jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

undeterred


we germinated seeds wrapped in
moist paper towels
trapped inside teacup saucers
left behind beneath the kitchen sink

evicted for reasons unbeknownst
to the uncaring eye
we migrated into the metropolis
finding security amongst the living

barely surviving into the spring
we packed our things
heads held high and singing
like the birds following in our wake

crossing into newfound fertile lands
we planted something new
prayed to the gods that be
our resurrected hopes would grow


february two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

midnight abduction


voluntarily confined in second story room
four walls with one door
one window
locked inside for hours
watching outside world
smartphone connected to headphones

down below frenzied family interacts
fingers pushing buttons designed
to simplify lives
modern distractions creating confusion
dinner overcooked in oven
baskets of clothes stacked high
little ones devouring soggy frosted flakes

curfew sets in
lights faintly glow
cold air and distant sirens
stream in through wide open window
convoluted dreams turning sideways
by a single scream
fists pounding a simple door
barricading teenage aspirations


february two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

lost and unfound


the cat chased the crescent moon
deep into the night
encountering near death experiences
along the way
living and dying by the hour
until inevitably unseen

with the scent of the cat
fresh in the dog’s
sensory perceptions
he searched for days on end
until finally losing track of
his long-lost friend

promising to return another day
the dog headed back home
guided by a bright satellite
looming over the city
stray cats springing from the shadows
and jumping over the moon




Oscar & Chester


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a thaw in relations


inspiration lies low
like ursa minor in hibernation
like tulip bulbs
stirring in february soil

blue eyes painted over
darkened skies
peek past wintry clouds
and toward a brand new day

open arms warmly welcome
a once elusive sun
promising to thaw a world
hopeful to rise again


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

escape velocity


my clairvoyant dreams paved the way
for so many to get out of this place

there was no time to pack a case
no time for goodbye hugs or kisses

pretending to be pretty is a futile endeavor
when there is beauty in eternity

the difference between life and breath
is as a minuscule as the smallest molecule
intrinsically gradual like the transition of seasons
cycling within this world and the next


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

surfing station to station


I turn the dial to 107.9 fm
but all I hear is ozzie or zepplin
van halen or ac/dc

I tell myself if I want to hear classic rock
I’d dial in 100.3 or maybe 105.7

whatever happened to my once
favorite retreat called rock 108
where I could always hear
something beautifully brand new
no matter how good or bad

I mean seriously
is there really not enough new rock
to make the world go ‘round anymore

the population on this planet
continues to explode
but meanwhile
I’m stuck here half-dazed
(from all the static)
surfing station to station
hoping to find a brand new groove


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

snow covered driveways


in the winter I move my
badass twenty-speed road bike
out of the garage and
down to the basement where
it hangs out of sight and mind

when the next morning arrives
I take to the streets on foot
dressed in layers so not
one part of my old body gets cold
except for maybe my cheeks

some days the streets are better
options than sidewalks
because so many lazy neighbors
can’t seem to properly clear them off

you can tell a lot about a neighbor
by looking at their sidewalks and driveways

when driveways remain snow-covered
for days on end
it tells you they’re either down in florida
yukking it up with the joneses
drinking arnold palmers and
never giving it a thought if the neighbor kid
was actually earning his keep
or they’re hopelessly homebound
deathly ill or worse yet
dead and gone
without a soul in the world
wondering where they are


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as far as the mind can see


I dressed hurriedly for today’s
adventure out in the cold white country
beyond suburban houses shut
tight for the winter
smoke billowing out chimneys
and metal caps on rooftops

slamming the door behind me
I race down snow-covered streets
lined with streetlamps and skeleton trees
knapsack draped over one shoulder
carrying ice skates and hot chocolate
extra scarves and over-sized mittens

upon reaching base camp
the very last lot where town ends
and wilderness begins
dozens of boys gather where machines
made to conquer the snow sit idling
destined to take us places
not yet known


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

flash powder


what have I contributed
to the cause
keeping the music alive and
guarding elephants
from poachers

I’ve given up aerosol sprays
and gasoline
marlboro lights
store-bought soup
and religion

how much more do I have to give

that constant humming in my ear
is that just a warning from
my guardian angel
or simply a reminder
how those widely admired
can easily be swept away
like a night owl’s prey
silently screaming

absolution doesn’t exist
in the blink of an eye
and even if it did
no act of contrition could
prevent anyone from
seeing the light


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Walking for Justice for All


Born in a veil of freedom
I walk through the streets
of Birmingham
holding my head high
gazing into the whites of the eyes
of faceless people
fading into unforgotten crowds
cheering and jeering and
throwing insults at my ancestry
at a time when vengeance
superseded facts
and justice was unleashed
without due process


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Ciudad de México


To this day pieces of my past
remain scattered
in the Valley of Mexico
consumed into the warm soft clay

When you said you didn’t love me
lightning struck
three times in the distance
portending tears of a sad affair

In Mexico City I remained
for years on end
taking to the streets
smiling and laughing and enjoying
the companionship
of a compassionate people
accepting the art and music
and language and history as my own
living a lie that my heart
had never been broken


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

triangles in her eyes


the sails in this watercolor look
like albino shark fins
she said while stretching her
neck to one side

the whitecaps are amazing
she went on to say
they’re perfect equilaterals
one rolling into the next
below the prismatic horizon

she stared at the painting
for another minute
dabbing at her eyes before
reaching out for my hand

what’s the matter I asked her

I’m bored to death she said
we’ve got to get out of this place


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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