jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Somewhere Between the Lines


I

I’ve been trying to save myself
Long before I ever met you
I’m trying to understand
Why I feel so alive today
I found a message on the ‘net
That said you had gone away
So why do I keep searching
In a world that’s now unplugged

I don’t recall the last time
I walked on shallow water
There must be something in the air
That makes my eyes turn red
I looked much younger yesterday
When the sky was so much darker
I try to focus past the logic
But the clouds stand in the way

Flying solo used to be easy
When the birds kept in the trees
Hid behind camouflaged branches
Their songs were barely heard
But now the death of fall draws near
And they gather and form rainstorms
Is it any wonder I can’t find you
When my feet stay on the ground

II

I used to think I could find you hiding
But now I wonder when we’ll share
That moment in time together
Why does the sun always hide
When I walk between the lines

There’s a reason I keep looking
There’s a madness in my mind
I think maybe I should look elsewhere
Is it possible I will find you

III

It’s been a long long day
I’ve spent miles on this road
I’ve gone a long long way
Going to find my way back home



adapted from original version written in 2003
february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

wherever I may roam


in my place it’s so quiet
I can hear them performing upstairs
to an empty venue
reciting words or strumming chords
leg wrestling or listening to music
or simply adjusting
sitz bones on wooden chairs

outside their windows
a modest breeze animates life
young leaves sway slowly
keeping time with wooden
and ceramic and metallic chimes
while arms reach out and stretch
to catch a moment in time

one by one they escape
down the patchwork trellis
their voices hushed and excited
pitching a new game where
they scatter off forever and a day
only to reconnect back upstairs
whenever least expected


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

regimental marching band


they appeared out of the west wing
of a virtual stage
sleepwalking puppets
marching along a shoulder-high wall
made of various shades of reddish
brown pavers
held together over countless scores
by weeping concrete

their wooden heads bobbed and weaved
eyes dark as night
and gazing at hazardous skies
some carrying arms
while others waved flags of various nations
those pushing up the rear
keeping time on tom-toms
and bamboo fifes

off they went systematically along
the bloodlined wall
never again to return
surely to be replaced by a band of brothers
temporarily held together
by the thinnest of wires
or no wires at all


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

riding the storm out


driving down the interstate
doing seventy-seven
city lights nowhere in sight
he routinely checked his side view
his rear view
his front view
occasionally checking in on
his quiet companion riding shotgun

they hadn’t spoken for over an hour
and he wondered if she had awakened

what’s wrong she whispered

I was just thinking about the grid
he said
how fragile it may or may not be
and what will happen next if it gets hit again

how much further are we going tonight
she asked

I don’t know he said
maybe until my hand stops hurting
or we see some morning light


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

little sunday school riders


they said nobody got hurt
when the madman driving
the sunday school bus painted blue
loaded with dozens of inner city children
went belly up in two feet of snow
somewhere along highway 13

inside the old bus without seat belts
nearly all the little ones were improperly
dressed for the outside conditions
and when the madman
lost all control of the vessel
everyone inside stumbled and tumbled
on top of each other
screaming for the almighty himself
to appear out of nowhere and save them

notwithstanding a little frost bite
it was a miracle nobody got hurt


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

phantom highway


one hundred miles an hour
is not that fast compared
to the past ten years
gone in a flash
such a blurry mess
god knows where everything
lost or stolen ended up

chasing the southern sun
down a divided highway
a cold one on my lap
flashing red lights
materialize in my rear view
sirens demanding I pull over
this souped-up monster

I don’t think I’ll let them
catch me today
and I disappear by bleeding
into the faraway landscape
my mind and body seemingly
finding new life
plugged into this fine machine


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fighting over rings and things


we can’t ever forget hate
it’s tattooed on our biceps
trademarked on baseball bats
and army issued khaki pants

we walk around with grudges
taped on our faces like some
splintered biblical family that never
went to church on sundays
nor practiced what they preached

real estate is abundantly spacious
once you are dead and gone
catapulted into the farthest
reaches of the unknown
but in the meantime
we treat it like some precious ring
nobody in this world
deserves to possess


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sacrificial is the light


out in the fields
bonfires consume the air
pushed by the wind and shoving back
sparkling like stars
and speaking in new tongues

eons away prehistoric microlife awaken
hypnotic and unknowingly
attracted to the light
traveling at the speed of a lifetime
before effortlessly giving in
with unmitigated enthusiasm


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the woman and the dragon


looking back I saw a woman
dressed much like mother earth
giving birth to a king in the
land of promise and humility

an enormous red dragon
possessing master intelligence
and unchallenged authority
long ago recruited an army of angelic
host to destroy the newborn

and though succeeding at having him
put to death
the child was raised on the third day and
spirited away to his heavenly kingdom

since the deception in the garden
the red dragon has successfully ruled with
fiery abandon against all inhabitants

this mother of earth fled into the desert as
commanded by her lord
hiding from the red dragon during the
time of the great war that began in heaven
a war in which the winged general michael
drove the red dragon and his rebel angels
back to earth where they remained
forever confined

privy to all things seen and unseen
the lord of lords hid his people’s church
in a special place
as well as securing the believing
remnant of israel in the desert
near the dead waters


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

obscure crimes and self-inflicted wounds


that man you once knew
full of anger and pride and misguided
intentions
he’s gone now

I made sure of it

I got him drunk on his own whiskey
and drove him far out of town
kicked him out with just a knapsack
and a flashlight and a pocketful of change
told him to never dare come back

I was just glad I didn’t have
to threaten him with my pistol
and as soon I get stitched up
and cleared to go home
I’m going to bury that damn
thing out back
for the very last time


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

may day in the night sky


high speeds through clouds made of ice
wings molting then unraveling
hands grasping for someplace to land
as bodies busily spin in darkness
like lost souls in space mountains

with no time for substantive thoughts to evolve
time stands still for a matter of forever

twisted turning steel opens triangular windows
disappears into a brand new universe
while every living thing in its path
expands and contracts like a comet’s tail
breaking apart only to reconnect


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

this constant reinventing is nonsense


it worried him so
how everything would get done
believed the night owl never slept
believed the early worm
glowed in the dark for all to see
but nobody saw
and that worried him

too many goals
too many milestones to achieve
and to what end he asked himself while
pumping cheap gas into his cheap car
pontificating to himself
how worlds away
men were setting men on fire

it’s bad enough
I’ve got to live my own life
but what about all the next lives
I’ve got to endure
how I am supposed to make it through
all of them he asked himself

back on the street
he takes one bad turn
and before he knows it
he’s speeding down streets
never before seen
streets turning into boulevards
turning into avenues
into alleyways leading
to dead ends

just like in past lives inside virtual worlds
he loses himself yet again
the cabin of the car flashing red
tempting him to start all over again


february two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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