jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

why can’t this place be any better


looking from afar she’s a beauty
dressed in variations of blue and white
spinning in place like a ballerina
poised and full of grace

born into a seemingly endless era
she has lived and died countless times
only to return to confront the dangers
the natural order of things create

unconcerned with the scars modern
minds have fatally placed upon themselves
she feeds on mere mortal wounds
knowing time will heal all things



july two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

imaginary figments


in the dementia ward they
played poker with toothpicks
and told off-color jokes everyone
laughed at but nobody understood

nothing is real here one of them said
you’re all just figments of my imagination

I used to love fig newtons another one said

they don’t exist you idiot
not fig newtons or chocolate chip cookies
not milky way bars or rice crispy treats
not sugar and spice or anything nice

everyone chuckled except for the one
who used to love fig newtons

oh just shut up and deal he said
before the lights go out



july two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the reason she needs you now


she was a beauty without doubt
shined in photographs
everywhere you showed them
to everyone who saw

her skin was cold to the touch
but you would never know
not without getting closer
not without bridging the gap

lost inside a city of angels
she blended in with mere mortals
rubbing elbows with those
she learned to trust

it was back in o’eight after
the world had seemed to crash
an exodus of sorts ensued
and she left everything behind

did she really head back east
back where there was no home
or did she drift into a dreamless state
where only gray matter grows

your badge of courage means
nothing if you can’t solve
the reason why she came here
or the reason she needs you now



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

children of the stars


children played in the sand
building empires bound to fail
if not by the morning rain
then by a bloated gibbous
sinking into the sea

they boarded a starship
and set sail into the unknown
praying to their gods
for divine guidance
during years of hardship

starting anew in an alien world
they gravitate back
where sand meets the sea
where sweet memories linger
in unfamiliar air
their curious children learning
to build their own castles



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

before this world


it’s like I had been here before
this sometimes lonely
sometimes violent planet
spinning tales of uncertainty
fighting for her own life from
forces inside and out

irreconcilable differences
fester beneath the surface
and in the hearts of men
who pretend love doesn’t exist
propagating arms races and
settling disputes with destruction

the creator casts lots and flirts
with extinction in innumerable ways
taking out ground troops in
single covert operations
recasting their souls back before
this world was ever born



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

The Pretender


I left all these little clues where you could
find me hiding in the strangest of places
sometimes squeaking quietly like a mouse
nibbling on a morsel of cheese
casting a tiny shadow against the white curtain
other times banging pots and pans
at the break of dawn
in an otherwise empty kitchen
while you were upstairs fast asleep
my reckless display was just part of a nightmare
you could never quite piece together

During the workday when the house was lifeless
I would rummage through your old vinyls
singing as loudly as my lungs would allow
somehow knowing nobody within in a million
miles would be able to hear me

When you finally came home I was too weary
to make an effort to be noticed
could barely stand to see you so worn out
so I would wander a few hours between the walls
pretending they were part of an intricate maze
pretending I still belonged outside of them
pretending you were not as sad as it seemed



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

field trip out to the country


they told us to put on our jackets
then marched us into a half-sized
blue bird bus

they didn’t tell us where
we were going and everyone sat
quietly as the driver listened
to the game on the radio

looking out the rear window
the city slowly dissolved
giving way to rows of young corn
and green soybean fields

we passed farms with barns and silos
with cows and horses and sheep
and occasionally the stench of manure
led to the holding of noses

an hour went by and we started
to whisper to one another
speculating where on earth
they could be taking us

“quiet down back there” the nurse
shouted without looking back
and everyone hushed
and rolled their eyes

this ain’t no fucking field trip I told myself

looking at all the frightened faces
I could tell they thought the same thing
disbelieving sarcastic smiles saying
holy shit we’re all going to die



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

saving the next city


how many miles we traveled
far from shore I do not know
the early morning city lights
flickering atop gentle waves
skyscrapers sinking into their
self-induced holes as
madmen rush to resurrect them

the fish were striking at an incredible
pace and the captain had trouble
resetting all the downriggers
while house flies persistently bit
the whitest of legs
reminding the youngest of men
everything comes with a price

at the end of the day as the boat
drifted back to shore
there were no women or children
welcoming them back home

there were no lights
no music streaming from pipes

but the streets
the streets they were weeping
streets littered by madmen
already destroying the next city



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

we should go there more often


we used to go there often for inspiration
but when the well ran dry
we hit the road and looked elsewhere

cruising down the highway we listened
to all the greatest hits
asking ourselves repeatedly
where do all the good ones come from

lady luck seemed to be nowhere in sight
so we stopped for a fortnight
at somebody’s cabin
smoking hash and drinking gin
hoping to awaken those rhythmical spirits

we pretended there was a sasquatch
down by the lake patrolling the perimeter
throwing rocks at strangers
from behind the brush

when evening rolled in we started to hum
and strum some simple chords
the earth beneath our feet
beginning to tremble



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I’m your Captain


everyone notices the stars
when they’re drunk from excess work
and cheap rum

at midnight the lights
disappeared and the parrots
were barely audible

under cover wicked winds
slowly rushed in
made worse by the waxing gibbous
stretching and reaching and
slapping the crew back to life

come high noon the ship idled choppingly
off-course but no longer taking in water

angry and hungry a few well-chosen men
hunt down the black cat
spooked and in hiding with her captain
feeling sick and anything but mighty



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

beaten but not defeated


though he was broken
he was not defeated
refused to contemplate ending it
especially when knowing
one day things will be different
that very day when the sky will open
like never before
and the brightest of ideas
will explode like fireworks
from smokey clouds
that only milliseconds beforehand
were the darkest
he will have ever seen



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a few years earlier


a little rain won’t hurt nobody
is what I remember Noah saying
not the dude in the book
but the bartender down the street

those potholes in the city streets
Carlos said grown men were putting
goldfish inside them after the big rain
betting on who would make it last

blocked off neighborhoods
pop up overnight
those trapped inside instructed
by the powers that be
to lay low
chillax is what one of them said
until flat-bottomed boats
can bring supplies

by the time the seventh day arrived
it was every man for himself

as far as the women and children
were concerned
well they were nowhere to be seen



june two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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