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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

buried out back


where do we begin
or shall we say
where do we go from here
now that we’ve uncovered
the strongbox

it blows my mind how deep
it was buried
in the backyard
but metal detectors never lie
and garden spades
last a lifetime

we’ve vowed not opening
the damn thing until everyone
makes it back home
and it matters not
if they arrive dead or alive




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a good night’s sleep


here we go again
plunging into the red
walls caving in and ceiling dropping
I lift my hands above my head
prolonging the inevitable
yelling at everyone to get out
get out

no it’s not a dream
this sickening viral nightmare
evolving like a self fulfilling prophecy
spawned from out of nothing
each passing hour growing darker
eyelids fluttering faster
than is humanly possible

it’s a symmetrical world
we work and play and sleep in
sometimes working in our favor
but mainly indifferent to our
desires and insecurities
a stark reminder how we all need
to get a good night’s sleep




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

reunited


two humans landlocked
on the only continent
left on earth

it is like an island
surrounded by four oceans
but the fact remains

it is a continent
larger than a little planet
as if south america

and africa were conjoined
reunited if you will
adding to the complexity

of a dying planet needing
more trees and moisture
and sunlight

two humans walking
hand in hand
retracing their footsteps

back to the garden
to the one and the only
how can this story ever end




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

WAIT


I’m rediscovering sugars and spices
and some things not so nice
I ask myself how many combinations
can I put on a simple slice of toast
how many times can I count down from ten
before saying WAIT
let’s try starting all over again
and see if we come up with a different answer

for decades we’ve been chasing moons
and wishing upon stars
just look where it’s gotten us
another year older and none too wiser
eventually discounting every fairy tale
we once believed in
until finally we say WAIT
it’s high time we make up our own

doctor says I’ve got to change my ways
I tell her I most certainly will
another lie in the grand scheme of things
I rush home and sit in an empty room
light up the pipe and WAIT
for you to return into my life
curious how actions once considered sinful
have now become legal




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

imaginary borders


I became an outlaw before turning the age of sixteen
kissed my mother goodbye and ran away at speeds
surpassing five hundred miles per hour

I was stopped countless times by people who pretended
they had power over my soul
but each time I had the right answers & was free to go

these new lands mean nothing & everything to me
how simple it became to fact check
each new location in the palm of my hand

I get handouts on a weekly basis
fresh fruit & vegetables & hand me down jeans
bottles of whisky & water & a bright silvery handgun
just to name a few

I’ve learned it’s best not to stay in one place too long
for fear I might become involved with someone
who actually believes they know me




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

breaking away


what goes through the mind
once clipped in and setting sail
propelled by pedals and wheels
and always affected by the wind
even if there is none

conditions change quickly
one day here the next not so much
weaving in and out of reality
one minute counting clicks
the next five updating lists

third eye always in the rearview
all six senses kick into play
on autopilot and multitasking
breaking away past boundaries
one set of hills at a time




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

another saturday night


I don’t know how I feel
having long since come down
from an all-time high
hungry but unable to eat
instead feeding on thoughts
that may or may not be healthy

all that I’ve compiled
these past several years
has been successfully erased
an unceremonious purging of sorts
no fire and no ash and no wind
just a simple kiss goodbye




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the fear of failure


listen to my incredible story
recounting the risk of death
here there is no such thing
as seeing is believing
oh no you must first
close your eyes
and learn to listen
learn to fly like a bat
free falling into the darkness
the fear of failure impossible
the courage of flight
never-ending




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

more mercy please


I dreamed I was a pantomime cat
who refused to show any mercy
spending his days daydreaming
and nights wandering the streets
acting out whatever it was
he daydreamed about

my eyes were emerald green
my coat a steely gray
and whenever the streetlamps
shined their light my way
I changed my stripes and
hightailed it the hell out of there

I tell myself one of these times
I won’t make it back alive
but in the meantime I’ll keep
challenging the status quo
working mathematics by day
and my daydreams by night




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

all while playing the piano


down below there’s a load in the wash
colors mixed in with black and whites
singing & circulating & commingling
absolving past stains en masse

out in the backyard pool
babies swim beneath the surface
as if they were born there
their mothers silently motioning
communicating via hand signals

thousands of feet higher and higher
humans fly like vertical rockets
relearning how to breathe
inevitably breaking the sound barrier




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

breathing in new life


I suppose we won’t know for sure
until we’re walking dead ourselves
and even then we’ll have doubts
until everything comes into focus

there’s a reason for everything
or so they say
but try telling that to a grieving mother
whose teenage son is forever lost
now wandering amongst the dead

it’s unknown how many
continually influence our daily lives
coming and going as they please
strolling sublimely by our side

one fact remains
we don’t know what we don’t know
such as if our effortless breathing
may be more than superficial




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the art of waiting


from wall street to respirator
you are shockingly put out to pasture
sharing grass with retired pacers
and a flock of salt & pepper sheep

the main field is flat and wide open
the southern stretch uneven and rising steep
a rock & dirt trail meandering upward
an occasional bench located along the way

learning to commingle and rehabilitate
you stretch & imagine your ascension
only to pause at the final station
questioning the desire to go any higher




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

premonition


that constant desire to escape
from what or to where like an
indescribable determination
constantly changing
eventually evolving into a viral
dream without end

you see yourself in there
chasing fire and rain
one moment flying like an eagle
the next burrowing beneath
the earth like something
you’ve never seen




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

never imitate (and never die young)


never imitate but be yourself
my mama once told me

but who am I mama but a boy
like all other boys
wondering when I will become a man

never hurry son and never imitate
learn to love yourself first

but who am I mama but a boy
dreaming of going to war
and dying a courageous death

oh no child you will never go to war
take that silly notion out of your head
learn to never imitate and remain yourself
even when you are lost and alone

but mama I don’t want to be
lost and alone
I want to go off to war
and never come back
and make you as proud as you can be




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

business as usual


it doesn’t feel any different this time
but go ahead and try to convince yourself
and everyone around you that it is
and maybe a little panic might set in

this is not the last resort but with a little
improvisational creativity it certainly can be

out of an abundance of caution
we didn’t leave the house for twelve days
and when we finally did set foot outside
the local birds twitched their necks in disbelief

contrary to popular opinion it’s still safe
breathing in and breathing out this earth air

believe it or not things will get much worse
before starting to get better
but until then the wars continue to rage
and the hungry still hunger




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

putting the wheels in motion


it’s past midnight
but the night is still young
well lit by a fattening moon

we meet by chance at the ranch
you arriving unannounced
me home on spring break
a few grain belts and half pack of
winstons all that’s left

we’re not exactly using our inside voices
but whoever happens to be here
is fast asleep on the second floor

it’s so much easier
to keep the lights on than not
easier to fuel up in the kitchen before
hitting the road for the river
a quick stop along the way
a twelve-pack and smokes
and whatever it is the man says
the catfish are striking




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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