poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “war”

rewriting the history books

in america
natural born leaders have been replaced
by natural born killers

at a future date
historians may connect the dots
—the sublime correlation between the two
mapping the evolution from plymouth
to richmond
to the latest school shooting

students learning
all on their own
how the eradication of racism
is a moot point
as long as man & boy
continue to pursue the art of war

may two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserve

the idol maker

close your eyes & make a wish
it just may be your last

who’s next is playing
in the background
& suddenly you find yourself
in nineteen seventy-one

the current wars
aren’t much different than the old ones
especially when launched
by the eventual loser

but the music that ensues
the poetry yet to come
now that is beauty to the ears
turkey-noodle soup for the soul

you sit back & say things like
I remember when
or back in the day
everyone surrounding you
singing yeah yeah yeah
a chorus for the ages

march two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

changing of the guard

it takes energy
to sustain energy
to create & recreate

the mirror understands
goes back in time
your neck at an angle
trying to decipher if what
you saw is what you recall

they’re making money
out of thin air
tens of thousands of machines
mining like virtual maniacs
their controllers hoping to
strike gold again
secluded in the sierra foothills

it’s understood some cities
are being flattened
old bosses with their old technologies
laying to waste their arsenals
out of sheer boredom

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

lunatic fringe & blind eyes

scores of countries
are currently at war

can you name them
can you name them all

insurgencies & civil
drug & trade
so many wars in so little time
death & destruction
urban cities or rural countryside
children & women
men & animals
mass murdered by war
recycled like raw material

leaders become illegitimate
in a matter of minutes
pushing buttons
calling on their machines
to massacre before our very eyes
this the twenty-first century

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

reading braille

once the war
was so many years old
the children picked up braille
& began reading again
fairly easily

august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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


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

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: