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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “poem”

reflections and back


from the potters ground angels surface
stretching their newfound wings
and joining the early morning choir

fear not the voices inside your head
they’ve been put there for a reason

moon and stars will eventually fall
from an endless watercolor sky
once filling your expanding mind




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

reworking old equations


we got a little cash
three-fifths of jack daniels
and a six pack of warm fat tire

we talk about the easy days
at the kitchen counter
dissing the left & right & mainstream
disclosing our opinions
aren’t necessarily our own

on the counter sit two boxes
one made of cardboard
the other one real pine
first one containing
a handful of colombians
the other filled with irregularly-
shaped caramel squares
wrapped inside wax paper

it was easier back in the day
discussing ‘girls in their summer
dresses’ and critiquing ‘hills like
white elephants’ in a nearby tavern
admitting how grand it would be
to one day write something original

ice cubes and rock glasses aplenty
[figuratively within arms reach]
we redirect our thoughts
figuring out how to divvy up the entire lot
before hailing an uber
back to campus town




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the dawn chorus


first there was the final dream
approaching morning light
bedroom curtains breathing in and out
mimicking my own circadian rhythm
and welcoming the dawn chorus

birds beginning to think it’s spring
how they invade my subconscious
pretending to be children
reincarnated from fallen leaves
singing from the tallest trees

one morning that will be me
having not awakened from the dream
free falling like a leaf among many
reaching out and believing
finally participating in the dawn chorus




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a plethora of time


she hadn’t died rather simply overslept
but for a moment we had held our breath

it stormed from dusk and well past dawn
young and old alike dreaming undisturbed

daylight delayed and electricity off grid
challenging life and impersonating pause

she hadn’t died rather simply overslept
at least for the moment or so we were told




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

millions of dollars at stake


rehearsing and rewording
keeping eyes and ears open
millions of dollars at stake
electric cars racing faster
than any combustible engine
ever placed on this earth
all buckled in and good to go
demigod voices streaming
through AM radio
promising surprises in the end
eyes no longer focused on the road
rather on waxing gibbous
slowly appearing above
the imaginary shoreline




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

what have I become


how am I to follow suit
on such a sorrowful day
sun beating down so hard
keeping even ants
from working on the hill

he had died in my dream
countless times
but now that I’m older
than the dream itself
others may visualize
my youthful presence
as a mere memory

I never should have followed
irrational commands
disturbing the soil
where the earth god
works her timeless magic

what have I become
if not a shadow
of my former self
having shed thoughts
of those who made me
instead focused
on rebuilding hills I once
foolishly destroyed




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on the streets of san francisco


I’ve been listening to the revolution
evolving on the radio
emergency broadcast system
reporting prisoners on the loose
and exotic birds taking flight

meanwhile tiny soldiers steal
from local food banks
exchanging day-old bread
for water and ammunition
on the corner of oak and divisadero




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

whiskey in the jar


monday in july
midday sun weighs on my
mundane thoughts
oscillating fan stuck on low
collar unbuttoned and stained
wandering thoughts leading me
to wonder what the night will bring

there’s whiskey in the jar
within arm’s reach
reminds me of old irish songs
and heavy metal music
taking me back to the summer
of nineteen seventy-eight
when days were so much simpler




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

just in case


I’ve not been taking calls
but somehow this one came through

I’d been smoking and coughing
complaining about not getting
enough to eat or drink
beginning to wonder
if anyone would be visiting
again anytime soon

when the phone rang
I pressed ‘answer’ out of curiosity

nobody was on the other end
but at least I had another button
to push if need be

I looked over at the end table
and there I saw
an unopened pack of camels
and my anxiety
suddenly lessened




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

national anthem


baseball game streaming
live on a.m. radio
I’m in my bedroom
in full uniform
practicing my grip
on brand new ash bat

not too tight but not too light
coach would tell me
you should see how robinson
and aaron and banks get it done

this is all before cable television
and all I got to go by
is how the announcer on the
radio calls it
unwittingly explaining to boys
how men of color
are quietly changing society
one integrated game at a time




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

making preparations


hard to imagine what will be
once accumulating everything
outside an efficiency shell
baby cries and heartfelt tears
twelve packs and doctor visits
stocks and bonds and mutual funds
fruits and vegetables and perennials
a bouquet of annuals behind your back

you learn to feed and water yourself
shaping and reshaping with razor sharp tools
growing and trimming and growing again
redefining yourself year after year
nobody noticing subtle changes

but you notice nearly everything
newly awakened apparitions
playfully passing through pyramid walls
entering your subconscious night and day
filling prescriptions and making preparations
much like the ancient egyptians used to do




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

self-identifying object


at a loss for words
I take my mind far away
listening to ocean waves I once visited
when I was a child

as a child I often told myself
I’d been here before
but the people surrounding me
seemed so strange
as if they somehow didn’t fit

I never did quite fit
into this world I was born
like a castaway or black sheep
I often found myself drifting
into no man’s land
telepathically following
the third brightest object in the sky
only I could see




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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