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poetry by j matthew waters

crows of aleppo


crow followed me home
like a shadow over my sorrow
squawking like a dog does
not knowing where to turn

by the time I got there
it had burned to the ground
that crow following me home
suddenly a dozen or more

as they circled up above
a calm enveloped my being
those crows following me home
neither ally nor enemy




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

firefly


there is poetry in sadness
and vice versa if you like
a far cry from madness
residing inside a troubled mind

to imagine happiness
arising from darkness
is a beautiful possibility to those
in search of inner peace

to the poet an opening
is ever present for all to find
regardless of any circumstance
no matter how slight




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

can I graduate


we’ve been in line for years
learning lessons the hard way
snipers with rifles sitting yards away
picking us off one at a time

we really didn’t know
we were standing in line
we thought it was just a drill
like marching down hallways single file
or hunkering underneath desks
arms and hands covering our heads

but now here we are today
this bright beautiful saturday afternoon
an outside ceremony
price tag tassels on mortarboard caps
a lone rifleman undetected
somewhere in the crowd
randomly picking us off again
one graduate at a time




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

change in scenery


lost in pages near open window
intermittent sunshine
partners with sporadic showers
inducing notions of contemplation

yesterday but an afterthought
like unfinished daydreams
shadowy figurines creeping
along walls of unforgiving concrete

having concluded another story
you allow your eyes to rest
welcoming a newfound breeze
cooler than the days before




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

emotional like the sea


sunrises come and go
climbing and dropping like clockwork
turning pale skin to red
and correcting failing vision

inside you is this acumen
as powerful as midday sun
dying to expose itself
for all the world to see

heartbeats ebb and flow
like half moon across midnight green
at mercy with the tides
and hoping not to die




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

inside map rooms


all things are eventual
if not downright equal
why not let them play out as they may
instead of contemplating
various scenarios inside map rooms
where alternative endings
are inherently undesirable




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

quietly falling back to earth


an inch of rain fell overnight
though I had no idea


it was as if I had been kept
inside some secret hiding place
isolated from the reality
that is the outside world

sometimes I want to be included
to be ‘in the know’ as they say
capable of explaining how my breath
is visible on cool autumn mornings

oftentimes I find myself drifting
studying beautiful minds with fingertips
delicate as porcelain and
ever-changing like rolling hills

though the rain did not awaken me
I was suddenly released from
this secret hiding place
unbound and once again aware




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

another extravagant night


it was a black and white murder
in low to moderate neighborhood
vehicles lining both sides of streets
stray cats smoking jays in alleyways

informants seemed to lurk everywhere
but none of them were talking
having taking cover in pawnshops
and city parks and nearby boxing club

local police tape off the area by spotlight
interviewing scores of witnesses
waiting for pink panther to arrive

firetrucks and ambulances come and go
leaving behind two chalk outlines

so it seems nobody saw a goddamn thing
and one by one household lights turn off

come daybreak paperboy arrives
followed by little ones skipping down steps
hauling backpacks and walking with best friends
waving at local policemen and wondering
who it was that got popped last night




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

saturday afternoon matinee


I first saw you in a movie
your lines were well rehearsed
an unforgettable voice
repeatedly calling my name

as much I wanted to return
I couldn’t bear to see you again
knowing your lines
(though well rehearsed)
were never meant for me

in my dreams
we meet frequently
but it was always
a one-sided conversation
one that I can no longer
bear to repeat

I’ve since come to understand
we were never really there
and I was always left
to my own devices
uttering words sometimes
meant to be written down
other times simply regrettable




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hundreds of missing children


narrow slashes of daylight
creep along wood floor
filtering in through tall and narrow
opaque windows on either
side of closed front door

outside it’s 99 degrees fahrenheit
all the shades are drawn
gray tiger sprawled out
on same wood floor
conflicted by uncontrollable
desires to chasing butterflies

fan blades rotate circularly
redistributing manufactured air
breathed in by robo-occupants
out of touch with outside world
where hundreds of children go missing




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

old records off the shelf


so many songs about saturday night
up and down the radio dial
forever cast into eternity
thanks to artistry and antigravity

and there you are behind the curtain
hairbrush in your hand
belting out your favorite songs
younger siblings doubting your sanity




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the tempest and the shrew


we keep having this conversation
over and over again
and each time I find myself
considering apologizing for things
I may have thought but ever said

she’s a storm
a whirlwind
a truth-seeker without a guide
and whenever the mood strikes her
she dashes back into my life
hotly intense and incredibly refreshing

it’s as if she’s put my passion in a pot
stirring it incessantly
making me say things I would never dare repeat
inside a confessional

eventually things gradually settle into place
and I am temporarily at ease
but by the time morning sets in
the storm has either passed
or is raging again ever so violently




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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