poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “youth”

under the microscope

at the university
on the campus called pentacrest
there is a valley & a dale
on one side of the river
—and just like a mirror
on the opposite side as well

it was the eighties
when the economy was shit
[or so I learned in jessup hall]
all the doomsday scenarios
leaving a pleasant taste on my palate

I remember walking up the hill
what seemed steeper than 45 degrees
keeping my head down
hauling a backpack full of books
telling myself I’m hiking on flat terrain

I always thought the eyes of the faces
would watch me with scrutiny
as if I was some sort of transplant
but in reality I was merely one of them
somehow surviving under the microscope

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

he only wanted to be a country boy

story after story
guns & knives & ideological hatred
I try to imagine a world without it

he always said he wanted
to be a country boy
but that’s not likely
once sentenced to thirty years

we keep killing
young ones at an alarming rate
whether by war or neglect or hunger
and those pushers behind bars
easily recycle misinformation

march two thousand twenty-one
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

a perfect promise

I didn’t expect this empty space
to be this warm
the quiet space where heartbeats
keep time with thoughts
that never rhyme

I remember you telling me
to keep the door shut
but I never did figure out why
or exactly what was out there
you didn’t want to be seen

I can’t see much light
passing through your ageless eyes
once dashing but now
hopeless like a waning moon
casting half-lies

while forgetfulness lurks
truth stalks along the outer edges
promising a perfect distraction
while washing youthfulness away

march two thousand fifteen
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

Winter Blues

butterflies are nothing but
welcomed distractions in a
long after the youth of careless
rebellion becomes
netted in routine

december two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sunday with nana

when I was a little girl she said
I sang in the children’s choir
and everybody loved us

we smiled and tried to imagine
how nana could ever have been
a little girl singing in church

like a magician she pulled psalms
out of her throat and lifted them
high into the glorious air

angels appeared playing flutes
and trumpets and approving the
perfection that was her voice

september two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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