poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “life”

the worlds that we live [in]

now that we are nearing the end
can we say it could be another way

at what moment can you point to
saying right there
that specific place in time
progressing toward the committed path
only to back off
at the eleventh hour

country boy in the big city
big city girl lost in green acres
hopping from one continent to the next
eyes set on orbiting like a satellite

there’s no debate
it’s all left to conjecture
but it’s the world we live in
and the worlds
that we don’t

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


nobody knew what it meant
but they went with it
thinking [amongst themselves]
they’d figure it out as they went along

it was a strand
not like a piece of cloth
not like tungsten inside
an incandescent vessel
but like the tiniest clue
a piece of a key
an eighth of the characters
from an ancient code

its length is immeasurable
stretching beyond the milky way
likely visible than not
capable of shaping itself
into a chameleon
or a firefly
a child’s teardrop

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

a delicate genius

I’m not interested
in long goodbyes
they’re much too messy
if you know what I mean

a quick break
isn’t that the ticket
see you later alligator
sayonara sucker
adios amiga
you get the gist of it

one minute you’re the life
of the party
the next shuffle-boarding
at the assisted living addition
adjacent to the castle
the queen herself coming
to visit every third tuesday

but you yes you
you’re too busy or maybe
dealing with you own
leaving me in the conservatory
light on my feet
perhaps levitating
tugging but not plucking
the delicate petals

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

life before your very eyes

it’s gone
whatever it was
a flashing light
a fleeting thought
a glimpse deep within a newly
created memory
most likely not to be recalled
anytime soon
spared the permanency
of any & all airwaves
perhaps recorded
in some other fashion
in such a way we may
never understand
until time has long passed
and there it is
long last
staring you in the eye

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

running in & out of control

it’s become unnoticeable
whatever it is
pinpointing by putting a finger on it
oh no forget it
not gonna happen
the it is an indescribable reality
you face everyday without
knowing what is pushing you
through the eye of the needle
or pulling your leg
or arms or eyes out of their sockets
if only I knew what it was
then maybe just maybe
something could be done about it

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

one beautiful life at a time

you reflect & wonder
how it was
you escaped death
(after all these years)
recounting on 1.4 hands
those near-
death experiences

each one a story
unto themselves
you tell your invisible friends
but since this is a poem
the details will be vague
& the metaphors

where there is smoke
there is humanity
attempting to put out fires
romantic truth-seekers
watching the world
casually destroying itself
one beautiful life at a time

june two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

story of my life

up and down
and down and up
that’s the story of my life

what’s that noise
just outside the door
a bark
a meow
an unexpected package
a girl scout selling thin mints

doorbell rings
I get up and walk
through the kitchen
and family room
mumbling beneath my breath
this better be good
this better be good

door opens
nobody’s there
I look at my feet
no dog
no cat
no package
no cookie salesgirl

before closing door
I look all ways
up and down
and down and up
from side to side
straight forward and behind
shaking the cobwebs
out of my head
and gradually regressing
to my former state

october two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

throwing caution to the wind

I’m just a two-bit actor
asked to sit still and observe
ticket holders weaving their
way through popcorn lines

what I want to say is that
the movie is in your head
replaying the same scene
in so many different ways

the first time around I was
smoking on a park bench
imagining I was with them
playing frisbee golf

of course that scene was cut
and replaced by a younger me
burning crosses in mississippi

sometimes I sit for hours
in a room full of hopefuls
not saying a word
but rehearsing every line
I ever knew
just in case they call my name

december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

taking advantage

this never gets easy
this guessing game with no
real answers
written on the back of cards

how many times do I
just get in the car
looking for something
that doesn’t exist

how many times do I
open a door
just because I think
somebody is knocking

that thing around the corner
it’s pretty fucking scary
some of the time
and sometimes it’s more than scary
and that’s when you understand
just how alive you really are

so I hear this weekend is
supposed to be super nice
I suppose I should take advantage
of the situation while I still can

february two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


by Daniella Sciuto & J Matthew Waters

Are you jealous
Of the space between us
Filled with darkness
And twinkling stars

Bereft of passion
The green patina of sarcasm
Lobs my way

Have you forgotten
All those years
Reduced to a mere photograph
Safekept under glass

In an unmanned

Why did you build that bomb
The one that divided us
A mushroom cloud of discontent
Hovering overhead

As our atom split
Turning two into too many nights
Alone and cold in the dark
I tried to seek a sign up above
Past an endless sky without light

Finally I ask myself am I the one
Am I jealous of the space between us
Of the fragile photograph kept under glass

Was it me who built that bomb
Did I hover in discontent
Watching as we split
Lonely in this silo in the dark

july two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

out of reach

he turned dirt into mud with spit
and gentle hands
nimble fingers changing malleable
clay into lifeless figurines

they possessed no soul
and no hearts beat inside to fuel
their starving minds

high up on a shelf they sat
out of reach from the many visitors
who called randomly
touring the estate but coming up empty
sent to find something inside
from forces unknown

that is all there is he would tell them
and they turned and left
disappointed but certain
there were prisoners inside the place
desperate to be saved

july two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

her world as she knew it

they say there is no setting
or rising of the sun
they say it is always there
and it’s just your imagination
that sometimes it is not

with that in mind I stood at the
doorstep and handed a child
paper and markers and
asked her to interpret the
world as she knew it

from inside her mind she drew
countless circles orbiting
infinite stars
and every now and then
she placed a new moon
where you’d least expect it

I wondered how many of her
suns supported life as we know it
and as I was about to ask her
she told me she needed
more space and time

september 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

the enemy within

solar winds introduce new
life into the galaxy
hurtling subatomic creatures on
out-of-control rocks
racing to find a place to crash

lucky enough to penetrate
outer atmospheres
they breakup and collaborate
as golfball-sized hail
strategically hitting safe houses

once accepted within they evolve
one thousand years
learning the culture and waiting
patiently to take over
a planet destined to be theirs

june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

pushing and pulling

it’s so dark I can’t even see my fingers
so cold cannot feel my heart

machines hum along in the white room
giving me fresh air and influencing my dreams

what nobody knows
       is when I’ll be home
or when I’ll be able to say
       I remember everything

(due to atmospheric disturbances
summer never arrived)

crawling through the rubble
my fingertips make rocks sound like glass
rubbing against themselves like butterfly wings

scratching below the surface
I give inspiration to newly awakened lives

june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where oh where can she be

she’s in a better place now
he mumbled to himself
retying his wingtips on the bathroom stool
dabbing his finger with his tongue
and erasing old smudge marks

she never felt comfortable
walking in her own shoes
choosing instead to be someone else
like a promising young star
searching for that perfect role

he walked back into the parlor
and mingled among the living
wondering where in the macrocosm
her consciousness had landed
now that her body lay in state

june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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