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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Poetry”

mental illness is not a recent phenomenon


he sits and/or stands
in his underground laboratory
some days dressed in black
other days white
[but never gray]
multi-tasking like only
a well-focused madman can do

according to fact checkers
he had three internet connections
and two 3D printers
one making weapons of mass
destruction
the other spitting out instructions
on how to make friends





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

out of control


love can blindside you
forcing you to lose control
sometimes hitting hard
like a car accident
often flickering like a light
gaining strength
minute by minute
slowly burning into a torch
at last settling into a
constant glow

yesterday the fire
suddenly ceased to be
the rampant love fully evolved
into something
incomprehensible
sinking below & hovering above
neither physically present
nor otherworldly
perhaps temporarily
someplace in between





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

Antique accent table


Wayne had a cocaine habit
and somehow dragged me into it

Otherwise he was a great guy
helped us buy our first house
by sweet talking
my grandmother-in-law
into lending us five grand
towards the down payment

And then there was the time
the furnace went out
and we all piled into his Volvo
so we could crash for the night
in his basement

Cash flow was always tight
back then
and so my generosity
but for some reason he made
perfect sense why I should lend him
one-fifty for a few days

That seemed like a century ago
and I never did
get the money back
but at least he had the decency
to let me walk through his house
and take home anything
of my choosing





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

come on & kick me


it’s none of my business
about your hash pipe
I wasn’t the one to bring it up
in the first place

back in the day
we’d buy paraphernalia
when shopping for vinyls
mainly at the brady street shop
a block away from central high

[I seem to keep missing all the re-
unions even though I still live here]

next time you’re inside
two hundred miles
shoot me a telepathic note
& I’ll respond pronto
with yet another clue





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

song of the dead


the complete destruction
of the inner self
man-made annihilation of the
third kind
on the verge of reinvention
of inner thought
of stillness & water & ash
a private practice
a near death experience





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

the comeback


it’s the bottom of the eighth
and the home team
is down by one
the partial crowd
infused by fake news & alcohol
refuses to deny
that back-to-back homers
will send them into delirium





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

give me your tired


appearances
how deceiving they may be
like the statue of liberty
standing in the harbor
holding back tears
all these turbulent years
shouldering injustices
handed down
from generation
to generation
ad nauseum

standing at the crossroads
where does she go
from here





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

miracle of a blue moon


a sad moon waits
in the wings
the sinking sun
dissolving into
the black sea
— a passing of the torch
or the transitioning of power
from the mighty
to the mysterious
the latter making
men weep
women amassing
on the eastern horizon
bearing absolution





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

thoughts between alien invasions


they keep changing the rules
from ten thousand steps
to seven
eight hours of sleep
perhaps not the magic number


when I turned thirteen
I had a five speed road bike
& a brand new baseball glove
autographed by Willie Davis
          [back then]
every now & again
I’d calculate how old I’d be
come the year two thousand

I’m not going to lie
things never got much better since
too many cars & not enough
bike lanes
          where I live

I keep telling myself
things will get better
that my sports teams will once again
rise to the top
& all the evil empires of the world
will magically evaporate





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

hitching a ride out of the war zone


the television is too loud
and the radio plays softly
the ambient air
cooler than it needs to be

the clouds are low
puffy like pink elephants
roaming the skies
in search of a little drink
or a romp in a puddle of mud

all the noise from the inside
evaporates in a heartbeat
courtesy of a smart bomb
delivered from the far side

caravans become as common
as the latest virus
instinctively searching
for clear skies
like wolves or jackals
or hyenas would do





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

only you can set me free


you follow me for reasons
I dare not explain
lord knows
my rise to fame
my transition to power
isn’t something I sought
rather given to me
from your invisible god

I can say anything I want
and you will be in awe
applauding my words
as if they’re your own
passing them along
to the masses
so that they may come
to appreciate the power
of personality





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

the tree replacement program


we’re planting trees & singing
this one’s for you honey
name it what you will

one by one
falling from the pickup’s bed
into the hands of a queen she’s goes
into the ground she goes
everyone singing
up on the hill
this one’s for you honey
name it what you will

one day they’re gone
and the next they’re replaced
at this pace
soon we’ll be singing
it’s a brand new world honey
name it what you will





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

a moveable page


done reading now listening
a virtual sheet of paper by my side
not a single thought comes to mind

how often do you digress
it doesn’t matter your age
the younger you are the clearer the text
the older you get the deeper the dive
either way possibilities are endless

what doesn’t get written today
will be dreamed about overnight
& in the morning there will be praise





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

Preparing for a New Day

            with a nod to Sylvia Plath

With terrible intensity
I am again
drawn into the fray
impossible to distinguish
reality from the day to day
as if I should know
what’s considered normal
versus the outer worldly

You’ve been there before
if you recall
crawling out of your skin
on a Sunday morning
dealing with a reality
constantly changing
reminding you that living
is only the beginning





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

it’s true what they say


that flash before your
very eyes
I see it happening
all the time

[I see it happening
all the time]

it’s true what they say
about the mind
a recorder of everything
playbacks & recalls
sometimes spot on
often faulty
nonetheless all of it
the truth & the way
how a simple gesture
takes you back
before the very beginning
before time itself





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

telescoping an itinerary


I ain’t got much left
my body battery drained
& according to my wearable
I’ve only so many days
yet to live

it’s not exactly
information overload
I’m just searching the stars
trying to decode
my next resting place





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

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