jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

how I got there


my father doesn’t want to die
oh no he is not afraid
after all his friends are all gone

I visit as often as time allows
90 miles from portal to portal
midway point at Big Rock

he revealed to me the route
not too many years ago
and now with every visit
he asks me how I got there




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as palatable as sadness circulating in the air


there is sadness in the air
but in order to hear it you have to
shut everything down

whether it’s inside or out
of the body [or the house]
depends upon the strength of the sun
or the brilliance of the moon

follow me or lead the way
into the orchard
where seeds are plentiful
and temptations are as palatable
as sadness circulating in the air




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

past & present on center stage


how dare I dwell on past
atrocities & injustices
inflicted on one’s people
by the fears of another
where history books are
whitewashed & rewritten
as if none of it was murderous
none of it problematic today

yes I did listen & later read
the great inaugural poem
finding myself applauding
and shedding a tear for hope
having no idea about her
background story or ambitions
or how the grace of god
had brought her to center stage




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

learning the lay of the land


challenges always lie ahead
past triumphs & travesties
routinely rolling out to sea
never to be seen

by nature I’d been enlisted
to fight and love and fight again
for causes undefined
and passions ill-advised

if I go
it will be called predestination
and if I don’t
I will have missed out
on an arguable adventure
one in which I have zero control

but what control do I possess
by taking an alternative path
one of isolation
leaving behind not one crumb
learning that the mountain walls
too have eyes
and underground rivers speak to me
in a language precisely my own




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the girl down the street


everything’s blowing up right
before our very eyes
and it has nothing to do with
proportional realities
cast inside our own hands

in the meantime
daughters are getting married
hunting dogs sent off to school
young valentines practicing their aim
at heart-shaped cumulus clouds

love thy neighbor has suddenly
become a thing of the past
especially since organized religion
is nothing but a passing fancy
and the girl down the street
can no longer to be trusted




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

live streaming current events


they told us to stay inside
that there was nothing outside
needing to be seen
but the fact of the matter was
the world was changing
quickly & quite dramatically
and if we were allowed
to go outside & witness first hand
what was actually happening
we probably would have been unable
to demonstrate to our children
exactly how peace fell on earth




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a pause in the action


all is quiet on the frontlines
or so it seems one of the sides
has declared sunday as a holiday
giving the good guys & gals plenty of time
to rearrange the chairs on the deck

they’ll be a day when fencing
is nothing but a sword-flashing serenade
the enemy of the state
simply an award-winning film
premiering in seventeen seventy-six




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

vulnerable


when will they figure out
nobody really lives here
that the present
is just an amalgamation of coming events
reshaped by an ever-changing past
where pyramids were built
by left-leaning mexicans
and futuristic border walls
by alt-right aliens




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

composite


I’ve not yet turned a page
and already
the landscape is covered white
erasing the reds & greens
and every subtle shade in between
including the tips
of copper mountaintops
bronze seals of letters unsent

without direction I look inward
inside a soul
shape-shifting & experimenting
with colors undefined
shooing away the false gods
hovering up above
waving in all things new
in black & white or kodachrome




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

clothes horse


he still visits me
I tell her over the phone

we had been talking about
differences in the weather
and she promptly responds
no it’s you who still visits him

six months ago
he was talking about
all the suits lined up in the closet
don’t worry about it I said
they’ll be back in the game
before you know it

growing up poor
may have contributed
to me becoming a clothes horse
he once confessed
perhaps the first & only time
I ever detected weakness

don’t worry she tells me
there’s plenty of weakness
to go around for everyone
I’m just happy to see
someone’s keeping in contact




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

born to be an assassin


there’s been talk of re-education camps
for children of certain parents
thinking maybe just maybe
the countryside might be saved

for what’s happening inside the city
will take decades to decipher
and those trapped inside
will forever be beholden to the sun

some ways out are costlier than others
such as escapee versus recruit
the former barreling past borders
the latter anything but in a hurry




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on the day of deliverance


little voices speak to them
feeding them outlandish tales
from the far darker side
telling them what’s what
and when it’s time to act

everything they possess
be it bread or handgun or crucifix
has been freely given to them
if not by the generosity of strangers
then by the good lord above

there’s no telling what’s to come
as they anxiously await
for the voices to return
soon to receive their final orders
on the day of deliverance




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Transitory revolution


It turns on all by itself
Sony transistor radio
AA batteries at half life
a receiver for the dead
reaching out to me
via Rock 108

It’s a call to arms
the messages repeating
the background music
easily overpowered
I rise to my feet
committing to the cause

It’s a matter of time
Rome will soon be burning
the power of the radio
awakening me
enabling me to see God
in a totally different light




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

following the cult of personality


it’s time to participate
or so it seems
time to make-believe
the world is but a movie
and we are called into action
by the masterful director

though only one in a million
every extra is crucial
every weapon drawn
both hands on the grip
the muzzle touching
the right earlobe

winner takes all
that’s all there is to know
and when the masterful director
shouts out ‘action’
we all come rushing in
ushering in a new beginning




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

toast & tangerine tea for three


I forgot what I was going to say
but managed to call an audible
that nobody wanted to hear

there was nobody around
so it was one of those no harm
no foul kind of moments

there used to be a time
I was surrounded by loved ones
but for some reason
I’ve managed to outlive them all

I’ve been telling myself for years
that the violence will intensify
perhaps the reason why
I find myself lost inside this shell

though the body is breaking
the mind has called upon the soul
dialoguing behind closed doors

and at the break of dawn
when I rise what could be for the last time
I inquisitively ask are we still here




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fake news from kathmandu


the lights descended on a
make-believe kathmandu
and suddenly the world took notice
just how populous
such a little place could be

but it was a mere deflection
those brilliant lights
meant only to deceive
some claiming was recently bottled
from a heavenly conjunction

the flashing was blinding
but there’s nothing left to see
and whoever managed
to elude the first sweep
can likely be found
sleepwalking the streets
in make-believe bangladesh




january two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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