poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “imagination”

I’m on vacation

I’ve got this idea in my head
I’m on vacation
that it’s become my occupation
debunking conspiracy theories
like the reversal of poles
or the inevitable grand gesture
from snake island

I often find myself
fishing for my mother
in deep cold trout pools
the depths of which producing
the darkest of blues

I’ve come to terms
with my misfortunes
and dash away to old cities
as if I’m a bored to death
like Louis or Lestat

The best part is I can
jump anytime I like
from princess cruise ships
putting myself in a position
to press rewind
for hundreds of years
or fast forward beyond
my imaginary tears

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

improvised explosive device

an abandoned backpack
off the well-worn trail
seemingly in good shape
full & bulging at the seams
like a waxing gibbous

I pedal past at some
twenty miles per hour
hands on the dropdowns
eyes shifting back & forth
from bag to trail to bag

curiosity killed the cat
this much is known
but I could only imagine
what’s inside would
surely be my demise

upon the return trip
flying faster with the wind
I approach same backpack
this time strapped upon
a hiker in full stride
and very much alive

october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sweet imagination

on a sunny sunday afternoon
we entertained
possibilities of what could be

sitting on metal chairs
cushions still in garage
lemon beer tasting ever so sweet
we pointed at unshakable signs
better things sure to come

there were many yesterdays
full of fear and hurt and doubt
but today is what you would call
a new world order

you see the mystery cat
has returned in all his glory
sporting a wide brimmed hat
entertaining us with a song and dance
smiling for the cameras

may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all right reserved

what happens here may not stay here

inside your walk-in closet you keep
a wooden bowl atop your dresser
filled past the brim with little things
little tidbit kinds of things that have little
to no value like bottlecaps and matchbooks
rubber bracelets and key chains
a deck of the tiniest of cards you’re
quite sure has played solitaire

sometimes you imagine a little spider
lives inside the tidbit of things
milling about mostly in the dark
but occasionally coming out on afternoons
to unwind atop the deck of cards
basking in the filtered light
leaking through diamond-shaped openings
that really aren’t here nor there

october two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

children without smartphones

homeless little ones
fill the city square
walking aimlessly and unsupervised
staring into the palms of their hands
slaying pokémon dragons with
whatever imagination
they can get their hands on

august two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

disappearing act

they sat in a circle
boy girl
boy girl
boy girl
making up a story
one sentence at a time
a story about a stickman
made out of salty pretzels
wearing a white paper hat
and strutting around
outside the ring
twirling a magician’s cane
and making each one disappear
with a simple tap of their crowns

april two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

into the great wide open

a box on the side of the road
not a box really but a folder
a small folder at that
the kind with a rubber strap
wrapped around to keep the flap shut
ensuring that whatever would be inside
could not easily be outside

it was just sitting there on the
graveled shoulder of highway 13
and somehow I had spotted it
driving some sixty miles per hour
its image now just a snapshot
first and foremost in my mind

traffic was light but each time
someone drove by I imagined
the lunchbox-sized folder
fluttered from each sixty mile per hour draft
the rubber strap gradually shifting
loosening and eventually opening
exposing what was once concealed
launching the contents up and out
into the great wide open

august two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

imaginary figments

in the dementia ward they
played poker with toothpicks
and told off-color jokes everyone
laughed at but nobody understood

nothing is real here one of them said
you’re all just figments of my imagination

I used to love fig newtons another one said

they don’t exist you idiot
not fig newtons or chocolate chip cookies
not milky way bars or rice crispy treats
not sugar and spice or anything nice

everyone chuckled except for the one
who used to love fig newtons

oh just shut up and deal he said
before the lights go out

july two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


I’ve secluded myself or
shall I say excluded myself (from others)
confined to a modest space
somewhere in Phoenicia
surrounded by stained glass distractions
which keep out the harsh daylight
only to reappear much later as
illuminated decorations of the night

There is no time for sleep and
cloudless nights make for lighter work
problem solving triangles
and troubleshooting new moons
piecing back together romances
from far away places where future
discoveries withstand the test of time

january two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where the trees had fallen

taking trails less traveled
led me to where the
trees had fallen
where horses long ago
abandoned the woods

falling to my knees I
listened ‘neath the silence
felt inner earth’s heartbeat
inside my very bones
faintly alive and hurting

lost generations remain
charred in this place
recycled into ghostly ashes
reshaped into
ever-changing apparitions

silence ensued and robbed
me of all my thoughts
leading me to believe
the only way out was
through my imagination

october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Rewriting the Universe

by Daniella Sciuto & J Matthew Waters

I drew these lines ages ago without
understanding the consequences
and my desire to protect them
weakened as time wore on

I sketched these images
fast frenetic murals on the wall
portraying all my doubts
concerning this world
and myself
and then I lived on
each day passing by
these lines remained unchanged
concealed by a thin layer of imagination

I crossed the line into a new
form of reality
regaining my strength by
becoming one with creation
drawn across the land
yet the pull of these lines
that basis of all
beyond the veil of life
influenced everything
no matter how much I whitewashed
my tabula rasa was not pure
and I found myself
redrawing the lines
found myself starting all over again

this is how it both
ends and begins
with poetry written
rewritten and rewritten again
layers upon meanings
upon words
with us forever
redrawing the lines
starting all over again
whilst the ghosts of poems past
influence everything

september two thousand fourteenl
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

gingerbread man

shadows lengthen and darken
inviting imaginations to consider what
shades of color scare you

those gremlins that still
sleep with you
the ones that keep your back
when you’re lazy or drunk or sedated
protect you by never telling you
what it is lying in wait

without time to worry
about where the shadows of
doubt reside
you forgo daydreams
and other childish pursuits
in favor of running away from
everything breathing down your neck

october two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

waiting in the wings

there is nothing sad in my song
it’s just that the purposefulness of it
is long gone

(I have since retired to another room)

alone I sit and bang on keys
meant to be played by a
musician high on weed
and improvising

we first discovered how the
establishment came to be
and then we destroyed them
brought them back to life with poetry
only the wretched understood

the professor did not show
up for work today so we taught
ourselves by sipping on danish wine
and reenacting a little hamlet

when the day is done don’t worry
about turning out the light
there’ll be another wave
of stark raving mad lunatics
to entertain your dying days

october two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the second flight of the samaras

the industrious child spent
his morning picking up the fallen fruit
of the maple tree
placing them one or two or three at a time
into a plastic orange pail
as his mother sat on the glider
on the front porch
rocking the little one to sleep
comfortably in her arms
both bundled within a shawl

a cool breeze made the boy’s cheeks
as pink as the tulips that bloomed
nearly a month ago
and when the pail became filled
to his satisfaction he disappeared
into the house
only to reappear in a second story window
where he proceeded to pretend
a fleet of military choppers
converged behind enemy lines

june two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

after the thrill is gone

i imagined
what it would be like
to be alone eternally
without a soul
in the world
to share life’s
finest moments

as my thought
began to dwindle
into nothingness
she kissed me
atop my forehead
and whispered sweetly
the thrill is gone

december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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