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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “Poetry”

routine housekeeping


I’m not like you
I get my information from the inside
scraps & shavings I’ve collected
off the ground or picked from
virtual fruit trees
rinsed in warm water & blended
into my next blueberry smoothie

I’m not above the law
but I try to break things when I can
champagne glasses
& ceramic pipes
windup toys & ill-written rules

a hand brush & dustpan
well within reach
just in case I want to take another shot
at putting everything
back together





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on highway one hundred


how does a dead hawk
end up on the centerline
unrecognizable except
for the color & pattern
of her feathers

it’s a busy place
especially mid morning
and late afternoon
speeds anywhere from
zero to seventy-five

of course it wasn’t there
come next morning
giving me pause & imagining
what transpired there
in the dead of the night





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Bartering for time


In the photograph nothing changes
it’s what separates images from reality
and laughter from tears

Sometimes it gets ugly inside
‘a winter of discontent’ if you will
but you must face it head on
repeating mantras & bad daydreams
knowing full well the latest malaise
will somehow pass
undetected

Nobody knows you anymore
and you’re perfectly fine with that
working in the underground
chipping away by
rewriting history
courtesy of some distant energy





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

postcards & signposts


I’m thinking the older one gets
the scarier the world becomes
demons and/or the devil himself
milling about the place
when left to my own devices

sending out letters but receiving none
I was beginning to think
the fox is better company than people
that the goldfinch in the bird bath
is a perfect little singer

felines pace along the perimeter
keeping in touch by way of listening
some invisible & others not
nearly all of them transitioning
back from the underworld





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

what was I supposed to do


we said goodbye in so many words
departing in different directions
me weaving through the city streets
you flickering into the night

the walls are rocky & tall
good for climbing but mainly
unpassable
inside I stay & count
the stars at night
expecting one to fall

before you left you said
I was trapped inside
but of course I didn’t believe you
the earth beneath my feet
trampled upon so many times

and you taking to the skies
who will know when you land again





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

lights out in the heartland


the grass was covered in ash
a delicate dirty white
easily blown by the wind
waving through the neighborhood
like a thin blanket slightly floating

dogs without leashes herded
themselves through the narrow street
as if instructed to follow some leader

the sirens never went off
and any kind of free or paid service
simultaneously became inoperable

whatever it was that fell from the sky
shaking the earth for maybe sixty seconds
arrived with an incomparable sound
leaving silence in its wake

or had we all become deaf





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

repairing old circuitry


things easier said than done
drifting sideways like a ghost
pacing a subway platform
once grand ideas drifting
from the left to the right
within reach but untouchable


what I would like to say
stays inside this prison cell
eating away at a past
that was far from perfect
all the while retooling (by)
rewiring the memory board





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

shadows dancing in the darkness


the city is in danger
but the population is not scared


going about their business
before the lights go out

there is a vision shared by
some local mystics

brought to the center of
attention by way of

the prior administration
somehow stuck in the airwaves

the micro & the radio waves
the healing waves of the pacific

aligning mysterious thoughts
with those of the newest moon





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

looking out the third floor window


of course I’ve done this before
adjusting the past like some light
that only wants to flicker

the more you adjust the rearview
the less the picture fails to change
sunsets sounding like analog sirens
serious misdemeanors like grave sins

I’ve been seeing red again
random spots in a field of cotton
perhaps cast by a surveillance drone
sent to uncover the mystery of
crop circles & all things unexplained





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

none of this will ever end


check your resting heart rate
that watch should tell you

nobody knows how accurate it really is
I mean isn’t that true about everything

it takes ten thousand steps
to get from me to you
and I’d do it thousands of times
if I truly had to

how long had we been lost in the woods
and how much longer did it take
before finding our way out

I still remember that time when I said
none of this will ever end





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

hello my name is principal


there are toys spread out
from one room to the next
I’m almost fearful of them
this time around

I’m not used to being this alone
all the while so many eyes
obviously spying on me
as if they’ve nothing else to do

hello my name is principal
and I need more time
deciding who should die
& who should replace me

I’ve been back from war
for what seems like centuries
the world I left & the one
I now live indistinguishable





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

making amends


where I grew up the mississippi
flowed from east to west
and if you were a visitor
you’re bearings would be tested

for some reason i can’t cross the river
my curiosity extinguished
at lock & dam thirteen
where sun dogs gather and lie

you said you’d meet me there
once every other lifetime
as if you understood
dying tonight is impossible





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

while supper slowly cooks in the kitchen


it’s thursday night & the cocktail making
is in full-force in the basement
men & women & children
participating in the assembly line
loosely following handed-down recipes
remarking how they’ve circulated
over the past century from country
to country & continent to continent

local & social media continue to remind
anyone who may be interested
that the charity run starts
eight o’clock sharp on saturday morning

and all those down below
agree they’ll easily be ready by then





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

angels in my peripheral


I kept believing in my peripheral
but there was nothing there
rural mailbox not a hitchhiker
yellow utility pole not a giraffe

three angels work in the east room
validating dice & drawing straws

you said it was a good place
to unlock & unload
& so away I went to converse
with the sounds inside the woods

once inside I doubted my return
two or three angels in my peripheral





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

daily commute


sitting on a ledge with switchblade
in hand
either lost in thought or ultra-focused
asking questions below &
expecting answers from above
this is how life & death decisions
are made

the world is on edge
billions living on the fringe
a number too large to comprehend
especially when sitting on a ledge
with a good book in hand
making life & death decisions
without any outside help

outside looking in
this is how it will be in the end
sitting alone on the edge
waiting for the last train





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

rediscovering launch code road


buried beneath the rubble
a new city was being born
based on a model never before seen

I thought I had jotted down some words
turns out they were mere numbers
buried inside some bureaucratic rathole

I hadn’t realized how far deep I was in
until eventually recalling
what the numbers used to mean





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

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