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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “promises”

promise me one thing


it was saturday morning
and you promised we would
pick flowers unless it rained

the rain never came
and neither did you
and I was left rearranging
my hopes inside a brown paper bag

next day the sun shined
like it had never done before
and for a brief moment I believed
this time you would come around




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

promises made in haste


we learned to swim in arizona bay
long after the great shake
the one predicted ad nauseum
for a century or more
predicated on the fact
tectonic plates eventually
can’t help themselves

we talked often about migrating
down to all saints bay
but by the time paper dreams
developed into concrete plans
santa monica was already
crumbling into the sea

flashbacks take over in no particular order
replaying those days somewhere
near baghdad
digging trenches west of the euphrates
smoking camels and breathing
out fire and sand
promising ourselves under starlight
one day we’ll make it back
all the way to southern california




march two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

teenage decimation


these untold stories keep piling up
more than a few good men
wasting their lives on promises
that can’t possibly add up

big brother has never been scarier
whether on penny lane or haifa street

hey joseph
what are you doing
with that AK-47 in your hand

it’s friday night shouldn’t you be down
where the pretty ladies want
to see your smiling face

wouldn’t you rather be learning
how to make the world a brighter place
in a figurative sort of way

I once walked the streets of Athens
because I wanted to know what it was like
to walk in history’s shoes
but I’ll be damned
and dead by now
if I ever walked in yours


july two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

promises once made


you come in and out of my life
like a thief in the night
robbing me of dreams
I once held promisingly

sometimes you are the moon
cloaked by daylight
following my every move
without ever knowing

sometimes you are the rain
the kind that falls softly
comforting the troubles
that seem to haunt me

and although I can’t touch you
I can feel you are near
like a promise once made
kept dear in my heart


may two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

promises made in despair


she couldn’t find her stuffed bear
anywhere
except for the places
she was too afraid to look

beneath her bed
a trap door led to a stairwell
introducing a network of caverns
anywhere that poor bear
could be hiding

could be hiding anywhere

climbing up a tree barely
out of reach from
her bedroom window
someone picks crabapples
and gets ever so sleepy
dreaming of floating on air

down below a little girl
dressed in a onesie and
tears in her eyes
shouts through her funneled hands
wake up
wake up
wake up and jump
I promise I’ll never lose you again


october two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

room by room


I walk down the steps into an open
foyer with the lights on

the morning sun sprays itself into the
house from everywhere

I walk across the wooden floor
sabotaged by kitty toys
and broken promises

I open the refrigerator door
for more artificial light
and orange juice concentrate

things are starting to come back to me now
I say to myself

audibly clearer than a whisper
I wonder out loud
what lies in the next room


december two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fifty ways


there’s something
terribly wrong with me

it seems everyone knows
what it is but me

I ask the doctor
what the hell could it be

I don’t know he says
try talking to your friends

sleepless friends whisper
empty promises

and in the morning
those promises live on


october two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the guardian


you entered the ward
with a smile in your eye
quietly knelt beside me
and whispered of a world
where the dazzling white light
promises to free me
from the pain inside



october two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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