
of the cross and hail marys

although spoken words
were outlawed long ago
they remain alive and well
buried deep underground




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all right reserved

wherever you may go


as much as I think I should
I don’t pretend to know you
stranger in the midday sun
dancing in the city park
as if nobody is around

I sense undercover angels
hovering above you
unseen agents pulling strings
adding to your improvisations
interpreting forward movement

though grief is your dance
your eyes tell me otherwise
giving me pause and hope
that you may extend your hand
and take me with you




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

little jerusalem


from the outside it was a sleepy little town
located hundred miles from anywhere
quaint and well-kept main street
three churches with spiraling steeples
one bank and one grocery store

on the fringes there lived a commune
ordinary families of starving artists
jesus freaks they called themselves
professing the streets were haunted
by witnesses of christ’s hanging

whenever outsiders arrived in town
they were welcomed by apparitions
ghosts of mob’s past peddling
sterling silver crucifixes and
one-way tickets to paradise




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

missing in action


looking down from the ninth floor
there was nowhere to go but up

michael may have been missing
but I knew he was within earshot

though I was tiring of the routine
I had no intention of checking out
instead reestablished my footing
attempting to regain communication
with anyone who may or
may not have wings




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

land of radioactive blossoms


the truth started long before jesus
and the common era
crowd obsessed with lynching anyone
they could never quite
understand

if you can’t hang the one you’ve
got your finger on
find their next of kin
they’re pretty much one in the
same

passersby and bystanders turn a blind eye
just like good old peter once did
(god how we never do learn)

land of paradise is nowhere to be found
not in these here parts
and that place where milk and honey
flow freely
well that’s just some fairy tale etched upon
stone

though the flowers growing in disputed lands
can be quite beautiful
somewhere along the line
they simply become part of the battlefield
buried in the past with inevitable
probability of resurrecting
some warm midsummer
day




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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