jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

the invasion of invisible aliens


standing at the corner of 1st & 3rd
waiting for the light to turn green
fingers tumble down pockets
only to resurface empty-handed

unnoticed by the masses
newly born immigrants jaywalk
these inner city streets
crossing four lanes once occupied
by gas-powered vehicles

I’m told they’re everywhere
but mostly inside your head
emptying out your pockets like
some sort of arcane video game

I used to walk the streets at night
but it became too bright
making me feel like a second class citizen
like a moving target dodging
in and out of alleyways



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the alpha wizard


was it the wire or the tree
or wayward balloons
bursting the ceiling
allowing meteoric pulses to
enter the atmosphere
uninterrupted

was it the whiskey
or the rye
that sparked something
out of nothing
like lightning in the sky

throwback man
walks around half-naked
carrying torch by daylight
poking sticks at stars by night

extending arms high above his head
he spreads his fingers wide
electrically connecting dots
whether seen or unseen
from the nondescript beginning
to an imaginary end



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

apache helicopter down


the helicopter crashed on the side
of a hill on a sheep farm

the sheepdog was the first to arrive
followed by the sheep themselves
and finally the shepherd

the dog sniffed all the way around
the main part of the mangled mess
marking it here and there for good measure

most of the sheep vied for position
for a look-see in the cockpit
but it was vacant

“they must have jumped out before
it crashed” the shepherd murmured
under his raspy breath

there they stood on the hill
the shepherd scratching his head
and the sheepdog licking his balls
the sheep themselves looking
down at the village where the
peaceful inhabitants once lived



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

crossing nontransferable territory


you could hear bad moon rising
coming from the other room
the music somewhat muffled
fogerty’s voice unmistakable

stepping outside
it was pretty much the same
excluding the music and that
unmistakable voice
transitioning into inner nonsense

at the next stop
glass tri-fold doors open
exposing old men sitting on
metal benches
stitching together wounds
inflicted half a world away

speakers on light poles
suddenly become charged
casting shadows and
sounding alarms disguised
as folk rock from the sixties

trading wheels for wings
up up and away you go
defeating gravity and
orbiting unfamiliar rhythms
bursting above the clouds



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the sound of daybreak


I don’t know you
I swear I don’t
and if anyone asks me
that’s what I’m going to say

coming of age
arrived with grave discipline
void of emotional reasoning
and resisting to speak
for fear the scabs in our throats
may heal

I wasn’t asked to the dance
but away I danced
well past midnight
my partner the waning moon
leaning me over the stream

sometimes I forget
you are still here
even though you’ve been gone
forever
and whenever I carelessly tell
others I don’t know you
I am labeled a liar
and publicly shunned



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it’s gonna snow sometime soon


it’s early february
but the calendar has yet to turn

there’s no snow on the ground
but it’s cold as hell
people dressed for spring and shivering
whiskey beginning to wear off
hands shaking for another shot

the sun never shined in january
it was a record year

without the sun I can’t dream (she used to say)

I get up earlier and earlier every day
thinking I might catch the sun somehow

but you live in the valley (she says)

oh yes I keep forgetting

there’s no whiskey in the cupboard
it disappeared that wintry night
they took away my baby

when’s it going to snow again (she says)



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

15 Rosedale Lane


Billy’s in the kitchen
washing radish leaves
singing cry baby cry

In the next room
twin girls take turns peering
out the window and
banging on the spinet

Upstairs two TVs repeat
black & white silents
the shower in the master bath
steaming the mirrored walls

Billy’s since moved on
going back underground
sporting a red miner’s hat
and carrying a flashlight



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

forgotten fragments inside virtual minefields


do you even know anymore
exactly who you are
or do parts of you disappear
or change into something else
entirely
day after day after day

there was a time
when life wasn’t too complicated
but those days are long gone
and you are left wondering
who is pushing what buttons
and when for god’s sake is it going
to be your turn

people arrive and move on in your life
like clockwork
sometimes they reappear years later
and you are left wondering
what that is all about
and just like clockwork
those in power change hands
and the wars already in motion
suddenly change course
while others begin out of nothing

and if you stick around long enough
you will see friends become enemies
only to become friends again

but wars don’t seem to bother you
but obviously they bother those
thrown in the crossfire
destined to feel the pain you can
no longer feel
sitting somewhere in the dark
motionless
pondering mundane questions
about your mundane life
about those little pieces
that used to belong to you
but have disappeared
or changed into something else
entirely



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

(forty-five seconds ‘til sunset)


there were birthday bashes
and wedding plans
happy anniversaries
and simple cocktail parties

(released from the atmosphere
sounds of near sonic speeds
accelerate)

there were candles burning
and balloons suspended on the ceiling
teenagers smoking secretly
and babies stirring in bassinets

(precise targets become isolated and
confirmed via encrypted
airwaves)

children in paper hats chase tails
and girls in summer dresses walk on by
there were flowers abloom in the garden
and water fountains making rainbows

(suddenly a fiery crash
turned into an expanding billowy shroud
erasing all of reality in specific vicinities
instantly)



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

letting sleeping dogs lie


sleeping dogs twitch and simmer
growling in their dreams
guarding gates leading to salvation

this promised land no longer
glows with hope
its torch once a welcoming beacon
burns violently
out of control winds
swirling in a harbor of hate

sleeping dogs shake violently
unleashing chokeholds
exposing incisors and canines
keeping freedoms at bay
promising to tear into the fabric
of a once selfless nation

sleeping dogs twitch and simmer
growling in their dreams
guarding gates leading to salvation



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

reminiscing


it’s not too late
this night of the living
awaken and sing
your lonely songs

trees like old men
bent over and supported
by crooked canes
look they say
they are just like me
we are one in the same

there is comfort knowing
we may have been down
this road before
hand in hand like
old lovers reunited
recaptured by the light

day turns into night
the songs begin again
sung by nightingales
aspiring to be angels



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

feeding time in the stable


the horses are mind readers and can sense
your footfalls hitting concrete steps
from over fifty yards away

though they’ve been fed they’ll need
another meal somewhere down the line
in between new hired hand
hauling empty pails
up thirty-three steps seven times a day

the trails are sloppy from the january thaw
but the horses are quite content
staying put for the foreseeable future
and reminiscing about longer days
about a scoop of grain and two flakes of hay



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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