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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

on the shortest day of the year


I fell in the dark
awakened by a dream
& I crawled on my knees
coming up empty
in search of a safe haven

I’d been here before
helpless & nearly breathless
the watch on my wrist
completely useless

this time will be different
isn’t that what they
always say
free falling deeper into the pit
arms swinging
upwards & wildly





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it was supposed to be a romantic comedy


on the spaghetti western set
the director directed
the fill in cowboys
to keep their smartphones
in their holsters

handguns were banned
but all the hotshots were adept
at concealment
though lacked commitment
in relation to their lines

the critics complained
about too many fist fights
and not enough
shoot yourself in the foot
kind of scenes

to me the whole thing
was nothing but a parody
on the american condition
old school shootouts
redefined by a new reality





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

you’re my favorite song


I’ve been told it’s okay
to talk to yourself
as long as you’re not replying
reminding me of Springsteen
singing about
not looking into
the eyes of the sun
because oh Mamacita
that’s where the fun is





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

doodling onto blank sheets of paper


I’ve little control over poetry
which may or may not
be a good thing
the source of which
can be unreliably magical
or dreadfully out of mind

I cannot call upon poetry
nor summon it to appear
I can only hope
to lessen my heart rate
and wait for its presence
to overtake my soul

often when I go to the well
poetry is not present
leaving me wondering
how long must I wait
doodling [with ballpoint pen]
onto blank sheets of paper





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

her dark secret


stay away from him
is all they said
as if to say he is
not well

a vague warning
from a small town
without a purpose
other than to cast
shadows
where there are none

she came from the city
and found him
awkward & intriguing
though at times behind
the boathouse
never felt more alive

there are no
chronological orders
to follow in this
sordid affair
her presence somehow
disturbing time
their disappearance
to this day
unexplained





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

mining for peace


afraid of silence
we anticipate the next explosion

while some mine for any kind
of real or virtual metal
we are mining for peace
located one & two stories
beneath the streets

in such places one learns
to strategize carefully
and breathe shallowly

every sleepless night
but a simple reminder
never to forget
the art of reciprocation





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

missing the ocean & the moon


out of nowhere a cat cries
and a squall comes to light
sudden hail & rainfall
winds sweeping away
the sweet sunshine

the whole town
drowned in alcohol
the news reporters unable
to get the story right
misunderstanding
the underlying premise
how the good graces would
have them flower again





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a delicate genius


I’m not interested
in long goodbyes
they’re much too messy
if you know what I mean

a quick break
isn’t that the ticket
see you later alligator
sayonara sucker
adios amiga
you get the gist of it

one minute you’re the life
of the party
the next shuffle-boarding
at the assisted living addition
adjacent to the castle
the queen herself coming
to visit every third tuesday

but you yes you
you’re too busy or maybe
dealing with you own
misremembering
leaving me in the conservatory
light on my feet
perhaps levitating
tugging but not plucking
the delicate petals





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sorrowful pilgrimage


it was the day after
our bones tattered & torn
knowing not if we were
dead of alive

overnight the crows
became nocturnal
as if the poles had reversed
after a century
of fluctuating

they had become
our field guide
and though we asked
they wouldn’t say if we were
dead or alive

time passed as if
in reverse
each lifeless town we reached
showed no sign of
blood or skin or bone

wildflowers grew by the roadside
we picked them
we put them to our noses
but to no avail

the crows said it was okay to eat them

and so we did

as we traveled further
back in time
the crows became
eerily quiet
in the dead of night

and we knew not if we were
dead or alive





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

post winter volunteer


an uninvited guest
how can there be such a thing
a girl of color no less
her face velvety & somewhere
between blue & violet
the color of radiance trapped
inside her eyes
as if she was born yesterday





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

trapdoor


listen up there’s
a new world order
brewing

in the kitchen
fm radio blaring
emergency
broadcast signal

everywhere you go
something’s
missing
a sock
a mitten
a cherished memory
taken away
by dream thieves

listen up
hut two three four
we’ve made it official
& we’re doing it in style
stumbling headlong
through the newly
constructed
trapdoor





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

inside Putin’s pockets


they arrived by boat
and once docked
the boat imploded

was it a staged event
or a sad accident
rumors circulating

the number of deaths
underreported due to
understaffing
the pandemic
the supply chain
you name it

those who made it
were no longer
themselves
(no longer boat people)
merely survivors
relearning how to live
(and let live)
on foreign soil





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

loved to death


isn’t it always a matter of time
before the next big thing
whether cutting edge or horrific
the wait is far from long

isn’t it wild how a glorious idea
can be conjured in solitude
and distributed worldwide
by way of an invisible wire

isn’t it a crazy kind of love
that hits you smack in the face
when looking the other way
leaving you breathless





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

going in for the kill


there were only three of us
but we managed to make a sound
unlike any other birdsong

we hung out in alder trees
creek & trail fifty feet below
passing along the binoculars
spying on pretend prey

diving headlong & swooping
living & dying in a precise moment
as if in an endless dream





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

disturbing the peace after midnight


listening to rock on the internet
a continuous stream
of nostalgia mixed in between
modern marketing
the riffs & the screaming
chimpanzees banging on their bangos
dirty laundry coming out clean
by way of tide
the whole house shaking
when the decibels are cranked
as high as they can possibly go





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

all my friends


I see them all the time
flashbacks like flipbooks
some of them
are stick people
many of them dead

a name will appear out of
nowhere (or thin air)
like a rabbit out of a hat
I’m like a mad scientist
screaming Eureka
in this makeshift laboratory

what’s left loves to hold
a grudge against me
for things said or done
but especially for reasons
incomprehensible





april two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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