jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

the wick effect


cleaning out the garage
on a hot summer’s day
dealing with near empty bags
of charcoal & oily rags
gasoline cans & a bale of hay
nearly out of sight & mind

breathe in & breathe out
it’s what you do all afternoon
deciding on what gets pitched
& what gets rearranged
all the while contemplating
that first cigarette break




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

starting from scratch


the future was here the day I was born
been working at it ever since
just to keep in step

it doesn’t matter what part of the world
you find yourself
explosions may one day come out of
(the proverbial) nowhere

and suddenly you find yourself
back at the beginning
unable to explain to yourself
(or to anyone who may be listening)
how one major blast
can easily wipe out
multiple decades past




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fueling the fire of creation


we carved him out of an old cedar
all that remained that is
all eight feet tall of him

we kept his arms by his sides
& his chin slightly lifted
his abandoned eyes looking westward
forever waiting for the seven o’clock sun

as we worked together diligently
using chainsaws & assorted knives
the children scrambled feverishly
around his root-like feet
crafting creatures out of clay

after nightfall the squirrels & sparrows
rabbits & foxes & owls & porcupines
[just to name a few]
burned inside the oven of creation
the cedar stretching ever taller
toward a night sky that has no end




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Midnight in Rome


It’s midnight in Rome
& nobody knows
what year it is

Writing by candlelight
has become popular of late
encrypted messages
sent all these centuries
the undeliverables
circulating in the periphery

It’s midnight in Rome
& a little girl is fast asleep
safely in her second story bedroom
her projected outer self
sitting at the window
receiving & translating
writing feverishly
by candlelight




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

home on a sunday


it’s six-thirty local time
& I’ve exhausted
all my free passes
having encircled the globe
these past forty-eight hours
arriving back home
unceremoniously
& empty-handed

exactly what I was expecting
I can’t begin to say
but this time I had a feeling
something would be different
like happening upon
a door or a window
only I would be able to open

but no such egress
was in the offing
& now I’m back to the only reality
that I’ve ever known
planning on accumulating points
for more free passes
thinking next time
things will end differently




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Losing a whole year


I’ve seen this before
it’s what some call a repeat
déjà vu if you will
like a herd of elephants
lumbering across the sky

I’ve seen this before
magically recasted to the TV
runners on second & third
the next three batters
striking out looking

I’ve seen this before
rain falling like stars
washing out the elephants
and delaying the game
probably until next year




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fifty yard dash


red-winged blackbird
what could you possibly
want from defenseless me
& more importantly
what could I ever
possibly want from you

you protect your turf
like a madman with a gun
but believe me I want nothing
you have to offer
not from you or your beautifully
invisible family

as I press my pedals faster
through your 50-yard universe
I wonder how exhausting
your days must be
& how deeply in love you are
with what is rightfully yours




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

extraordinary phenomena


there are faces on the mountains
put there by an alien race
long before the enlightenment
when men thought they were gods
and decided for themselves
who shall live & who shall die

the mountains are so much more
than a moveable force
and like all earthly things
will rise & fall & rise again
whether by natural phenomena
or extraordinary revolutions




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on the art of apologizing


somebody has to be right
that’s just the way it is
though the fact of the matter remains
most times it’s impossible
to determine who exactly

either the entire world owes me
an apology (formal or informal
it matters not]
or I’ve a lot of explaining to do
to so many of you

even when I admit a wrong & apologize
I’m reminded actions are more
meaningful than words
leaving me walking away
and muttering something
that may or may not be intelligible




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

rapid eye movement


hummingbirds come & go
I tell myself the sugar water
must still be good

imitating by way of blinking
I stay paralyzed in my chair
unable to replenish the nectar
even if I wanted to

I see them in the corner of my eye
and they in mine
neither of us questioning
how much more of the world
there is left to see




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on how to read


what have you been reading
is it something pleasurable
or purely informational

at what point does it become
the pursuit of understanding
like forgetting who you are

shifting gears by highlighting
underlining & circling
repeating & repeating after yourself

but what about the birds [you say]
& their relation to the earthworm
the latter’s connection to the soil

why are they just as intriguing
as say mountains & pyramids
flights beyond the gravitational pull

when listening supersedes reading
words tend to reinvent themselves
shaped differently than the last time




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

angel in the choir


my inner voice has taken
an unexpected leave of absence
forcing me to think for myself
for an indeterminable amount of time

perhaps she has taken wing
joining the fight to end inequality
whether right here at home
or half a world away

desperately alone without her
I pray without asking a single thing
cunningly convincing myself
she is finally being heard




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

good riddance


isolate and medicate
seems to be the order of the day



did you see what she said
telling him outright
he’s no longer wanted here
not after what he’s done

and so he put his tail
back where it probably belongs
keeping his tongue in cheek
and hitting the pavement
without any plan of action

it’s hard to say who he may
infect in the days that follow

second chances don’t always
keep presenting themselves
this much she knows
thankful that tomorrow
can rain as much as it wants




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

holding red flowers in my hands


memorial day is like forever
and a day ago
flipping through pages
and talking to myself
thinking about taking a drive
out in the country like we used to do
stopping for a slice of pizza
and pint of beer where
highways 1 & 66 intersect

you were always ready to go
whether rain or shine
even on the worst of days
you would say ‘let’s saddle up’
and off we went as if
both of us temporarily hadn’t
a care in the world
fm radio pumping out old rock
your voice forever in my ear




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

with runners in scoring position


all the seats are empty
but that’s not stopping the runners
on first
& second
from stretching their lead

the pitcher steps off the rubber
and everyone
relaxes

somebody’s yelling ‘cold beer here’
but more than likely
it’s just piped-in recording
from last september

everyone seems to be more focused
than usual
as if some sort of fever has taken
its toll over the game
and each & every at bat
has more meaning
than any year in recent memory




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the butterfly effect


some places are easier to revisit than others
especially difficult are those borderline vagaries
not easily accessible from your memory bank

I’ve been told don’t overspend on a time machine
especially when the one you already possess
is perfectly capable of reaching a higher level

not everyone is interested in propelling forward
or tumbling centuries backwards
slightly redoing this or tinkering with that
gradually stitching your wings until repaired
certain to change the course of history




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: