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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “War Poems”

chasing down a dream


there is a disconnect
between sublime living
and the reality of the day
so much so
even the planes
and helicopters overhead
produce background music

execution style killings
by thugs & gangs
are just as commonplace
as walks in the park
mother & daughter & child
enjoying the sunshine
unsuspectedly

in the marketplace
a man sells as is avocados
turning pennies into dollars
cross-training his
only surviving child
working & maintaining
chasing down their dream





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

the apartment building


inside my mind a tiny mouse
has found some cheese
nibbling but not offering
—he’ll be quiet for a while
perhaps falling into a stupor

and I will sit in silence
imagining what his eventual
next move will be
or if he’ll simply no longer exist
for obvious reasons
such as foxes or traps
or surgical strikes
—cast from the skies





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

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

new moon


if we’re lucky
we’ll see the moon
rise along with the sun
any day now
dismissing any worries
it was blown
to pieces
by a barrage
of nuclear warheads





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

If you could only see me


When I found myself in the U.S., and the war was at full swing in Bosnia,
I read for survival – it was a means of thought resuscitation.

— Aleksandar Hemon


A road less traveled
a place outside of the self
if only you could see me there
maybe you’d begin
to understand what it means
to be suspended in time

Not far you should find Lazarus
astir on the peninsula
fishing no doubt
waiting on the next wave

It’s nothing but a distraction
as are all the ghosts of the past
my own image
becoming ashen

Somehow you find me
and pull
me
back
in
back onto the shoulder
of a road
less traveled





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

the troublemaker turned magician


I’m not from this land
but I’ve been hearing
good news is on the way

whether it’s here to stay
is another story
but as of now
more & more bones
are being found beneath
the surface
confirming what the locals
have been saying
for decades

the front page
is not indicative of a world
some say is parallel
one in which escapes
and survives the greatest
of all evil
by way of mere
counter-madness





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

internal prisoner [of war]


I’ve not yet started living
having been bogged down
in a dissident quagmire
wishing incessantly to be
drugged & tortured
by a make-believe enemy

[instead I am held
against my will
charged w/imaginary crimes
against humanity]

again I plea
I’ve not engaged in any sort
of alleged insanity
—and if you would be so kind
to free me from these chains
I will set out on foot
with neither contraband
nor weaponry
in a direction opposite
from my mother’s love
with nary a thought
to kill again





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

radioactive heartbeats


the dynasties today
enjoy the technologies
bestowed upon them
—and those bent on ruling
by a clenched fist
turn their pseudo-citizens into
radioactive matter

it matters not what you
can do for your country
now that we’ve become
walking timebombs
repopulating the planet
[by way of decree]
two to three babies at a time





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

whether natural or man-made


streams are dying up
the rivers receding
winter is coming
should we be worried

missiles are sailing
nukes are on the move
sitting outside
the danger zone
should we be worried

tent cities crop up
accommodating despair
the world revolving
as people flee
what they thought
was their home
destinations unknown
should we be worried

birds and butterflies
migrating southward
before the winter kill
struggling against
prevailing winds
whether natural
or man-made
[should we be worried]





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

classic sunrise


nothing comes to mind
as the sun rises undeterred
provoking birdsong
nervous anticipation
and artificial light

the forecast calls
for isolated bombings
and more terrorist attacks
the kitchen radio
unable to locate a station





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

on ending the protests


the threats are real
as real as the violence
in the streets
an angry mob
unstoppable
marches toward its
final destination


beware the nukes
once they’re launched
there will be
no more mob
no more anger
no more streets
upon which to protest





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

doctor strangelove


there is a strange frequency in the air
and the traffic is lighter than usual
[nearly nonexistent actually]
it’s as though the small & bright city
has become a ghost town


pick a year any year and you will
find how nothing has changed
how ghost towns have become
overtaken by nature in seventy-five
or one hundred years’ time

of all the cold wars taken place
this one is the most chilling
women & children sacrificed
by the hundreds of thousands
the men mysteriously evaporated





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

in this post-apocalyptic world


I thought it was monday
but it was sunday again
as if six days went missing
blown away by nuclear winds

the world news at nine
didn’t tell me anything
I didn’t already know
living on a wing & a prayer
in this post-apocalyptic world

the great migration
has only just begun
how many sundays may pass
before I must move on





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

we don’t belong here


there is much to fear
but the thought is fleeting
for there is much to do
such as renaming islands
or teaching children
a new language

forces around the world
gain momentum
destroying anything
in their path
—years later a second wave ensues
[the reconstruction phase]
villages slowly reappearing
vegetation taking root
from the ashes





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

the world isn’t full of love


the constant call to arms
loudspeakers in the city streets
projecting all the romance languages

young boys & girls tilt their heads
counting years on their fingers
virtual tactical gear painted on their skin
marching to the snare & the bugle

a caravan of tarp covered vehicles
transport wet-eared recruits
populating newly formed camps
outside the danger zone

soon the city will be empty
and children in their infinite wisdom
find what the world lacks is love





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

repeating history


the problem with the world today
we’re living in the past
like a smoker who can’t kick the habit
we’re unable to quit killing
whether sanctioned by allegedly legitimate
power brokers
or straight up civilian violence

when I was a kid we played
cowboys & indians
cops & robbers
doctor & nurse
role playing because we were left
to our devices
and our parents bought us weaponry
and any kind of idol we would ask for

on sundays we were reminded how evil
we truly were
and twice or maybe three times a year
we were forgiven all our sins

come monday however
we were right back at it
perpetuating the only thing that made sense





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

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