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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

paper cut


shredded paper on the countertop
serrated knife inside the kitchen sink

whose blood is that she asks
pointing to the countertop
and I respond innocently saying what blood

those droplets of blood making a trail
from this shredded paper on the counter
all the way to the kitchen sink

oh that blood I say
and she reiterates yes that blood

I wouldn’t know I say
I just got here
my eyes looking away as my feet
rock from heel to toe
sleeveless arms wrapped behind my back




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

passing through seven point five billion lights


I’m having a hard time putting into words
what I’m trying to say

we are all creatures of habit and suddenly
we are not

listening to all the lonely people
on radio america
I hear how their lives have passed them by
and suddenly I’m questioning
why or how on earth
they could be so lonely in the first place

I swear
there will come a day
when the people on this planet
will not be as lonely as they are today
and suddenly they will be able to see
far beyond the sun




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

year of the flood


it’s been nine days now
and I still remember your scent
or perhaps it will remain a vivid memory
trapped inside a mysterious time warp

one recollection leads to the next
and before I know it I find myself
further back than I can possibly go
back where the smell of burnt embers
magically turn into morning rain

how many lives can I possibly endure
with such infinite detail
from birth to death to resurrection
[and death again]
each one purged and reclassified
after forty days and forty nights
of shear madness




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sometime after palm sunday


it’s palm sunday and almost anyone
who gives a rip is doing high-fives
in web browsers and church parking lots

there’s a long line of cars stretched
for blocks near the epicenter of history
as if the life of the most famous person
in the city is hanging in the balance

in the old days there were no combustible
engines making the skies sadder
than they already are
mourners journeying to burial grounds
for what seemed to take a day or two or three




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

working on an ending


it seems not like a good idea
to always start from the beginning
[just go and ask the gods]
seemingly the majority of cases
should be fine glossing over
their pre formative years

it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves
are you sure there’s nothing
else worth gleaning over
[not everything is sacred]
rewind & copy & fast forward & paste
static or dead air it matters not

here we are punching holes
pretending being someone else
[or somewhere else]
makes all the difference in the world
if not in the short term
than most definitely for a lifetime




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

coins to spare


he’s taller than the smallest man
has been walking on water for days on end
not as mechanical as before
yet not as fluid as calligraphy

the sun’s been baking the ground
for twenty straight days
it’s near impossible to go barefoot on concrete
unless of course it lines a swimming pool

at the city park there’s a wishing well
as big as the summer sun
water pulsating twenty feet above
showering toddlers sporting pieces of cloth




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

home deliveries


this isn’t the moment though at times
it sure feels like it
the way the vibes are bouncing
off the walls
as if they’re the most random
of all happenstances
like an unrehearsed drum solo

I’m roaming the house with a couple
of sticks and music blaring
throughout the intercom system
planting make-believe
booby traps
for all the crazies who keep
ringing the front doorbell




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

handful of wishes


shadows like birds or
birds like shadows
flying behind white linen curtain
coming and going
back & forth and over & under
undoubtedly feeding their young
or chasing their very own
displaced souls

since I couldn’t see
what I couldn’t see
I changed my train of thought
pretending they were giant moths
turned into beautiful butterflies
made possible by a warrior princess
carrying a magic sword
and a handful of wishes




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

after a fortnight in isolation


pooh bear and roo sit on the front porch
rocking in their chairs six feet apart
a wicker table between them
enjoying iced tea & honey & small talk

people passing by gawk & smile & point
delighted to see they’re back in business




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

three more days


it’s friday
and the sun is in hiding
a fugitive
an accessory to the crime
once the great life source
now on the run

it’s anybody’s guess
how long
the rains will last
it’s been three days
since the cleansing began
hope begins to rise




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I thought you were an angel


there is madness in the silence
or so they say
left to your own devices
it’s impossible to imagine
what may have transpired

the sign on the door reads
no vacancy
but inside the house sits empty
and stocked with supplies

and so you will never know
just how many you could have saved

without any media it’s hard to say
how many survivors
might be out there
maybe in groups of two or three
going door to door




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Living the Life


Maria my sweet Maria
How I wish you would
Find your way back
Back to where you belong

I fell back to earth long ago
Only to be with her
But now she’s gone
Oh yes she is gone
And my translucent blue wings
Are nowhere to be found

Maria my sweet Maria
Tell me which is real
Flying high above the clouds
Or forever in my dreams




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

never greener


we’re planning on breaking camp
and find a less crowded hill
stop somewhere along the way
and reload our dwindling supplies
adding a twelve pack or three
and batteries for the weather radio

I say we’ve been down this road before
and you tell me you don’t wanna die

we make better time at night
rarely speaking and changing channels
the other you falling in & out of sleep
waxing gibbous straight ahead
acting as a third headlight

the grass is never greener anywhere
but we seem to like it that way
rising sun playing hide & seek
with disappearing moon
speeding toward the next county line
half your head outside the window




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

diary of a woman with wings


child of the southern sun
desires stir within
centuries pass
outer appearance changing
minute by minute
egg to feather to sparrow
sparrow to crow to raptor
circling and circling
even higher like an angel
ushering in the darkness
stars falling one after another
trillions of fireflies turn into lightning
piercing hidden clouds
and striking naked trees
rapturing the soil
fertilizing sterile seeds




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

essential workers wearing knockoff sunglasses


I seem to have lost my place in line
maybe that’s not a bad thing
could be better than losing your mind

I used to walk tall among the masses
but now I’m mostly an island
deep inside these inner city streets

whenever I happen upon another
strange & solitary wanderer
my eyes tend to focus on the concrete
for fear any visual contact may spark
unwarranted reactions

I hide all needless valuables
somewhere inside my workstation
where I fill half my day with imagination

the river is only a few blocks away
I close my eyes and venture outside
believing this time I can make it




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

river crossing


lawlessness in all its mad glory
is bound to resurface
as it has repeatedly done
since the beginning of creation

here take my hand
and follow me across the river
to where there is a sense of security
despite the lack of governance

it’s easy to see what they’ve done
once you reach the other side
a collection of ordinary citizens
freely going about their business

you ask how it’s possible this place
lacks crime and pollution
especially with unrestricted borders
and skies that never cry

of course there’s no one answer
and once we arrive and look back
at what we’ve fled
there’s nothing left to recognize




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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