jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “war”

I’ve got a little boat and she’s seaworthy


somehow I continue to live here
expansive and dangerous
stretching from ocean to ocean
long after the continents
lost its interconnectedness

we make music out of trees
and jewelry out of oysters
how is it we can’t make peace
out of the most basic tenets
all religions seem to practice

elections and appointments
aren’t working any better
than heritage or privilege
ordinary people standing up
and speaking out perilously

change is at hand and the end
is near continue to play out
like a broken historical record
replaying sunday hangings
and friday crucifixions




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

this never ending war


this never ending war
call it evolution of revolution
as predictable as time itself
spinning and orbiting
one object around another

robotic tin soldiers
advancing exponentially
mercurial eyes laser sharp
lethal like the very weapons
they wield on command

the course of human history
seemingly on autopilot
at odds with peacemakers
challenging old world warlords
brokering old deals with satan




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

white flag


she’s in my head now
[how can she not be]
having gone off to war
without saying goodbye

she’s off to change the world
oh how I want to tell her
[but never will I speak]
how there’s nothing
left to change
only pieces to be moved

lately I’ve been dreaming
of tanks and bombs and drones
awakening my bones like clockwork
[in the year nineteen ninety-one]
waving a white flag
and bringing her back home




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

black hole earth


third world angels wrap themselves
around the loneliest of children
god ever placed on earth

they amble these ancient streets
and back alleys virtually unseen
admiring the crumbling architecture
as the children somehow fall fast asleep
jet fighters crisscrossing the frozen skies
reminding everyone that this time
nothing will be different

come daybreak birds sing and angels weep
opening their wings and knowing
in a naturally universal way
that this place in time
will be neither the first nor the last





april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

cease fire


who shall we condemn today
and who shall we elevate
picking and choosing
like gods openly playing favorites

how many times must we surrender
until peace reigns on earth
and how many times must our
hearts be tested before
proving our intentions are true

and those gods who willfully
come and go at their leisure
who’s to say they’re not the ones
continually adding fuel to the fire





march two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

like wars fought near and far


I’ve been practicing my lines
sometimes while drinking
other times in my sleep
saying them out loud when
nobody’s around
whispering them under my
breath at check out lines or
while idling at red lights

though the world is dying
the coming winter should
slow the process down
allowing for pause
and consideration
whether well rehearsed lines
(like wars fought near and far)
actually require repeating




october two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

no time for baseball


it’s the bottom of the ninth
and nobody’s keeping score
and though the lights are on
the stadium is nearly empty

in the comfort of my own home
I can’t reach the game on am radio
instead switch to fm and listen to
jimi hendrix covering bob dylan

early morning news feed arrives
bold headlines scream no-hitter
followed by abbreviated stories
regurgitating tales of mass destruction

weatherman breaks in unannounced
low lying fog chemically unbalanced
possibly canceling the school day
if not the entire baseball season




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

tip-toeing


opposition forces positioned themselves
in the most peculiar way
so much so nobody seemed to notice
exactly who they were
or what they were doing

last fall foot soldiers were ordered to plant
thousands of tulip bulbs in the minefields
but not all that went in came back alive
and the ones who did rested uncomfortably
for the rest of their lives

by the time spring solstice arrived
the enemy had mysteriously withdrawn
and all the local children awakened with smiles
welcoming the newly risen sun
proceeding to run cautiously
through her once glorious meadows




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

counting down the days


after the invasion we stopped lighting candles
instead looked to the stars for answers

the children were best at hide-and-go seek
despite the risk of never being seen again

days of routine left us long after the last train
and now what remains is this suffocating reality
where dreams and nightmares are but one in the same

there are no more rivers to cross or towns to destroy
no more ghosts to disperse or spirits to dispel
no more lessons to be learned
no more ransoms to be paid
no more saviors to be born
no more lives to be saved




march two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

taken to a nearby hospital


the city was on fire
and I was like a lost lamb
roaming past identical houses
hoping the next turn opens up
to a countryside I once knew by heart

they say the nightlife is the best here
where the most beautiful people gathered
to forget the past

but then it was gone in a flash
like a trick of the mind
there you see it
there you don’t
limbs gyrating like an egyptian
eyes mesmerized
believing just about anything

there was a man with a staff
crying out in the city center
where the river divided the land
and though I was perfectly lost
I heard him clearly above the
sirens and screams and
deadly detonations



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

how I am drawn to you


the town is vacant
abandoned by war
can you feel me
trembling with fear

the moon is afire
and the field is aglow
can you see me
chasing the wind

the bridge is out
and the river is frozen
can you hear me
calling your name

the border is near
attracting me closer
your arms reach out
unbelievably we embrace



december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

peeking around the next corner


it seems like everyone is hell bent on
picking a fight
but by everyone I don’t mean you or me

sometimes I want you to make me think
and other times I don’t

I’m not sure which is worse
pretending the white elephant
isn’t actually pink
or acknowledging all is fair
in lust and taxation

I didn’t come here looking
for a fight
and neither did you
so I keep on convincing myself
that’s what keeps us separated
from whatever it is
that’s hurting



november two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it’s a long way to where I’m going


there is nothing ever new
it has always been there before
whether it be spaceships or dinosaurs

to be or not to be
give me liberty or give me death
what are they but bold proclamations
made by multitudes (of men)
long before recorded history

there is this cumulation of sorts
that continually runs on autopilot
where storms and wars become
even more powerful
nature against man
man against nature (and man)
relentlessly pounding
worldwide peace movements
that somehow flourish surrealistically
century after century

it’s a long way to where I’m going
but chances are once I get there
nobody will ever know



october two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

will you die for him


children playing out back
unrestricted by all the fences
digging foxholes and
sowing the lord’s seeds

dinnertime bells only delay
the inevitable
and just as their bellies
will never be full
most will find it nearly impossible
to ever grow old



september two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

counting bodies like sheep


do not be nervous little ones
the world is not falling apart at the seams

I do not mean to lie but things are not
what they seem (to be)
in fact these happenings may just
be a figment of some lesser god’s
imagination

and those drums coming nearer
gaining ground even while you’re sleeping
what are they even doing here
and how did they earn privilege
to beat upon the children



september two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


footote:
loosely based on song of similar
title by A Perfect Circle
A Perfect Circle youtube video

hell freezes over


we can’t seem to get past
talking about the weather
how it lifts us up only
to tear us down
one day sipping apple-spiced tea
at café eden
the next trapped inside a
bomb shelter in aleppo

I say the weather is earth’s
spirit restless in its own creativity
slowly evolving and forever changing

you nod and look skyward
pointing at the clouds
roiling and attracting countless starlings

seeds affected by cosmic precipitation
you never know what may come next
perhaps a prophet or a prince
or a torrid dictator

ruthless storms continuously stir
inside boiling pots
reappearing as easy as they please
perpetuating change by destroying
everything in its path


september two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

until we conquer death we will never be able to broker peace


you kill for your god
you rape and maim and murder
all for your god

you carry objects in your pockets
a license to kill the guilty
along with the innocent

your god has made you judge
grand jury and executioner
and deservedly so
for he is a righteous dude
and his prejudices are warranted
even though he oftentimes transmits
disturbing orders
you have no choice but to carry out

all the real estate in the world
belongs to your god
and so you go out and capture
as many flags as you can

no questions asked


august two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

there is love in the clouds


nobody’s tending the fire
it’s just burning on its own
neither controlled nor uncontrolled
emitting a stench of indifference

massacres and coup attempts
repeat like the rising of the sun
highlighting headlines on
doorsteps as death tolls escalate
and accumulate

meanwhile the fire burns
fueled by arms deals between
friends and foes
stoked by power struggles and
brokered by corrupt politicians
enabling strategic corporations

social consciousness bombards
wireless outlets with outrage
pumping up clouds until they burst
pamphlets of love falling
like rain across a world on fire


july two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in the land of free-for-alls and firearms


summer’s promise has been smashed into
irreparable pieces
swept into the gutter along with man’s mortal sins
unable to be washed away
even by torrential rains

the pursuit of happiness is just a dying thought
riddled with contradictions

kings clench their fists and promise
real change will come
but the people in the streets shake their heads
weeping for the dead with brooms in hand

that all men are created equal they know
to be untrue
as are the history books justifying
the massacre of native peoples
and the legality of human slavery

oh America why have thou failed so many
foolishly feeding
the machine of mass destruction
your people afraid to leave their homes
a people starving for peace and love
and understanding
unconcerned with hollow words
on an idle document


july two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

dreaming between the lull and the storm


there is deception in those eyes
seemingly innocent
but exposed
to a lifetime of atrocities

captured by the camera’s lens
they are frozen in time
and streamed live
to a world hopelessly paralyzed

relocated time and again
she hides her eyes and dreams
of the day
living with angels in paradise


may two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

first day back home


he sat at the table
quietly
the salt and pepper
barely out of reach
but he would not speak
chewing the butterfly pork chop
precisely

she asked him if it needed
any salt
and he simply stuck
another chunk into his mouth
slowly but briefly shaking
his head

he buttered an ear of corn
using a slice of bread
and picked it up
clumsily
worked away at it
fearlessly

she knew it needed salt
but he wouldn’t say a word
and she wouldn’t dare
interrupt
a second time

she wanted to let him know
there was a good movie
airing on the pay-per-view
but thought twice
telling herself she was sure
he wanted to figure things out
all on his own


may two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

deathly viral


a sickness hangs around
undisturbed
sublime like the slender moon
infrequently bright
but destined to burst

silent cells work below
the surface
tunneling effectively
like eager termites
building a kingdom

monitors intersect
the chatter
faint but riding the airwaves
like a vampire bat
preparing to strike

emerging past the shadows
bulging lights
expose the contagion
airborne and fatal
blighting whole cities


march two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

undeterred


we germinated seeds wrapped in
moist paper towels
trapped inside teacup saucers
left behind beneath the kitchen sink

evicted for reasons unbeknownst
to the uncaring eye
we migrated into the metropolis
finding security amongst the living

barely surviving into the spring
we packed our things
heads held high and singing
like the birds following in our wake

crossing into newfound fertile lands
we planted something new
prayed to the gods that be
our resurrected hopes would grow


february two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I read the news today


when the telephone rings
it is wise not to answer
for the best news is no news
in these godforsaken lands

I cringe at the injustices
bestowed upon the helpless
how the most brutal minds
can take away anything they like
at any given moment

they were not put on this earth
by the gods who protect me
the gods who taught me
tolerance and compassion
promising a better place
in another time and space

in the meantime the wars
and the mass murders
and merciless distrust between
neighbors prevail
history unable to help
but repeat itself



july two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

out on their own


you see them often from all kinds of angles
there right in front of you
real life people dying on real life stages
up close and in your face
in color and featured on screens of any size
delivered to the comfort of your own home
or wherever you may be roaming

though they may look like you
may have your eyes or nose or cheekbone
they don’t share your problems
their predicaments are nothing but a distraction
or occasionally interesting
like a saturday morning wildlife show
where all the creatures of the world
figure everything out on their own


march two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

recounting history


the torch may fade from time to time
may flicker like a pilot’s light
disappearing over the sea

below the surface the torch
resumes its glow
likely to be found by henchmen
digging foxholes

beware the silence
they warned
lifting their torches
and charging a newfound
enemy with fiery explosions

in the aftermath smoldering fires
resurrect memories of old promises
feeding those who hunger
rebuilding what was destroyed

as new histories emerge new
generations evolve
securing the torches in submerged silos
believing that without peace
all the yesterdays of the world
added up to nothing



november two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

finding your way back home


friday night limousine riders
speeding some seventy
miles per hour
cut up lemons and dispense
margaritas without rocks

outside airport secret police
intercept intelligence and
issue search warrants
briskly escorting illicit riders
to a flight of their life

dropped behind enemy lines
grown boys sober up quickly
burning camouflaged parachutes
and skirting the edges
hoping to find their way home


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

perpetual suffering


we didn’t sign up for this
but there we were
pistols raised above our heads
faces covered with red
paisley bandanas
ending fairy tale lives
and abetting a revolution
handed down for centuries

everyone knew the wild west
would eventually cycle back
to the eastern front
where women lay low and
protect and feed their children
until old enough
to perpetuate the suffering


september two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

broken


world is broken in so many ways
though weapons are working
perfectly fine
precisely hitting
ordinary targets deemed
to be harboring
neither aspiration nor dream

we’ve heard this story retold
ad nauseam
seen it played out in theater
(time and again)
two-bit actors slaughtering
their lines as directed by
apocalyptic producers
feeding on senselessness


july two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

true interpretations


it rained all night
and while I slept sharks
swam in circles around my body
either protecting me from myself
or saving me for later

awakened by wind sweeping in
morning sunshine
I took to the kitchen
coffee maker abuzz
birds of the air outside my window
like chatty statuettes
swapping old stories

settling back into real-time solitude
I revisit casualties
both foreign and domestic
making headlines on print and
television and internet
their bodies dead or dying
my prayers hoping they find
doves soaring on the other side

unable to shake the current
course of events
I stare into my oversized cup
of morning petroleum
dorsal fins circling above the surface
daring me to find out the true
interpretation to my dream


june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hurry sundown


hurry sundown
so we may pretend
flashes in the sky are lightning bolts
and sirens sounding in the night
mere weather warnings

hurry sundown
so we may pretend
that the faraway drums are rolling thunder
and the stomping of boots on concrete
just a relentless downpour

hurry sundown
so we may pretend
to sneak away like children of the night
uncaging the white doves held captive
by enemies with false memories




may two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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