jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

working through the off-season


she stitched and sewed all winter long
meticulously
almost feverishly
covering cork and rubber and yarn with
whatever kind of hide she could find
having promised her boys of summer
the only way they would not play
would be due to the most severe
inclement weather



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

The hanging bridge


It was carnival season and the town
gradually transformed itself
becoming grotesque and queer
and emotionally exhausting

Determined to move forward
Billy and me walk hand in hand
he nursing along a quart of malt liquor
and me drawing on Virginia Slims

By the time we reached the bridge
they had just finished
reenacting a past less distant than
most locals care to admit

Uncertain how I could possibly hold
back the tears
I tell Billy what they did to my people
is unforgettable
unforgivable

Without saying a word
he squeezes my hand tighter
draws me nearer as the
Chickasawhay River shamelessly
snakes by directly below our feet



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

inner sanctuary


it’s impossible to hear the spoken word
when the rains fall so hard
killing the song
making good intentions just plain wrong

these eyes find light in the strangest places
sitting alone in the dark room
conversing within
making up stories without lies or deceit

walking in broken shoes on crushed stone
I listen for the least sound
signals from the sun
still images of havens inside the wasteland



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

dinner for four


the dogs were in the kitchen
sniffing the tile and looking away
whenever I glanced back
over my left shoulder

they knew better
but nonetheless tested the limits
of their sensory curiosity

opening the lid to the beef tips
I picked up the wooden spoon and
growled something incoherently

they immediately receded
to their respective corners
giving way to the grey tiger
crouching in the shadows



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the beautiful and the silent


she arrived unannounced
redirected from an unknown god
breaching the exosphere without a sound

though coming to life by starlight
she disguised herself as human
finding solace within her own garden

as time passed the ground flourished
showcasing colors never before seen
reshaping the landscape of a parallel world



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sixty minutes


I turn on the television and catch
this eighty-something say how “they”
saved millions of lives by having
people cease smoking

(of course I assumed he was
talking about cigarettes)

he was quite proud of himself
going on to say how good he feels
when looking in the mirror

of course I took what he had
to say out of context
(and nearly contemptuously)
certain that jesus would have
handled himself entirely differently



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

How they arrived with clarity and force


Lightning strikes on Miller’s farm
and days later
everything is gone

Are you sure it was natural
everyone seemed to ask
or could it have been an arrow
directed by an angry god

Local preachers try to explain
to congregations of none
exactly what didn’t happen

Meanwhile earth moving machines
continually roll in from far away places



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

by the time spring arrived reality set in


the king’s inner circle sent away men on horseback
to sow the seeds of forgiveness

it was the first of its kind and unbiased officials say
they are planting courageous ideas

before winter set in the horsemen sought comfort
slightly below the earth’s surface
solving religious conflict through peaceful uprisings



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in search of that which may not exist


there were cheers everywhere
and for a brief moment
I thought it had something to do with me

but then I quickly realized
I hadn’t done anything special
and I was no different than the next guy
down the aisle

as the stadium emptied I
stayed in my seat
imagining myself in the spotlight
and how that must feel

while the lights were powering down
they quietly escorted me
down the concourse
and out onto the street

never looking back I became attracted
to the nearest neon light
subconsciously convincing myself
I might find stardom
somewhere down the line



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

i am the truth and you are the light


the forwardness of the day
and the unpredictability of the night
carries on in perpetual motion
like a universe continually unfolding
sparking the purest electricity
out of the tiniest of matter



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the tempest and the temptress


they torched the bridge again
in broad daylight
and everyone had a general
idea who did it
though nobody was talking

at the press conference the sheriff
flashed unfocused photos of
trolls with beards and billy goats
sporting handlebar mustaches

later in the evening
the moon appeared
like a spotlight on the city square
exposing shadows
creeping alongside buildings

pretending this can’t happen near you
you ignore all the warnings
chasing the tail of the storm
luring you back to london town



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Jesus in Memphis


I’ve been dreaming about Elvis again
I tell her (even though it’s not true)

Of course she says nothing
expecting me to go on

He may have been under the weather
I go on to say
but he certainly wasn’t on his deathbed

Two hours after the last curtain call
he was seen incognito
smoking cigarillos on Beale Street

You mean Elvis
she says

No I don’t mean Elvis
Jesus Christ
why aren’t you listening



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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