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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

leave of absence


I started a poem last night
but I abandoned it
having not slept for days

afterwards I recalled
how I had died
—in the afterlife it was as if
nothing had changed

today nobody seems to know
why I’m still here
I tell them
this is where I work
& they quietly resume
their own activities





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

moving target


coming to terms with oneself
now that’s a good one
a joke perhaps
the very concept flawed
to the nines
—shouting out loud
there’s everything to see here

in retrospection
the self is more than many
like an array of mirrors
[an indefinable number of them]
variations of yourself
in every single one

once you get to know them
now that’s another doozy
can you imagine
even knowing yourself
the latest in search of
a pacific island
that may or may not exist





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

like wild horses


empty pistachio shell
I collect them inside
a glass bowl
its uniqueness
commingling with all the others
like a beautiful horse
inside a stampede

ocean waves inside a shell
how easier could it possibly be
taking in an out-of-body
experience
—come
take a listen
we can drown together

with a little imagination
the shell is but a ship
powered by wayward souls
once racing frightfully
now advancing with purpose
& direction
in perpetuity





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the subordinates


tonight we pause & give thought
to the morning light
having just traversed various points
of the universe
in a matter of mere minutes

at times there is strangeness
in ubiquity
skipping from one reality
to the next
only to find ourselves questioning
familiarity

there is a door in our peripheral
wooden or metal or glass
it matters not
and for the time being
we sit in silence
waiting for our marching orders





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the apartment building


inside my mind a tiny mouse
has found some cheese
nibbling but not offering
—he’ll be quiet for a while
perhaps falling into a stupor

and I will sit in silence
imagining what his eventual
next move will be
or if he’ll simply no longer exist
for obvious reasons
such as foxes or traps
or surgical strikes
—cast from the skies





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

convergence at the river


did you see that spark
in the sky
spooking thousands of blackbirds
and sending them
to the stars

the earth shook
from the footfalls of five hundred
elephants
rushing away from the scene
of the crime
in absolute terror

the nuclear winter
was unmistakably inevitable
all the armies of the world
laying down their arms
praying the world
as we know it
will recover from its losses





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

missing her


there was something I was going to say
over and over and over again
but whatever it was it just went away
and I was left wishing my heart was cold

I was lost inside my bewildered mind
going over and over and over again
where it was I wanted to be
but I was frozen in my own tracks
believing I would likely die from the cold





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Fortunate Son


Let’s see
how shall we begin
to describe the fortunate son

It’s impossible they say
a trick question
the description itself but a
mystery
like who killed Marie Rogêt

In the end
there is no such thing
except for a brief moment in human
history
that maybe just maybe
he was the boy next door
voted mostly like to become
an unsolved serial killer





januarytwo thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

czech village shuffle


it was cool at the microbrew
vinyls playing on turntable
jazz & blues & some rock & roll
streaming from the speakers
hanging from the ceiling

they take requests
or you can bring your own
tracks piped into the adjacent room
imbibers waltzing & grooving
to the likes of anyone’s guess

they say it’s the place to be
as long as the lights are low
—the barrels all aflow
hands & feet shuffling in & out
of the [corner] revolving door





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

flowers to be


mistakes are made after some sort of action
is performed
—such as a bank teller debiting
your account instead of crediting it

without any action there is no mistake
there is only negligence
a sort of indifference to those who may
be affected

what invariably may take place
after such lack of caring
is of no consequence
it’s like deer at midnight
snatching away your incipient flowers
—there’s nothing you can do about it





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the dejected cowboy


the doc told him he had trigger finger

I’m not surprised the cowboy replied
I’ve never been much of a patient fellow

yes of course that is quite evident
the doc responded
you were more than likely born
with this debilitating condition

having been given limited options
the dejected cowboy
collected his things
his pearl-handled pistols
safe inside their holsters
a single silver bullet
buttoned inside his shirt pocket





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

new moon


if we’re lucky
we’ll see the moon
rise along with the sun
any day now
dismissing any worries
it was blown
to pieces
by a barrage
of nuclear warheads





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

coming into focus


there is some life left
in the frozen woods
I found it by accident
no doubt beneath
where owls once ruled
in their wise-old ways

along the way I spotted
the dying & the dead
collected them in my
photographic memory
like non-fungible tokens
one click at a time

I was told I don’t
belong here anymore
that it wasn’t my time
the wind & ice crystals
encouraging me to go back
before it was too late





coming into focus


january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

starting from scratch


if I were to start from scratch
I wouldn’t even know my mother

I would be a microbe
either in someone’s gut
or on the ocean floor
a mere figment
of an imagination
I can’t begin to comprehend

if I were to be reborn
what are the chances
I’d be back in the same womb
the one that nourished me
the first & last time
before exploding into this world





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

american [teenage] idol

I never thought a career as a musician was possible
— Billie Eilish

she’s just a person born of this century
unable to describe herself with words

the songs come from out of nowhere
as if channeled by a diva born ages ago

being misunderstood is an understatement
the higher notes no longer intimidating

the synergy of courage & independence
brings forth new life and countless encores

once the lights fade & the curtain is drawn
she retreats to a world she barely knows





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Getting out of Dodge


I’ve heard he’s enjoying the zen now
relaxing & a regular on youtube tv
working on a list
—can you even begin to guess
vintage this & brand new that
something in store another delivered
anything worthy as a distraction
misdirecting or misleading
sorting out fact from fiction
—inevitably
coming to terms with the reality
of the great escape





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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