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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

scene one act one take one hundred


it’s neither better nor worse
it simply evolves from one
moment to the next
how it fits inside your head
isn’t anyone’s guess but yours

you can turn down the sound
or blast it past the limit
either way it’s not going anywhere
whether tugging at your sanity
or playing hide-n-go-seek

armies amass on the stage
in full gear & practicing lines
their audience obsolete
the outside world looking in
reworking the script on the run




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on becoming the bullgod


in the ninth count of every seven years
you’re reaching out to the bullgod for some reason

there’s no answer but you keep hitting redial
intent on making a connection for some reason

back in the first cycle you were a one-boy army
protecting your turf & sanity for some reason

it doesn’t matter if anybody understands the lyrics
you always saddle back up for some reason

from fourteen to twenty-one to twenty-eight (etc etc)
you subconsciously regress for some reason

adding & subtracting and multiplying & dividing
thoughts & prayers aren’t enough for some reason

violent explosions shoot molecular pieces into the air
falling down like nuclear snow for some reason

lately you fiddle with tubed televisions & amplifiers
thinking the bullgod is your ticket out for some reason




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

nyctinasty [or where the poppy fields burn]


we start & we stop & we start again
I mean everyone needs to rest & refuel
before getting back in on the action

it seems like everyone’s wearing masks
either protecting themselves or others
but perhaps for other reasons entirely
big brother capturing the action on video
sometimes from as far away as 5oo miles

meanwhile beyond the cities poppy fields
live & die year after year after year
folding themselves in on cool summer nights
only to reopen come the morning light




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hesitation & pause


plucking one petal at a time
whispering she loves me
she loves me not

some are red and some are yellow
but none are black & white

outside I hear hesitation & pause
as if the birds are aware of every
single misstep man has ever taken

on the television screen
five o’clock images
are more disturbing than usual
the sound muted
love songs playing inside my head




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where’ve you been


so I started to say something
but then I stopped

no what
really what were you going to say

I don’t remember
I swear the other day there was something
I needed to tell you
but by the time I saw you I forgot it all
that is until another 12 hours passed by

what
what is it
tell me tell me tell me

I told you I don’t remember

but you just said you remembered 12 hours later

haven’t you been listening
that was forever ago




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one town at a time


the downtown pigeons are becoming
more & more comfortable in their own skin
loitering wherever they please
empowered as fewer & fewer humans
make their way up & down the streets

I can’t imagine what happens next
what sort of confrontations may transpire
once all the lights turn green
madmen rushing to reestablish their turf
disregarding the whites of anyone’s eyes




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

caught inside the crossfire


stars rise and airplanes crash
it’s simply a matter of fact

some are easily seen
while others fly under the radar
undetectable by programmable spotlights
trained to find the impossible

from way up high everything looks fine
like peaches & cream accentuated
with dark chocolate
& sweet kisses

it’s hard to spot blemishes & skirmishes
from a million miles away
fires burning down cities
look like street lamps lighting up rain-soaked streets

alleys & avenues are drenched with fire
local aircraft either hovering or grounded
the stars of the sky eerily absent
unable to be wished upon




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

harnessing the wind


rent is three weeks overdue but that’s cool
according to the new rules

then there’s three of us or perhaps four
hanging out in the third floor dormer
glass writing desk facing the octagonal sky

time travel seems easy of late
caught between reality & endless grace days
transgressing past the same old lines

here we go again overlooking the mississippi
up a little higher than prospect park
smoking salems and reloading the toker ii

we take turns passing the binoculars
bringing into focus various white triangles
racing faster than the wind




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where the women sing


I was asked to step down & so I did
thirty-some steps & right-handed steel railing
assisting me to the banks of the river

it’s not like I’ve not done this before
time & time again so long ago
cracks in the concrete like an old story
artistically enhanced & completely believable

who’s calling me is subject to interpretation
I suggest you theorize for yourself
since all you have to work with are a few
printed words & more circulating in the air

there’s a boat anchored past the rocks
sails down & seemingly deserted
imaginary lifeline meeting me halfway




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

low hanging fruit


how does a fly get so fat before the solstice
what could he be feasting on
and how in the world
did he make his way inside the house

I had my chance a couple of times
to either stun him or catch him outright
casting him back out to the great wide open
but I decided the better of it
and went about my own business

now that I think about it
I wonder how many spiders are living
comfortably within my abode
knowing full well the dullest of houseflies
are the lowest hanging fruit there is




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

runner in scoring position


it’s midsummer on a saturday night
the stadium lights attracting every flying
insect within 500 nanometers
first batter already on first base
thanks to beckert’s fielding error

brock’s not getting much of a lead
but everyone’s expecting him to take off
on the first or second or third pitch

the night’s young & the city’s abuzz
the runner back in motion
light years ahead of jenkin’s delivery
taking with him every intention
of never stepping down from the game




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

open house 2 to 4


it was raining like hell but we took off anyway
kept the convertible in the garage where she belongs

we nearly hydroplaned off the face of the earth
but like a cat landed on our feet each & every time

you go as fast as you like on dry pavement
as long as you don’t get caught
never stuck behind a farmer or an asshole

by the time we get there everything’s the same
I swear it’s like going to mass
[or taking your own medicine]
sticking with the same routine
asking irrelevant rhetorical questions
or reciting ancient history

with or without a written excuse
they don’t blame us for leaving so soon
though I often wonder if they blame themselves
stuck inside & contending with hundreds of risers
especially when they should be out & about
painting the town grey




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

an echo in my ear


hey do you remember
do you remember

yes I remember of course I do

but have you forgotten
forgotten those beautiful days

no I’ve not forgotten those days
I’ll never forgot them

but what do you miss the most
what do you miss the most

oh please it’s you I miss the most

but I’m still here [I’m still here]

yes I know
you remind me everyday
and for that I am grateful

then why so sad
why the invisible tears

because as you’re fully aware
when I lost my love
I lost my independence




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

cursive circumstances


one story bleeds into the next
repeating familiar themes
beating them into the ground

you order another beer
and put your head back inside college ruled paper
ink flowing decades before becoming
prevalent on body & soul
old words bleeding into new

on occasion you come up for air
breaking by bringing smoke to your lungs
carelessly observing patrons scattered about
set in place by an outside hand

you’ve seen this one before
been here a hundred times you tell yourself
each shot a variation of the same scene
one time storming out irrationally
the next bleeding the jukebox dry




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

posings & misdemeanors


you are here
sitting on a park bench
& looking past the river
a huge picture frame
[having grown out of the earth]
just a few short feet away

you are here
without a camera
or pencil & paper
sitting on a park bench
[watching the river slowly rise]
a family of four & a bichon
spontaneously fitting themselves
into the picture frame

you are here
a star witness to the crime
called on to testify
about the not too distant past
[occurring on your watch]
sitting on a park bench
the river nearly at your feet
a family of four & their bichon
mysteriously erased
from the refurbished picture frame




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

No sleep till Brooklyn


Greyhound bus stopping
every chance she gets
seems like it took forever
to get the fuck out of Iowa

Left my lucky hat
in the booth at Denny’s
kicking myself in the ass
ever since

By the time we made it
to South Bend
a circle of us stretched our legs
outside the depot
passing around a couple blunts
pointing & laughing at the cop shop
right across the street

Later I came to find out
bounty hunters were onto me
but by that time
I had already confessed my sins
making further route changes

There were some problems
between Sandusky & Cleveland
thank god the driver was fully armed
having had to kick out this ne’er-do-well
for practicing taekwondo
and other obscenities
up and down the stained-glass aisle

Closing in on the Pennsylvania border
my head was spinning from
caffeine & nicotine & anything else imaginable
head propped up by unnatural means
nearly everyone on the bus chanting
“New York New York here we come”




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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