jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

New daydreams and old doodlings


In the darkroom I develop images buried
somewhere in the second grade

Missus Munster was into rhymes and repetition
and her students were good at following instructions

I particularly enjoyed an occasional spelling bee
clearly recall how one time
one of the girls couldn’t answer
instead simply cried as she peed down her leg

Funny thing is I don’t remember anybody laughing
only Missus Munster whisking her off her feet
and straight out the door

I just sit there with my number two pencil and paper
remaking the scene into a black & white photograph



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sunday afternoon


at what point will people tire of weekend sport events
wars in afghanistan and two for tuesday tacos

all these meaningless fights on the hill run
second fiddle to just about any dog and pony show

during my haircut the cosmetologist kept talking
about tax cuts and sexual harassment
and for a moment I thought I was participating
in some sort of candid camera episode

I’m going ice skating I say matter-of-factly after her rant
that is as soon as I get the hell out of this place



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

want ads and horoscopes


give me your palm she said
I want to read your lifeline

it hasn’t changed I said
it’s exactly the same as it was
12 new moons ago

I give her my left hand
and she is quick to remind me
there are tidal waves forming

there are always tidal waves
forming I try to explain
but I am abruptly shushed
softly asking to be trusted

I close my eyes and voluntarily
give her my other hand



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

to hell and back


everything enters and exits at its
own pace
like a whistle or
pool in a stream

sometimes people don’t notice
how complicated things have become
and recognizing their own presence
becomes a challenge

here take this it will calm your nerves
allow yourself to disappear into
alternative hours without constraints

put the pedal to the imaginary metal
and carve yourself new roads for
future generations to course through

there are these holes everywhere
holes in shirts and pants and bad advice
but you manage to dance around them
like a perfect farewell waltz

everything enters and exits at its
own pace
like a friendship or
speeding silver bullet



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as if I had been there


I was in the back seat of my father’s
big black lincoln continental
tooling down elm street

it must have been autumn because
I remember it being early evening
and it was completely dark outside
the car filled with a number of us
heading for an hour of CCD

I was feeling melancholy
but lucky to have a window seat
driving past dark house after dark house
doing at least thirty-five

and then I spot a boy laughing
his smile lighting up
corner kitchen window

seated tall at the table
his face lit up with joyous wonderment
while two adults lean toward his energy
smiling and laughing with him

and for the briefest of moments
I too was feeling happy



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on thursday afternoon


the old table sits twelve with all the leaves in place
but we couldn’t find them all

we were only expecting eight or ten anyway
but by the time halftime arrived there were a couple
dozen mingling about the old farmhouse

when the beer and soda began to run low
we passed the hat and sent the twins into town

meanwhile all the men were kicked out of the kitchen
and a number of them went out back to start a fire

it was a cold but bright sunny day
and I heard some of the littles ones say
how wonderful it would be
if only it would snow on thanksgiving



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it’s all right if I don’t answer this one


someone’s rapping on the door
and all I can think of is why oh why
aren’t they ringing the bell

I run out back and around
the side of the garage
peering toward the front door

lo and behold it’s big bird
holding thirteen helium filled balloons
red and black and white and of course yellow
blue furred cookie monster by his side
somewhat annoyed yet content
munching on a box of thin mints

I must be out of my mind I say
shaking my head
retreating back to where I once was
repeating to myself how death
never arrives as imagined



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

next train arrives on tuesday


it got dark all of a sudden
and I’m not talking due to any
daylight savings time

I’ve been saving all my life
and look where it’s got me

but of course nobody expected
me to go anywhere
at least not to frankfurt or athens
or modern day memphis

I’ve done hitched a
ride on many a train
but I’m not about to hop on one
engineered by any fool on the hill



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

restless on park avenue


I used to walk through the park
but now all I do is sit on benches
and watch the world go by

the people in this town
are travelers from another world
dressed in heavy clothing
throughout the four seasons
undoubtedly covering their
tattooed alligator skin

on fridays the food trucks
line both avenues on either
side of city square park

I sit on my favorite bench
unmoving and
counting down the minutes
before they pack up their profits
and shove off

things slowly return to normal
and I am content watching
everything inching away from me



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Templeton Rye


It was whiskey Friday
and though possessing neither
we toasted to fortune and fame

Bowie streams through building speakers
giving pause to everyone inside
taking notice of day and time

Just when you thought
forty hours was more than enough
whiskey Friday arrives unannounced
breathing new life into free-flowing ideas
young and old alike



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as sure as the sun rises


I scramble without success
to find triple A batteries to feed the
remote control sitting idly in the parlor

it’s painful to see inoperable mice
spotted here and there throughout the place
paralyzed from lack of sunlight

how am I supposed to wake up
without the assistance of automation
I may as well sleep until the midday whistle
blows loudly down at the railyard

even the engineers are not human
nor passengers riding coach
        not the priest reading scripture
from the ambo
or flower girl tossing red and white
petals while frolicking down the aisle
      not the taxicab driver
or truckers commandeering 28 wheels
    neither the mailman
nor scores of pretty milkmaids

I keep reading how one day the robot
uprising will soon be upon us
but to tell you the truth
I’m not so sure it’s already here



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when all we have is candlelight


these usual twists and turns
are nothing but sunshine
coming and going as she pleases
celebrating your finest achievements
exposing your greatest fears

exactly how she arrived here
is nobody’s business
but she’s not about to go anywhere
which is more than most of us can say
on any sunny morning

it’s hard to tell what time it is
on a cloudy afternoon
sunshine merely a recent memory
dancing inside elusive daydreams
luring you way past midnight



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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