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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “poem”

breaking the law of physics


they were bootlegging bread
(manna for their souls)
across the desert aboard
solar-powered getaway carpets

there were many contracts out
bounties on their heads
dead or alive mattered not
not as long as they had bread

some say they were aliens
newly arrived for umpteenth time
practicing rituals underground
living on contraband flatbread





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

An uncertain smile


I swear it was Stan sitting there
in the Iowa City ped mall
full head of hair and black beard no less
complete with Salem in hand

He appeared to be drawing
charcoal pencil on cotton paper
backpack and camera strapped across
bench made of iron and wood

Of course it couldn’t possibly be him
afterall it will be nineteen years
this summer since Stan
had vanished into thin air

I wanted to walk up to him
and ask him twenty questions
ending with exactly why he went away
and was it really the right decision

He must have detected my stare
and before I turned to face the crowd
I tried to put on a smile
he waving back with great uncertainty





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fifteenth of january


the world aches
is in so much pain
perhaps from all the dancing
party-going and binges
designed to make all things
temporarily forgotten

tiny islands go up in smoke
making trees weep
and birds migrate aimlessly

there are arrows flying in the sky
unfortunately not the kind
penetrating a young man’s heart
forever changed to love

it seems to be neither tears
nor laughter that remains
but unforgettable impressions
discovered at most unexpected times




january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

california calling


someone had it right
not sure if it was eagles or
kid rock or red hot chili peppers

I’m done here
there’s nothing left to do
except buy me some cowboy boots
and head out west

I’ve been there before
san diego and napa valley
further north to humboldt bay

nothing’s ever permanent
but this time will be different
finding myself camping atop cliffs
inevitably crumbling into the sea





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

snowed in on a saturday night


it’s another saturday night and all I got
is some elton john and guess who
your aces and eights beating
my sixteens and seventeens and eighteens

it’s gotten to the point it’s not funny anymore
though I tell you to shuffle yet again
expecting a different outcome

you’ve got me hypnotized she would say
but all I could see was her wide awake eyes
showing me signs throughout the night
I’ve never once considered

I keep changing vinyls on turntable
mostly long plays but some forty-fives
plenty of sunshine stored in the fridge
otherwise keeping warm by candlelight





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the faces inspired her


inside city park
faces inspiring or otherwise
come and go by day
and by night
uncaring free spirits sitting on benches
walking across water
or upon thin air

in the center
there is a god continually
creating
taking in all the inspired faces
(or otherwise)
rearranging destinies by way
of fortunes or falls
turning rain into sunshine
and night into day






january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

scooping dirt like clockwork


there are sunflower seeds
wrapped in paper towel inside
plastic sandwich bag
stowed away in kitchen drawer

above in cabinet canister of coffee
frequently removed from shelf
one or two scoops taken from within
right around sunrise
placed back nonchalantly

eventually container goes empty
the scoop left to its own devices
seeds still seemingly forgotten
dying to be found again





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

something is missing


the headlines are loud and clear
wars at home and abroad
national championship game
bull market stock run
millionaire lotto winners
cars swept away in mudslides
russian babies born in miami

they mean nothing when
stitched together haphazardly
presented in pretty picture frames
designed to throw us off course
like some juvenile giraffe
on a mission to make new friends
unable to see the wood for the trees





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

melting icicles mesmerizing like prisms


winter is a temporary affair
beautiful and inviting from the inside
fires burning in twilight
bodies warm and comfortable
dreams hot and cold and as real as life itself

she looked like an angel from afar
and especially up close
a winged creature who whispered
to me in my dreams
how winter is a temporary affair
and soon I will come back to life
and she will show me how to live again

how I wanted to believe her
but in the morning all was lost
those dreams I could easily touch
once again become out of reach
and as I go about my day
I repeat to myself
winter is a temporary affair





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

changing of the seasons


back in the day
haircuts cost a nickel
and most working men kept
shotgun or two out back

don’t make me go out
to the shed
he would often say
but nobody knew exactly
what that meant

boys learn to chop wood
before snow ever falls
piling stacks upon stacks
attempting to stay
two steps ahead of winter





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

On the Fourth of July


Hop skip and jump
all the way to bank & back
nickels in pockets
pennies in shoes

The ice is thin
but surprisingly strong
watching in amazement
elephants marching on

Many moons smile
only a few may frown
there is orange in the sky
nobody seems to forget

Listen here and listen now
silence and fireworks
commingling on purpose
resting up
for the unrest





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

from the book of numerology


there is truth in numbers
and there is money too
the two go hand in hand
like youtube and click ads

so these cats we knew
decided to get off the grid
cash in their chips
bought one-way ticket to cape town
determined to find truth from
some mojo guru goddess

of course once there
they were told to draw a number
forced to blend in line with
other carbon dated records
all competing to uncover exact
combination to make it out alive





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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