jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

no one sings like you anymore


how many songs will carry me
how many verses and choruses
how many lyrics memorized
oh it’s an impossible count

like the flute to the cobra
or feline to violin
musical relationships exist
in a strictly personal sense

beyond the mystic
already lighter than a feather
basking in a surreal sun
finally oh finally I find your voice




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

orchestrated violence in the night sky


sixty minutes and counting
where did everyone go
they must not realize
the fun is just beginning

it may be true some things
we stopped talking about
but that doesn’t mean
we can’t continue to celebrate
what little wins we have left

thirty minutes and counting
lost souls beginning to wonder
should they come back to earth
and try this all over again

why do we shelter our children
when we know most of them
eventually become adults
more than capable of deciding
what’s in their best interest

tee minus ten as they say
time to decide once and for all
do we blast off enthusiastically
or remain forever grounded




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

how long this time


there’s nothing complicated about it she says
but I disagree without saying a word
stuffing whatever personal belongings
I can find into my weatherworn backpack

a lone violin begins playing on the radio
and suddenly I am transported to another day

she continues to talk above the music
most likely of money and promises and roses
but all I can hear is the violin lifting my spirits

she rises off of the bed and reaches for the radio
asking how long I’ll be gone this time
knowing full well the answer is probably forever




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

an exception to the rule


expectations come and go
reminding me of a recurring reverie
forever leaving the city lights
swinging from tree to tree

search lights work all night long
penetrating the tallest redwoods
hoping to spot a single freckle
darting from bough to bough

natural light outshining
the darkness from within
dual realities secretly merging
thriving from dream to dream




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

purloined hearts and assassinations


I keep counting on my fingers
like I’m five years old
solving one equation after the next
as if it’s nothing but a thing

I’ve quietly learned to separate
distance from time
without having to use my fingers
or any other cognitive skills

I once fell in love with an assassin
with a selfless attitude
and the quickest seven fingers
(I’ve ever seen)
this side of the mississippi

oh lord how she stole my beating heart




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

special delivery


unused wishes
and patches of blue
peek through wintry skies

floor lamp on low dim
exposing raindrops
suspended on frozen glass

solitary thoughts
packed heavily like snow
grow weary day by day

cursive writing
beautiful postcard scene
airmail stamp and brevity




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

whispering


I felt hungry and weak
having fallen asleep
for forty-five moons
never once was I asked
my name
long after awakening

this place is not like
the last
and I imagine so
for good reason
the world as I know it
changing before my eyes




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

younger than I really am


there is art in the air
you can see it
smell it
feel it
you can breathe it in
and exhale with a complete
sense of satisfaction

there is a sense of security
that art brings
to the table
whether seen or heard
or simply vibrating
through the atmosphere
like a hundred billion molecules

play me a song with your fingers
painting surreal pictures
inside my head
making me younger
than I really am
and giving me the courage
to start all over again




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

days after the riot


I am not who you think I am
freely walking these city streets
eyes looking forward
unafraid to be noticed as some
outsider instigator
as one who should have been arrested
with all the other hooligans
from the other night

I tell you I don’t know any of them
and despite
your inherent prejudice
I remain remarkably comfortable
in my own skin




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it filters through


some birds are back but the temps
are well below zero
either they never got the memo
or they’ve come back early
for some unknown reason

I slowed down for a murder of crows
while taking the long way home
a hundred or so
cleaning up a spill of sorts near
the corn sweetener plant
once in my rearview
anxiously getting back at it

shifting gears past the hill
the music meets the sun
and the speeding locomotive
sounding off along the river
eagles circling high above
sparrows racing in my peripheral
nearly anything with wings
busily chasing dreams




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Expecting Jane’s Return


She once told me no more lies
but that was a half-life ago
I’ve since forgotten
the illogic circumstance
leading to such a proclamation

Smoke and mirrors always adored her
changing little lies into white lines
appearing and disappearing just like that
leaving me with hands in pockets
stuck again paying the rent

Jane always left for no good reason
out looking for something
she’s yet been able to define
block party still a go a week from today
everyone expecting to see her there




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved




Kudos to ‘Jane Says’ by Jane’s Addiction which I’d heard on the radio
on the drive home the night I wrote this poem.

Bravo!


I’ll have no part of this tragedy
handed down from one
actor to the next
lead role playing out vicariously
some saying posthumously

They keep prognosticating
that the winds are directionless
but anyone with a set of eyes
can tell they come and go
mostly from stage right
it’s a wonder everyone’s
not banging into one another

Each year the party seems to be
getting smaller and smaller
before you know it
it’ll be a one-man show
and then I’ll have no excuse
but to rise and clap above my head




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

there’s something in the air


what are we waiting for
to set the record straight
and make a concerted effort
to do what’s right

how can we not see
past our own imperfections
glaringly present
well before the common era
remarkably similar to today

we tell our children to live and learn
but fail to put them to the test
instead we invent new ways
to take control of everything imaginable
by whatever means necessary
and at any cost




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the way back


I imagine it’s simpler than it seems
especially if you don’t have to
think about it for too long

it’s not the first I’ve tried
to make it all the way back
each time punctuated by chance

oh no not this time I would exclaim
hanging out along the shoreline
casting out a couple lines

who in the world would be
calling at this hour I’m inclined to say
suddenly wondering who if anyone
will remember that




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

burning out brightly


you can feel it
it’s called momentum
and it seems to be feeding off of you

every so often I find myself
learning something new
like casus belli or two half hitches
and suddenly I feel your momentum
beginning to build all over again
like a locomotive
barreling through the night sky
its single beam headlamp
like a supermoon cutting through clouds
neither near nor far all at the same time

it’s past midnight
and the stillness of the air awakens me
not the lonely cry of the wild
not the single lamppost burning




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the new normal


it’s impossible to tell
that which ails me
you see I’ve been like this
for so long
I’m finally believing
there’s nothing wrong with me

there’s not a chance
this stays between you and me
and even if does
it doesn’t change a thing
we’ll always wonder
what it’s like to be normal




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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