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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “poem”

two young girls at a window


one standing and one sitting what do they see
looking out through the parlor windows
the mostly empty room flooded with natural light
outside the sun reflects off the freshly fallen snow

what do they see and what do they say
or are they simply reading each other’s minds
[like they’ve done since the beginning of time]
or are they marveling at something we cannot see
something beyond our limited comprehension

one standing and one sitting what do they see
these divine spirits disguised as two young girls
looking out through the parlor windows
entranced by the sun reflecting off all eternity




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

crouching in the outer limits


the first snow has come and gone
and I’ve nothing to show for it
except for a newly purchased spark plug
I’ve yet to replace in my snow blower

the first snow came and went
and I’ve yet to complete my autumn chores
simply because (once again) climate
change has caught me off guard

the first snow is certain to come
unpredictable like a lion
crouching in the outer limits
patiently waiting for a little something




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

what’s for supper


in the kitchen at 4:00 pm
mute the phone and turn on the radio
and the stove
there is work to be done

nowadays it takes twelve minutes
to get up the stairs
but only six to get down
thousands of thoughts per second
coming and going
indiscriminately
whether replaying a distant past
or recreating a picture perfect future

always back in the kitchen by 4:00 pm
that is the mission at hand
as long as there is no nausea
nor getting stuck somewhere on the stairs
back in the kitchen where there is
constant happiness
browning away regrets
and tossing out sorrows
turning tears into olive oil
and nervous laughter into seasonings

from another room an unfamiliar voice
repeats a familiar question




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Gorky Park


Sipping homemade lemonade in Gorky Park
ambling along the Moskva River
in the Summer of 1981
Militsiya patrolling the perimeters
as if our lives are in danger

Only months later three corpses and a pair
of ice skates will be found
right along the very path we once strolled
stories circulating how their faces
and fingernails were cut off

We sit and shudder and decide against
attending any open air venues
at least not until some sort of normalcy
returns to this Central Park of Culture & Leisure
so named after a peaceful literary man




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

accessory after the fact


what am I supposed to do
once I lose the anger
he asked me
going on to say the anger was his
only true passion
that if he loses it won’t he lose his reason
for living

I propositioned that what he was asking
was nothing but
mere rhetorical questioning
but he had no idea what that meant
just as he had no idea
why he was living with such anger

you see I went on to say
your anger has been your best friend
all these years
but we both know best friends
can’t possibly last forever
one day each of you
will have to go your separate ways

he closed his eyes and lifted his chin
breathing in through his nose
and out through his mouth

eventually he responded by saying
I think I’m starting to understand
what you’re trying to tell me

you want me to kill him don’t you




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

creature of habit


I’ve learned to pressure cook
chicken legs
inside fifteen minutes
experimenting with varying
amounts of time and water
and avocado oil

cookbooks and manuals
accumulate atop the microwave
already cataloged by google
and easily recalled
by casual surfing
or simple voice commands

my pet mouse died the other day
and in a brave attempt
to prove to myself
no longer am I a creature of habit
I’m seriously considering
getting by without one




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

practicing the art of peace


we believe in the art of words
realists with a biased agenda
embracing a not too distant past
when freedom superseded profit

trading weaponry in for pens
and ammunition for paper
we recreate a new world order
based on a peaceful tomorrow




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

powerless


I feel feverish and contagious
and utterly powerless
like a little boy with no place to go
superman cape
hanging in adjacent closet
I sit all alone at the foot of my bed

do I dare slip under the covers
and fall fast asleep
knowing I may never awaken
or do I simply recite every prayer
I’ve ever been taught
repeating one after the other
until the morning light




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

some fifty years later


mysteriously curious
I am unloved and underfed
walking along
so many fine lines
in and out of these city limits

acquaintances
may come and go
regardless if dead or alive
leaving me pondering
what the morning will bring

when the sun reaches out
touching me genuinely
I am reminded how
beautifully tragic we are
even though we have
more lives yet to live




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

from the ghost of houdini


oh there I go again
creating something out of nothing
like some kind of lesser god
attempting to imitate mortality

yes I’ve been playing with rope again
learning all sorts of new knots
but that’s all it is ~ playing
like an actor on a stage
constantly coached by sophocles
or shakespeare or beckett
as if I’ve no training at all

all I want is one last chance
to perform a one act play
one in which I can prove once and for all
I’m a force to be reckoned with
that these simple tricks up my sleeve
are actually true magic
graciously handed down to me




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the first snow


everything slowly becoming obsolete
like telephone lines and hand-written letters
it’s impossible to count
all the snowflakes falling from the sky
let alone the days until eternity

now you see me and now you don’t
sleight of hand and deceptive shadows
street lamps illuminating
every single snowflake falling from the sky
children dancing with open arms

nothing lasts though everything comes back
be it flower or bee or reincarnated deity
returning back to earth
like snowflakes falling from the sky
[once again] for the very first time




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

once arriving at the summit


I’m lost like never before
song playing with my emotions
supplanting me to places I knew
existed but could never quite reach

I’m supposed to get dressed
for a funeral or wedding or baptism
but deciding to wear black or white
or something in the outer spectrum
seems to require more thought
than I care to admit

either this slightly haunted house
keeps growing or I’m slowly shrinking
some days taking me hours
to reach the top of the stairs
leaving me questioning my next move
once arriving at the summit

what I’ll always have though is song
one playing after another
ever familiar and streaming live
on these barely visible airwaves




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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