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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

doctor strangelove


there is a strange frequency in the air
and the traffic is lighter than usual
[nearly nonexistent actually]
it’s as though the small & bright city
has become a ghost town


pick a year any year and you will
find how nothing has changed
how ghost towns have become
overtaken by nature in seventy-five
or one hundred years’ time

of all the cold wars taken place
this one is the most chilling
women & children sacrificed
by the hundreds of thousands
the men mysteriously evaporated





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

they sent her son to mars


it’s a self fulfilling story
or so the prophets say
the prince’s son
sent to the planet mars
to settle a dispute

a mission doomed
from the very start
the prince’s son
murdered en route
via his majesty’s consort

empires come & go
but this breakaway ploy
by the prince’s son
likely opens the door
to the next millennium





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

A Peanut Farmer in Iowa City


I’m going by memory
so my facts may be a little fuzzy
but it was the early eighties
and I was in line
at Hamburg Inn No. 2

Supposedly Jimmy Carter
was a few spots ahead of me
or so the young lady I was with pointed out
me promptly responding
with something like shut the fuck up

Like I say I’m going by memory here
but I’m pretty sure both Jimmy
and I ordered a double swiss &
a small fry

(I don’t remember what drinks
they offered
but if they had beer on tap
that was probably it)

There’s no way you could eat
inside the smallish & popular place
most of the booths & seats & stools
nearly always taken
a minority of which
by ghosts of politicians past

As we headed back downtown
—lunching while we walked—
I kept asking what’s her name
if she was absolutely sure





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

the spirit guide


you’ve lost yourself again
in the deepness of the woods
where the mind is incapable
of producing concrete thoughts
or having any kind of convictions
overtaken by an energy unseen
and guided by a spirit
that had anticipated your arrival





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

The Absence


There is an absence that is indefinable
as if the ghost dog who once roamed freely
throughout the house had suddenly departed

It was the cat who first noticed the absence
bringing it to my attention by way of behaviors
that were secondary to her nature
entering my dreams unconventionally
revealing other lives I once lived

In the morning I stand in the shower
warm water washing away dirt & blood &
anything strangely unsettled or emotionless

Going through the motions is an expression
best left for those who have given up
no longer searching & thereby incapable of
finding the smallest of things that had been lost





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

the body snatchers


the neighborhood
was littered with feral cats
black & white
blue & yellow & green
and every other shade
in between
the majority of them
food stamp carriers
all the others hiding
in the shadows
keeping the rodent population
under control
all the while steering clear
of the recently formed
fleet of drones
locally & affectionately known
as the catnappers





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

we are exiles


how proud the sun must be
giving life incredulity
inside her own little galaxy

as a member of her third family
she gave me life & took it away
repetitiously

to the point where I was
unmistakably incapable of
learning from past transgressions

and so without fanfare
she banished me from her realm
sent me sailing into interstellar space
hopeful one day another star
would pull me in





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

on the spirit level


they say it’s not fair
and they’re not wrong
having been in & out
of positions of interest
such as exaltation
neutrality &
documented misery


it has nothing to do
with the failure of democracy
but rather the ignorance
of the many
and the stupidity of the few
—handed down to the latter
by way of failed ideals

never mind that the gaiety
of the past pertained
to a privileged few
who somehow managed
to make-believe
it belonged to the masses
—only to be crushed by them
on the spirit level





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

in this post-apocalyptic world


I thought it was monday
but it was sunday again
as if six days went missing
blown away by nuclear winds

the world news at nine
didn’t tell me anything
I didn’t already know
living on a wing & a prayer
in this post-apocalyptic world

the great migration
has only just begun
how many sundays may pass
before I must move on





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

hitchhiking across the galaxy


we keep copying ourselves
but to no avail

the destiny of humanity
is written in stone
dug up and buried
time & again

it used to be
whatever died here
stayed here
but now that we’ve learned
to pierce the dome
we may never return again





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

the shadow of the successor


fat chances
& second guesses
I’ll pass on placing any bets
[or judgments for that matter]
with such shitty odds

I’ve got no memory issues
—any regrets that may exist
are simply a thing of the past

as far as reconciling with the world
that was never in my hands

I’ve washed them clean
thanks to the goodness
of the almighty
also known as the heir apparent





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

a shadow of their former selves


he thinks she’s gassed
not drunk
just exhausted to the bone
by way of living
flat-footed & unable to react
like she once used to

he’s not doing much better
pretending to be a bird
surviving
on seeds & roadkill
an occasional
brandy slightly chilled

they sold or gave away
everything
& took their act on the road
convinced there was something
out there
besides consumption





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

flashpoint


it’s complicated
how the days pass by like years
slowly becoming
as old as the moon
dying
at the end
of its final phase


brand new shadows
appear from the faintest of light
light that speeds
past corners
zeroing in on
a present
that recently existed





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

Desperado


—with a nod to Don Henley


You don’t call me anymore
my queen of hearts
always out with your fabulous friends
leaving me to reinforce
my habits & my vices
occasionally tinkering with thoughts
turning some into words
into sounds
into symbols
scratching out some sort of picture
a sort of black & white dystopia
search party fully assembled
and sent from above
desperately chasing my senses





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

exorcising external conflicts by fire


it’s late august & something
is very very wrong

nobody can put their finger on it
but then again
nobody really tries
instead it’s finger pointing
and a bunch of global
[counterproductive] exercises

breakfast is dinner
won’t you come & join me
bacon & tomatoes & farm fresh eggs
yes you heard me right
anyone near or far
I’m out there ringing the bell
the cook’s in the kitchen
bats stirring in the attic

come in come in and take
your feet off at the door
there’s no surveillance here
no propaganda
no weapons
no contraband
only open air & open ideas
inside this roofless abode
where the rains fall & the grass grows
where the truth is acceptance
& lies are burned
down to the ground





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

late august


to you I can tell nothing
and so I sit & listen for the wind
to bring me something new

if the silence were a shadow
and you retreated
for a time
I would then speak whenever
the sun allowed me to

in the late evening
the sounds of the day
reinvent themselves intensely
—a language all their own
you saying nothing as I
listen for clues





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

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