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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

no time for baseball


it’s the bottom of the ninth
and nobody’s keeping score
and though the lights are on
the stadium is nearly empty

in the comfort of my own home
I can’t reach the game on am radio
instead switch to fm and listen to
jimi hendrix covering bob dylan

early morning news feed arrives
bold headlines scream no-hitter
followed by abbreviated stories
regurgitating tales of mass destruction

weatherman breaks in unannounced
low lying fog chemically unbalanced
possibly canceling the school day
if not the entire baseball season




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

little jerusalem


from the outside it was a sleepy little town
located hundred miles from anywhere
quaint and well-kept main street
three churches with spiraling steeples
one bank and one grocery store

on the fringes there lived a commune
ordinary families of starving artists
jesus freaks they called themselves
professing the streets were haunted
by witnesses of christ’s hanging

whenever outsiders arrived in town
they were welcomed by apparitions
ghosts of mob’s past peddling
sterling silver crucifixes and
one-way tickets to paradise




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

missing in action


looking down from the ninth floor
there was nowhere to go but up

michael may have been missing
but I knew he was within earshot

though I was tiring of the routine
I had no intention of checking out
instead reestablished my footing
attempting to regain communication
with anyone who may or
may not have wings




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

beautiful is the grotesque


though I may change
I’m not giving up anything
with absolute certainty
those spots I’ve long been sporting
aren’t about to disappear anytime soon

sylvia wrote about limitations
about her beautiful grotesqueness
and though I stumbled upon her words
by sheer coincidence
I was sure they were my very own
long before I was ever born

all my life I’ve been chasing stars
and trailing the moon
imitating them to a fault
ever changing but always the same




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

One Bourbon

a tribute poem to John Lee Hooker

it was hot
but not too hot
and this here old man
sat back on red and plush parlor chair
right there on the sidewalk
his old gibson and radio style mic
plugged into beat-up fender amp

he started strumming this chorus
picking the verses
explaining how he hadn’t seen his girl
since night before last
strumming and picking
his feet tapping the concrete
tenement windows opening
children eyes blinking
mouths widening and smiling

neighborhood cats and dogs and
even mice are drawn to the curbside
children coming out a’running
a young woman sitting cross-legged
on second story window sill
snapping fingers and tearfully
relating to the old man’s story

they’ve all been down this road before
every single body within earshot
soulful and sad but ever so hopeful
realistically aware how it’s
easier said than done
washing away those same old blues




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

artistic revolutions


time zones and seasonal patterns
have forced my hand to reassess my
opinion of life as we know it

images in my mind continually evolve
from tulip to azalea to lemon tree

those hummingbirds feasting on
oswego tea blossoms were once
damselflies during the dinosaur days

moon chases sun like dog after tail
eventually tiring into submission

clashes in the past reconstruct the future
stirring and remixing and reimagining
painting skies like never before seen




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

reminiscing in the southern hemisphere


I’m lost again
somewhere in the middle of argentina
faraway from the capital
where the air is clean
and the mountains are nearby
where I can practice my spanish
without criticism or second thoughts
trying to put onto paper
how I miss the mystery
of the mediterranean
whether it be in southern europe
or north africa
(and all points in between)
occasionally looking up to the heavens
pen tapping the side of my
near-empty pint glass
my uninterrupted thoughts
invoking the poetry gods
to give me courage to return home
one last time




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

patient like the blackbird


in my isolation blackbird does appear
stammering about calmly impatient
deliberately explaining to me
my imaginary predicament

he says we’ve flown many times
into the unknown
much like a dream that repeats
but only after long intervals
like how distant planet orbits her sun

I’ve rescued you many times
(he goes on to explain)
taking you to the safety of the towers
where you witness firsthand
flocks of blackbirds
feasting into the night




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

search party


mad scientists experiment with crash test beauties
self-driving cars fueled by all-powerful sunshine
speeding down mojave superhighway

once promising starlets now victims of trial and error
first degree texts erased by corrosive sand
blown away by bulging moon and desert winds

friends and relatives and drones search earth and sky
all signs of life and death seemingly nonexistent
as if nothing ever really happens here




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the spirit winter


waning crescent moves ever closer
to the morning light
unnoticed by most and understood by few
much like how autumn closes in
chasing away lovely Indian summer days
leaving you questioning how on earth
to survive the inevitable

pine trees shake and sway
sometimes forgotten like afterthoughts
standing tall and welcoming many
taking the brunt of the storm gracefully
buttressing the old farmhouse
natural insulation free for the taking

inside and out fire burns day and night
evident by smokestacks
sending signals to other life forces
both here on earth
and many light years away




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

reflections in black and white


there’s much mystery in the theory
and to prove or disprove
has no bearing on outcomes
outrageous or otherwise

what is that you say
oh it is nothing I reply
it’s just a theory I have about
what it takes to make it out alive

as I return to my research
you regress back in time
discovering the inverse square law
examining how past photographs
infiltrate your pluperfect thoughts




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

tip-toeing


opposition forces positioned themselves
in the most peculiar way
so much so nobody seemed to notice
exactly who they were
or what they were doing

last fall foot soldiers were ordered to plant
thousands of tulip bulbs in the minefields
but not all that went in came back alive
and the ones who did rested uncomfortably
for the rest of their lives

by the time spring solstice arrived
the enemy had mysteriously withdrawn
and all the local children awakened with smiles
welcoming the newly risen sun
proceeding to run cautiously
through her once glorious meadows




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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