jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

even memories can trick the brain


listen do you remember
the way it filled the room
an aroma you wished
would one day return

in court I’m appearing
as star witness most days
honestly saying I’m a master
at misremembering

go ahead and ask your
silly questions
it’s true I once was in love

judge unequivocally asks
is that your final answer
ordering the stenographer
to repeat the soup du jour

in the end it becomes subject
to alien interpretations
the smoke from the gun in the room
the cigar of the inspector





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

february eve


one twelfth of the year
seemingly gone in a heartbeat
frozen in time
in the northern hemisphere
literally & figuratively

good news on the horizon
or so I would like to think—
a cloudy groundhog morning
a bright red valentine’s day
a national holiday soon to arrive
one of these mondays

but what of the prior
thirty-one days
locked inside a capsule nobody
wants to open
tossed without much thought
perhaps into the sea
like a message in a bottle
or buried beneath the sand
twenty-eight paces from an oasis
like some half-hearted promise





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

cowboy poem


this sickness seem to be all
inside me now
I’m thinking it’s not wise
to keep looking back
you say there’s nothing
wrong with me
but we both know
I’m dying

this time there’s no letting go
and I’m left
looking inside
telling myself there’s no one
who can save me now
so just go ahead
and pull the trigger
free me from myself

the lights keep changing
but in fact
they’re all the same
I can’t seem to distinguish
red from yellow to green
the horsepower is gone
barely idling in neutral
all else racing by





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on higher ground


the human condition
beautiful & self destructive
depending upon
what stage
you find yourself on

inside the shadows
perspectives change
for good or bad
it matters not
pulling you effortlessly
to the unimaginable

becoming invisible
is nothing new
especially for the creatives
striving to elevate
to a higher level





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

speaking on behalf of


there are always questions
and not enough prophets to push us
in slightly different directions
it’s the way it goes I suppose
a common phrase
complementing so many
circumstances

the only church downtown
morphed into a 24/7 shelter
hosting mic night
every sunday at noon
attracting seers of all sorts
propagating their doomsday
scenarios





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

bottles of oxygen in the wine cellar


they come to the door
and ring the bell
they are the uninvited ones

I sit in the corner chair
off-white insulated curtains drawn
the bulb of the table lamp
barely buzzing

the brightless ones move on
but I suspect
they’ll return again
more capable of interaction
the next time around

turning off the light
I nod off in near silence
a dimly lit moon rising
whispering something sweet
into my ear
promising to awaken me
as always





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the tree children


moon swaying over tidal waves
a dream inside a dream
trees planted in the sand
stretching for the clouds
children of the forest climbing
until they’re no longer seen

man-made machines pounding
on the ocean floor
shaking loose the tree children
sending them falling & tumbling
plunging into the ocean
evolving into something new





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

supernatural disaster


in the forest
and in & around the mountains
a mess of things has disturbed
what was once a vibrant silence
turning a beleaguered rumbling
into a metonymy of fatal casualties
delivered by way of an invisible hand
—the natural order of things
adapting radically
capable of taking out thousands
in one fell swoop





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

[inside] my wooden heart


my wooden heart
what color shall I paint it today
do I feel blue or green or tangerine
anything but blood red
I should think

perhaps today I’ll pull the nails
from my wooden heart
saw the slats & repurpose them
into a bench or table
or a simple decoration
to hang on the wall

perhaps it’s an apple
inside someone’s eye
or a starfish elevating
above the dirty blonde sand
—this very day
casting its faint light
inside my wooden heart





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

backward progression


I am a stone
skipping across the pond
flung by a boy
practicing his craft

I am a boomerang
aerodynamic & deadly
expertly thrown
by ancient hunters

I am a missile
launched into space
heat seeking its target
with total abandon





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

twenty-one hundred


the water is pretty toxic here
but the children
seem to have adapted

the ones with years of knowledge
are not faring so well
their numbers dwindling
by the day

the crops should be better
next year
thanks to all the dying

without question
the mountains are shrinking
the price of gold
going higher & higher





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

painted elephant


throw paint at the wall
to get a clearer picture
of what’s in the room
—having dried overnight
return & peel back the colors

the painted elephant
is like a shameless chameleon
a reminder you might not
arrive at any conclusions
the first time around





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

leave of absence


I started a poem last night
but I abandoned it
having not slept for days

afterwards I recalled
how I had died
—in the afterlife it was as if
nothing had changed

today nobody seems to know
why I’m still here
I tell them
this is where I work
& they quietly resume
their own activities





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

moving target


coming to terms with oneself
now that’s a good one
a joke perhaps
the very concept flawed
to the nines
—shouting out loud
there’s everything to see here

in retrospection
the self is more than many
like an array of mirrors
[an indefinable number of them]
variations of yourself
in every single one

once you get to know them
now that’s another doozy
can you imagine
even knowing yourself
the latest in search of
a pacific island
that may or may not exist





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

like wild horses


empty pistachio shell
I collect them inside
a glass bowl
its uniqueness
commingling with all the others
like a beautiful horse
inside a stampede

ocean waves inside a shell
how easier could it possibly be
taking in an out-of-body
experience
—come
take a listen
we can drown together

with a little imagination
the shell is but a ship
powered by wayward souls
once racing frightfully
now advancing with purpose
& direction
in perpetuity





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the subordinates


tonight we pause & give thought
to the morning light
having just traversed various points
of the universe
in a matter of mere minutes

at times there is strangeness
in ubiquity
skipping from one reality
to the next
only to find ourselves questioning
familiarity

there is a door in our peripheral
wooden or metal or glass
it matters not
and for the time being
we sit in silence
waiting for our marching orders





january two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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