poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “ghost”

leave of absence

I started a poem last night
but I abandoned it
having not slept for days

afterwards I recalled
how I had died
—in the afterlife it was as if
nothing had changed

today nobody seems to know
why I’m still here
I tell them
this is where I work
& they quietly resume
their own activities

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
back onto the shoulder
of a road
less traveled

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

the elephant not in the room

I wasn’t supposed to be here
I would say
it was a line I had been practicing
since nineteen ninety-nine

where were you supposed to be
someone would invariably ask

at this point I would
pretend to pay my tab
and walk through the back door
murmuring something about
how my story is as unbelievable
as my untimely demise

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

mind over body spirit

there’s a ghost in every machine
and the smarter the machine becomes
the more dangerous the ghost

december two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

an american alien in egypt

in the dark in alexandria
chasing an illusion
from one continent to the next

this city is far from dead
and inhaling its past is intoxicating
no matter the time of day

greeted by angels at midnight
I’m allowed to dock and disembark
a foreigner without a guest pass

I say tell them I’ll barely be seen
walking their sleepless streets
as if back in new york city

april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as if I had been there

a thin vapor trail
slipped in through the front door
but nobody was home

if I had been there
I would have noticed something
was quite different
but I was gone on a
journey of a lifetime

the place had not changed
all these years
everything perfectly in place
as if nobody had really
lived there

while my mind wandered
away from worldly ideals
seeking out transcendental gurus
residing on new moons
my spirit remained behind
waiting patiently
to be seen

april two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

ghost of my former self

I always enjoy my time
walking amongst the living
dressed in off-white and
uninterested in success
briefcase in one hand
wall street journal in the other
umbrella purposefully left behind
in a vacated train seat

I once met an angel
while witnessing a stabbing
on sunset boulevard
quickly turned my back
because her light was too bright
her tucked wings a reminder
I can’t possibly find my way
without first learning to fly

october two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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