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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “artist”

portrait of an artist


you’ve a fearless imagination she tells him
as he positions himself at the easel
placing certain charcoals on the tray

you’re beautifully sublime this morning he replies
I love what you’ve done to your eyes
but please stay relaxed and keep talking to me
and hold that cigarette up just a little higher

I’ve been so bored lately she exhales
cloud of smoke drifting toward the back light
her neck craning backwards
her head dropping back on the futon
jet black hair sinking into white pillow

I know dear I know he says
sketching feverishly
stopping ever so briefly for a mouthful
of homemade farm fresh ale

I’ve missed you she says
but you’re always coming and going
you never have time for me anymore

yes yes yes he says
please pull your slip up just a little higher
I need to feel more of your inner mystique




august two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the artist and I


we will cross the river
the artist and I
and we will find a new outlet
to call our home
and we will sleep as one
falling in and out of
romantic daydreams
evening sun hiding her
eyes behind decorative fan
rising moon reaching out
to gently awaken us
so that we may create again




july two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

artists on the run


we are everyday people
well known on the streets
beloved but misunderstood
working for the greater good
and transitioning day by day

authorities keep us running
from one place to the next
from city to state to country
carving calligraphy inside caves
pasting portraits of unsung
heroes on border walls

we are everyday people
telling your untold stories
stories of scarcity and neglect
praying the world one day
wakes up and takes notice




june two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

starving graffiti artist


downtown railroad cars
sit still in line like cows
waiting to get branded

cigarettes cost too much
but not a quart of malt liquor
or can of yellow spray paint

getting good day’s sleep
is critical for optimal performance
when working graveyard shifts

nomad apostles carry flashlights
and lighters and waxing moons
calling out on occasion to look out

not opposed to taking new requests
or collaborating on a tanker
there’s a preference for going solo
especially on kansas city southern




september two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

watercoloring


it takes much longer than seven days
to create something as beautiful as you
but here I sit on the veranda
trying to figure it all out

there is no rushing perfection
there is only absorbing
taking in what light there is
and channeling into something else

mixing yellows and greens
and all sorts of shades of blue
the white of the moon
the white of a rabbit’s foot
of an eggshell
or a lost soul

certain brushes make better oceans
certain vessels travel magically through time
transmitting snapshots of sunrises
never before seen

and here on the veranda
light slowly crawls to the surface
waves softly slapping my face


july two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

figure painting


i could see you
out of the corner of my eye
my angel
wrapped in her own
feathery blanket

uninspired for over an hour
i picked up my brush
and hurriedly
lashed out at the paper tacked
to the easel
scratching our plumes
creating locks like thin-haired pasta
eyes ocean blue
half-open and watery
lips closed and
relaxed like a worn-out child

she did not move
and did not make a sound
while everyone else
looked the other way

satisfied
i picked up my things
and waved goodbye
told everyone i’d see them
again next week
especially
my tired little friend


february two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

color my world


an empty canvas in an otherwise
empty world
suspended above sands
washed clean by the hands of the moon
time after countless time

the artist is nowhere to be found
perhaps adrift at sea
in search of something unforeseen
paint brushes and palette
at rest on three-legged easel

what is lost will one day be found
the artist and canvas
reunited when least expected
bringing back color
to an otherwise empty world



april two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

exterior designer


I love the way she speaks to me
when the light is just right
the color of her eyes
transitioning from blue to bright

she wraps her arms around mine
like a skintight sleeve
vibrant and indelible
sinfully striking yet naive

no pain is greater than her mark
engraved upon my hide
forever reminding me
artistry shan’t ever be denied



may two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a brush with death


you hide your beauty behind
your deepest thoughts
deceived into believing
there is nothing left to share

generations of ingenuity
push your instincts
and test your resolve
to fashion the unthinkable

end result is earth shattering
and unbreakable
as you reveal one final time
your undying creativity



april two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Untitled – Circa 1984

Dedicated to Gary W. Keena
March 1, 1952 – February 1, 2013


What have you to live for
before you leave this world? before you’re on your own?
What cause will you die for
in your final hour? at your greatest need?

Tell me before you leave, what have you to say?
Tell me of the lonely riddle and the unknown way.

Old man, sit up straight,
don’t cough away your life…don’t hide your eyes.
Listen to my words of wonder;
do they matter? who really cares?

Answer me one question
before you leave this world…to satisfy my fear.
Tell me if you know
where you’re going next…tell me of paradise.

Today, today, it yearns for yesterday;
take me back one day so I might know the secret of creation.

Tell me before you leave, what have you to say?
Tell me of the lonely riddle and the unknown way.


About Gary


Poetry Video

recorded and posted february second two thousand thirteen
originally written circa nineteen eighty-four
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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