jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

thirty stories tall


sweetly your song presents
promises
and stays forever in tune
like a prayer

in my mind I hear nothing
but a repeated melody
that is never tiring and
always alive in my dreams

there is an inescapable part of
young love
never lost between inception and death
somehow living on above reality

alone thirty stories high
I endure my lowest hour
mindful all is equal between young lovers

oh cruel world
thank you for delivering unto me
your irony
for without it
I would have given up long ago

I would not give up the world
for anything except you
would not allow myself
to be alienated from your
yesterday or today
would always be near you
wherever you may be

first kiss so true
oh so vivid in our minds
first love at first sight

beauty appears out of nowhere
shuts off the lights and
turns on our lives

anywhere but here
thirty stories tall
how I’d fall off the edge
to be with you right now


originally written circa nineteen eighty-five
rewrite published on ArtiPeeps earlier this year
recital recorded october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fleeting thoughts and butterfly nets


I borrowed someone else’s thoughts
and pinned them against a blank
sheet of paper

nothing sticks quite right the first
time so I gathered them together
and sealed them in a chrysalis
where they slowly evolved into
my own creation

(I tried returning the borrowed
thoughts to their original owners
but they all refused delivery)

new words gradually emerge
out of an abbreviated hibernation
and from there I cut and copy
and delete and tweet
and paste paste paste
all the way down easy street

but of course if it was easy
everyone would be doing it
running across backyards
and open fields
swinging butterfly nets
at their ever elusive thoughts


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

against the wind


I pretend I don’t see you
and then look away
my eyes focused on my
forward movement
lest I slip off the shoulder
and crash into the water

pedals on concrete race
against sails on water
each attacking the wind
in our own special way
one eye in the rearview
and one at a finish line
that may
or may not be there


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

there’s no place to call home


there’s no going back they said
speaking omnisciently from
their holier than thou prophecies

their interstellar ambitions
went far beyond
conceptual matter
went far beyond anything
this side of the sun

space travel is like a slingshot
they explained in ancient
texts blown to pieces and
heat-seeking exoplanets
like some uncensored comet

like aliens trapped in human bodies
they continually pray for change
on so many different levels


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the curse of the new moon


morning light casts long shadows
where trees amass and grow wild
harboring mere mortals
savoring newfound secrets

at work in the dimly lit night
werewolves trail the slender moon
digging out curses buried
deep along the way

on the outskirts of the city
early morning trains whistle and
howl and slowly garner steam
hauling away memories that
never truly existed


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

none of this land is ours


we climbed the hill in laughter
losing our lunch boxes along the way
certain we’d be able to
find them on the way down

once on top we jumped at
pretend stars shining so bright
shouting into funneled hands
for the gods to strike us down

imagining owning all the hills
as far as the eye could see
the bad guys appeared out of thin air
and sent us tumbling
all the way back down


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Streets of Saint Petersburg


Lost inside Saint Petersburg
I travel by foot toward the river
church bells ringing silently
deadened by the dank air
creeping down my neck

I swear I see your pretty face
among the many gathered
‘round Palace Square
faces reddened by the wind
or wrapped in woolen scarves

Just as metallic music erupts
below the darkening clouds
young souls scream to life
and storm center stage
like a swarm of angry wasps

Lost inside Saint Petersburg
I blow on my hands and
stuff them inside my jacket
my feet taking me closer
to the river and back to the
University where I belong


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

wormwood


hurtling through space indefinitely
it was only a matter of time
before wormwood
reached the outer edges
exploding into a colorfully
destructive rainshower

up above trumpets sounded
and incense burned
angels huddled together
compacting balls of fire
and hurling them onto earth

though many on the surface
perished from such punishment
it was wormwood
that single-handedly wiped out
a third of all living things
both on land
and on sea
and below the sea

and though dust consumed
a third of the sun’s light
supersonic blasts
broke through the haze
telegraphing without question
the worst was yet to come


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

familiar is the silence


those voices inside his head
at times went missing for days
sometimes for weeks or longer
each time promising to never return

but the voices never really went far
and he would run into them
at the supermarket
or movies
at the bowling alley and speedway
fast food restaurants
and convenience stores

weeks went by and then years
the songs of his pluperfect past
fading in the background
like little birds left behind
whispering apologetically
pleading to be taken back in

safely inside his warm bed
he pulls a blanket up to his chin
and waits in silence for the
voices to return


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

good riddance to october rain


I don’t remember autumn being this wet
she said

I blinked my eyes and looked outside
thinking to myself what an
absurd thing to say

it’s not that wet I said it’s just an illusion

it’s wet enough they canceled tonight’s
baseball game she said

real men play in the rain I said

you’re an idiot she said and walked away

I raised my glass and made a silent toast
to rid the world of absurdity
and rainy october nights


october two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where the trees had fallen


taking trails less traveled
led me to where the
trees had fallen
where horses long ago
abandoned the woods

falling to my knees I
listened ‘neath the silence
felt inner earth’s heartbeat
inside my very bones
faintly alive and hurting

lost generations remain
charred in this place
recycled into ghostly ashes
reshaped into
ever-changing apparitions

silence ensued and robbed
me of all my thoughts
leading me to believe
the only way out was
through my imagination


october 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

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