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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Poetry”

paying attention to the cosmos


it knows everything about you
and over the course of a lifetime
gradually lets you in on your
own little secrets

birth charts and palm lines
reciting and memorizing
practicing as if for the first time
words and phrases capturing
past and future events

resurrecting houseplants
from the brink of death
dealing cards by candlelight
gradually realizing
accumulating knowledge
can be a dangerous thing

there comes a point in time
everything circling around you
explodes into complete focus
leaving you empowered
at least momentarily
transported at your command
at one with the cosmos




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

lesson for the day


when applied earnestly there is something
special about solitude

the sun is always your friend but the moon
now she’s another story

for most of us today should be sufficient
and tomorrow can easily wait

for everyone else simply enjoy the ride




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

places I’ve yet to be


I thought I was in some place that I was not
how the mind bends reality leaving you
rethinking everything you’ve learned thus far

how many lies must I tell before becoming truth
mind beginning to believe anything I say or do

I’ve been told there is an ocean on the other
side of this magnificent purple mountain
the very one I will have surfed endless times




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

morning view


the clock has struck midnight
and I here I remain
similar to yesterday’s self
but somehow slightly different
I can’t quite put my finger on

changing seasons once again
a battle between wind
and cricket and creation
a jealous crescent moon
simply an innocent bystander

I sit and wonder by the window
does anyone ever win
morning sun coming into view
colored pencils on cottony paper
attempting to capture it all




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

teenage wasteland


how do you condense an entire rock
concept into a 5-minute single and
cast it out into the airwaves
hoping listeners will sympathize

it started with a Scottish man
only known as Ray
wanting more out of life
than mere ancestry
abandoned his family farm
[and taking Sally by the hand]
setting off on an impromptu journey
an exodus to London Town

the opera house eventually
failed to come to fruition
and the family conceivably
melded into the complexity of the metropolis
their teenage children forever lost
inside the 20th century wasteland




Note: this poem inspired by the song Baba O’Riley by the British rock band the Who

october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

forty days and nights


it’s been raining off and on
and all I can do is dream about
early morning sunrises
and red red roses

in the basement sump pump
hums along tirelessly with
frequent irregularity
[or shall I say
infrequent regularity]

it matters not as long as the rain
water is recycled
back into the street
as long as dreams of early
morning sunrises
and red red roses
remain well within reach




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

an afternoon affair


we’ve had this conversation before
how many years now
call it ten and twenty and forty

what’s done is done
you try to reassure me
but I say some things are never laid to rest

how often we’ve visited this place
sitting inside or out
whatever the reason
whenever the season
commenting on superficialities
people surrounding us
the socially acceptable
or awkwardly desirable

everyone deserves a second shot at life
we silently agree
except of course those who never
had a chance from the very beginning




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

October Rising


Bring on the tenth month I say
images of monarch
and ruby-throated migrations
flashing before my eyes
nighttime baseball games
a staple in my foreseeable future
culminating with an enormous
harvest moon slowly rising

It’s the last hurrah you say
sitting cozily by the artificial fire
sipping hot tea from a tumbler
pointing at the Samsung
and dialing up a movie

I nod unconvincingly
retiring to the sunroom
pouring myself a pint of Guinness
reassured knowing
October is just the beginning




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

old school thrush


blackbird blackbird
visible in my peripheral
perched upon six foot fence post
barely saying a word

blackbird blackbird
surveying golden field
extant and flawlessly beautiful
dreaming up a new song

blackbird blackbird
as old as the living hills
posing ever so noiselessly
no particular place to go




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

stuffed animal group therapy


there is some solace in the disorder of the day
further complicated by my inability to
distinguish the living from the dead

I used to think I was normal until I was told
I must either be insane or a genius

ever since I fired my counselor and started
self-diagnosing my own internal conflicts

I gave them their very own names
associating them with childhood stuffed animals
alive and well in the far corners of my mind

on sunday mornings we all get together
in a perfect circle and share a pot of hibiscus tea
each of us having a chance to cry a good story




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

silence is sufficient


there is no swiping the slate clean
or turning of a page
or undoing what’s been done

there is only a new day
and even so that is never a given

we write letters and make
phone calls
sometimes we practice what
we might say
what we might commit to memory

but somehow it never comes out right
so we continue moving forward
as if everything in the past matters not

and now I think to myself on a quiet
friday night that more often than not
silence is completely sufficient




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

according to the gospel of jesus


I mean you no ill will
churches of the old world
god knows it’s high time you die
a swift and cleansing death
reborn into a new truth
distinctly separate from your
inherent corruption and greed
and preconceived paranoia

the temple is your soul
and the steeple not a structure
but a symbol of committing
to the most basic tenets
such as loving your neighbor as yourself
or even more radically
loving your enemy and blessing
those who curse you




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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