jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “poem”

the bird and her fiddle


listen carefully there is a bird
 warbling from the moon
  how she got there is anyone’s guess

is she yellow or is she red or blue
 plump or thin or somewhere in between
  can you tell by listening carefully
   to the tenor of her fiddle

there is a feel to her presence
 sublime and pleasantly inviting
  when will the world stop spinning
   and listen carefully to her message




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

smooth criminal


let’s have some fun tonight
a motto that never grows old
another sinister third shift
sitting comfortably on the recliner
fingers limber and dancing
across the touch keyboard
searching for gold underground
it’s just a matter of time

some lockboxes are easier
to jimmy open than others
while barred windows need only
combination taps to slip right past
and those secret backdoors
once found are virtually accessible
no need for ropes or ladders or plastic
just a quick letting in & out
before escaping into the night




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

monday morning wishes


days have passed since the poor bird
was knifed a hundred different times
its remains divvied up amongst the guests
dished into disposable containers
never to be seen again

days have passed yet reminders remain
sights and sounds and lingering smells
laughter and tears and silence
talk of getting back together
a wishbone hanging on a branch




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

unexplained promises


I lost you to the night so many moons ago
metallic ship sailing off into the red sky
escorted by a company of single-winged fighters

your telepathic thoughts immediately
traveled through the dynamically charged lines
sending assuring words of an imminent rescue

how I wanted to believe in such promises
unknowing if it was really you on the other end
or simply a trick of my ever-complicated mind

of course neither you nor the mother ship
ever again broke through the thin atmospheric shield
unchanged and mysteriously crimson to this day




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a love story


lightning strikes more than twice
          opening the night sky
      and though nobody is looking
nothing will ever be the same
          oh how many times will you
have seen this show
      wiping tears away from your eyes
saying never in a million chances
          will lightning ever strike twice again




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

wishing upon a falling star


I’ve told this story so many times
though hesitant to put in writing
at least not until your passing

you’ve never felt my pain
having given up on some purpose
at least since I was born

there are no torches passing
no lives flashing before your eyes
only stars slowly dying

I know you’ve seen them falling
faster than a blink of an eye
and I wonder when I’ll write again




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when least expected


from out of nowhere you arrive
unannounced and animated
knocking down doors and
taking names
as if it’s the first time
you’ve ever been here

we ask for your credentials
but all you do is laugh
flipping through
your little black book
sharpening your pencil
with the tip of your tongue




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

picture window


what shall I see tonight
that the blind cannot
wind chimes
dying to be heard
behind double panes

birds wintering
outside my window
do not cry
and though their song
is uniquely sad
they neither beg nor steal

I’m a pretend prisoner
inside this castle
free to roam
inside these storied walls
unable to feed the birds




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

unyielding


no matter where you venture
the devil is in the details
whether along museum walls
or forest trails or narrowing alleyways
unfocus your eyes and look past the obvious
past those unmistakable realities
keeping you from looking the other way

casting your eyes downward
doesn’t guarantee gravity
will always be in your favor
but looking past the everlong horizon
might give you the freedom you desire
whether finally forgiving others
or absolving your own original sin




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sudden occurrences


I keep seeing figures and faces
that are not there
dark apparitions set against
slightly lighter shadows
appearing out of nowhere
and suddenly long gone

unseen eyes upon me
I can feel it
sharp penetrating stares
seemingly out of nowhere
freezing me momentarily
suddenly letting go

and so I move on from one
place to the next
fully aware I am being watched
by either friend or foe
or some sort of guardian
suddenly in my sights




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

transplantation


methodically she digs them out
comfortable on her
hands and knees
garden-gloved and wielding hand shovel
upturning clumps and clumps
of fern peony bulbs

she knows exactly where they’re going
and though it won’t be long
before they’re back underground
she wonders
in the back of her mind
when she’ll ever see them again




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

waving november goodbye


there it is
southern sun on a cool autumn day
reminding you of birthdays long past
spent in the silence of your own shadow
pretending it would be impossible to be found
if not for your breath escaping into the sky

but escape you do
slipping past the guard and beyond the yard
running and jumping in a dying open field
chasing ghosts of moths and butterflies
sun as bright as the smile on your face
arms waving ecstatically overhead




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

diamonds in your eyes


there is color behind those clouds
behold and open your eyes
there’s much more to discover
beyond this black & white world

do not cry moonchild of mine
unfold your palms from your eyes
[and even though you cannot see]
soon you’ll learn to read & write

I’ve described myself to you
in so many words and phrases
and yet you ask to touch my face
telling me to keep quiet for a minute

at least there’s color in my voice
[you tell me beneath your breath]
hands in your pockets & looking away
as if there are diamonds in your eyes




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

morning commute


three a.m. suddenly awake
I dreamed I was unable to breathe
a self-induced choking
my hands slightly trembling
I press my palms against my cheeks
perhaps flush or white as a ghost
I could not tell
I could not tell

after walking two super-sized blocks
I dreamed I fell back asleep
encountering further interruptions
windshield wipers wiping away
intermittent freezing rain
exposing yellow school buses
fluorescent citizens walking their dogs

by the time I reach the city center
the ingenuous homeless keep me on my feet
flashing by on motorized conveyances
powered by recycled municipal waste
or donated cans of boston baked beans




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

now that you’re gone that’s where I want to be


everything’s black and white
at least that’s what we thought
cut and dried with no ifs ands or buts
spring summer winter or fall
continually finding ourselves starting over
two plus two times two divided by two
always gets you back to the beginning

nobody remembers the very beginning
so many firsts certain to follow
a good cry and laughter and kiss goodnight
from swimming in amniotic waters
to crawling on all fours to walking upright
progressing from nipple to spoon to fork
turning mere pumpkins into jack o’lanterns

familiar voices keep whispering in my ear
asking where I’ll be without you
though I’ve no answer I imagine
you must be in the same boat
time and distance and outside forces
continually making higher waves
only temporarily keeping us separated




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

help is on the way


we’ve been trying to make sense of it all
since nineteen sixty something
give or take a few millennia

on the five o’clock news a man calling himself jesus
exercises his 5th amendment rights in real time
most talking heads agreeing he never did anything
wrong other than being born out of wedlock

meanwhile jet airliners fly practically
all by themselves some 38,000 feet above sea level
transporting paper clips and paper dolls and pandas
future puppet presidents securely strapped in
sitting backwards in first class

on the ground firefighters stand at the ready
as well as crows and sparrows and army ants
dandelions growing undetected between the crevices




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

just treats


strawberry sunrise
on a banana split sunday
titanium knives and red plastic spoons
furiously flashing atop cutting board counter
magically dishing out culinary happiness
one cool concoction at a time




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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

one percenter for a day


flipping castles in the clouds
cruising the skies in private jet airliners
destination calmer waters

diving off sixty-foot yacht
deep below mysterious ocean bay
kicking and breathing effortlessly
all the way back to the top

back home money tree orchard
blossoms all year round
the little ones learning at an early age
free lunches are made for the poor




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

gas powered chainsaw


it takes some doing getting the motor going
pulling the cord countless times
fits and starts and sputtering dead
once and for all humming along
the little devil screaming and screeching
its angry teeth having its way with the
trunk of the fifteen foot crabapple
efficiently felling it straight to the earth




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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