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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

two tickets to the matinee


I kept checking the lost & found
every day at twelve forty-five
there was nothing else to do

it took me twenty-two minutes
from my front door to the cinema
and exactly twenty-two steps

from the caged entryway
to the glass lined concession stand
concealing the well-worn box

everyone who worked there
knew I would never recover my treasure
but they humored me nonetheless

often forgetting to charge me
for the medium popcorn & large soda
not a single one wanting to know more




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

improvised explosive device


an abandoned backpack
off the well-worn trail
seemingly in good shape
full & bulging at the seams
like a waxing gibbous

I pedal past at some
twenty miles per hour
hands on the dropdowns
eyes shifting back & forth
from bag to trail to bag

curiosity killed the cat
this much is known
but I could only imagine
what’s inside would
surely be my demise

upon the return trip
flying faster with the wind
I approach same backpack
this time strapped upon
a hiker in full stride
and very much alive




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

under construction


it’s seven o’ seven
and everything’s put away
light casting shadows
variable & scattered
depending upon which way
the mind is traveling

adrift & in solitude
I study the old with the new
open palm my writing pad
scribbling & revising
recording familiar voices
changing the world




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

transcendental burial


they flew him in via Qantas
having settled for a window seat
far removed from decades
of commotion

at O’Hare they whisked him
to an electric golf cart
making a beeline to an Embraer
fueling outside the hangar

once back in the air
he seeks out a familiar sun
rising exponentially
evolving every quarter mile

[few of us are capable
of going from past to present
in a matter of mere minutes
let alone twenty-four hours]

but this one is special
already realigning the landscape
in thought & thought alone
at thirty-five thousand feet




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

theory of the birds


all the birds took a break for a day
boycotting the streams & the baths
downtown sidewalks & window ledges
unmistakably absent from the airwaves
instead quietly tucked away for some
twenty-four hours
collectively testing the theory that these
so-called humans
have ceased paying attention




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

any given sunday


they say it’s in the air
I keep breathing everything in
sometimes to a fault

there’s plenty of space
it’s mostly knowing where to go
on any given sunday

I’ll tell you all my secrets
when the present time stands still
then you can tell me yours




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

electric moon


electric moon follows me
wherever I may go

it matters not the time of day
be it high noon or midnight
tapping me on the shoulder
once i’ve found a way
to fall into a soundless sleep

electric moon promises
to be my friend
pumping life back inside me
whenever contemplating
of letting go




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Steps to the Acropolis


And so I have passed on
without fanfare
and I was thinking to myself
the best days of my life

It was Mother’s Day
when I arrived to Athens
my adopted Motherland
learning the streets
by way of feet for eleven days
convincing myself before I go
this is where I’ll always be




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

returning to the beginning


the garden
the aroma & beauty
opening your arms for me
smiling & inviting
I believe I’ve seen you before
I swear I have

maybe because
I was born
or abandoned here
and you took me in
turning my skin brown
by working the earth
teaching me how to love

it’s been too long
a lifetime maybe
the most powerful winds
bringing me back home
back into your fold
your aroma & beauty
slowing fading
into sweet november




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

traffic jam


I’ve been testing different mattresses
since discovering I’ve got
all this free time

the world barely sees me but I’m around
moving about in conveyances
I once dared dream

in the mid-morning I see pink flamingos
riding their bicycles on first avenue
disturbing all the black & white traffic
crawling from point alpha to omega

it’s all I can do not to show them
how it’s done
but move on I must
there are too many mattresses
I’ve yet to test drive

once the skies have cleared
millions of sparrows move in
altogether halting traffic
singing in unison enough is enough
with all this exhaustion

fast asleep in broad daylight
I dream of crows hiding behind dark clouds




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when straying from the science


when running your hardest to first base
you should not go air-bound on that final step
stretching & suspended will only slow you down

that is the simple science of it
yet so few runners actually put it into practice
turning a possible single into an eyelash out
mainly due to a lack of faith




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the rocker rocking all on its own


I’m tired of guessing or surmising
what is certain to happen next
as far as I’m concerned
the jumbled mess can remain as is
whether scattered on the countertop
or strewn across the bamboo floor

truth be told I’ll never know
who if anyone
ended up gathering all the pieces
my tired eyes shut tight
the rocker rocking all on its own




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

homemade remedy


I’ve been plagiarizing recipes
thinking it’s just what I need
to get things going again

they say the remedy
to any kind of sickness
is within an arm’s reach

all gardens are not the same
so you must pick & choose
as opportunities arise
or pass them by altogether

these concoctions of mine
may not rock like the original
but rest assured
they’re just as good
as any good doctor
could prescribe




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

all along the fringes


nothing haunts me more
than your solitary smile
etched in memory
like a photo under glass

I try to reach out
but there’s nothing to touch
just a lingering aura
baked into my skin

wherever I may go
ambitiously I am watching
hopeful today is the day
you finally find yourself




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

burning down the house


inside that house
how many times must you
recall the images
whether real & precise
or simply metaphysical

sigmund would have been
intrigued to know more
especially how your
palms turn dry & gritty
fingertips like matchsticks

analog alarm clock
wakes you regimentally
every single day since
the sound evolving into
a talking heads classic




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when someone knows you better than you


man in the street approached me
diagonally jaywalking
to meet me at some sort of
geometric vantage point

my eyes pretended not to notice
but his voice grabbed my attention
having me starting to believe
all he wanted was directions

my bad for talking to strangers
for quickly I found myself
in the middle of a well-rehearsed
plea for the dollars in my pocket

seemingly fit & perfectly articulate
I declined to take the test
and abruptly carried on with my day
insults & accusations included




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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