jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

strategizing using alcohol


what do you want
and I’ll make it for you
an oatmeal cookie
a washington apple
an irish pipe bomb
whatever it is
I’m sure I can make it

even if I’m not familiar
with the vernacular
I’ll google it & improvise
variate old recipes
guaranteed to blow your mind
not to mention opening
possibilities
of retaking previously
conceded territories





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

first date


it’s surreal she said
and she wouldn’t move on
she just stayed there
mesmerized at the black
& red oval (maybe triangular) thing
that may or may not have been
a ladybug

it’s a ladybug I say
let’s move on

the hell she says
a ladybug
are you fucking serious
—okay I’ll catch up with you later





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

way too soon


anything is possible
how many times have you heard this
much like
the sky’s the limit
but that doesn’t make sense
this day & age
just go ask any child
who may effortlessly tell you
the sky’s only the beginning
especially if you’ve happened
to be gunned down way too young





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I dreamed there was no war


“People don’t run out of dreams ~ people just run out of time.”
— Glenn Frey

how to put into words
that which is only sound
a sparrow’s cry for instance
coming from deep within
inner city tower taken down

oh I was far from awake
embattled & chasing
that which should be touched
but for whatever reason
cannot be reached

an open field
fill if how you will
poppies & tulips
lilies & roses
infinite colors complementing
violin voices singing above violas

early morning & not a cloud
in the sky
red breasted robin
wrestling with an earthworm





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I got money in the bank


I thought I was born again
but I was wrong
it was simply a premonition
before I was forced to move on


I remember it all too well
being rejected time after time
but then again
the mortality rate was nothing
like it is today

even those who make it
to walking & talking thoughts
often find themselves mumbling
what could they have been

so many respected positions
even more despised
the odds of vanishing
between the lines
increasing
with each diminishing day





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the protégé


michael fancies himself
a philosopher
but the problem is
he’s got no skin in the game

he’s never seen
hundreds of blooms
in anyone’s garden
let alone
inside his own fantasies

how is it he speaks
of the seasons
constantly changing
without ever realizing
what’s it’s like
having to abandon beauty

michael’s supposed
to be my protégé
an impossible relationship
if there ever was one
and already it seems
he’s already seen
twice or thrice
and possibly much more
than my own modest experience
could possibly absorb





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I’d be willing to be moving


I smuggled some smokes and folks from Mexico
baked by the sun every time I go to Mexico

                                                    —Lowell George

on the road with Linda
we left from the west side
of Lake Pontchartrain
exact town or time of day
forever stricken from the record

it was no small feat
blowing past Houston & San
Antonio
taking advantage of whatever
weed or whites or wine
we could afford at the time

it’s not the first time we
smuggled in & out of the border
the legality or legitimacy of it all
rarely reaching top of mind





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

A not so dangerous game


I wasn’t about to tell all
but I made an appointment
and promised
I would at least chit chat


She was born down the street
from Notre Dame
but never lived in France
and I remember asking myself
what does that have to do
with Saint Joseph County

She wanted to know
where I was born
but I wouldn’t tell her
didn’t want her to know
we had something in common

Next thing you know
we were playing 20 questions
and it was obvious
from the git go
who would end up winning





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the show must go on


a little snare drum roll
feet tapping & fingers snapping
waiting on the vocalist
to enter center stage

where o’where could she be
all the faceless people
keep asking themselves
where o’where is the lovely
the talented
the beautiful vocalist

their faces slowly dissolve
into a sea of green
little red triangles floating
here & there
as if having no particular
place to go

soon the band of three
becomes two
& eventually only the percussionist
survives the wreckage
he & his little snare drum shaken
but taking requests
as if becoming the focal point
of the evolutionary
underwater show





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the wooden pig


what should we build today
said the artist to the carpenter
the latter sitting silently in the rocker
sipping his tea

the morning sun seemed to move
slowly up the ladder
and the artist paced back & forth
while the carpenter continued to rock
and sip on his tea

what about a pig said the artist
we could build a pig
and paint it pink & white
put it out on display in the front lawn

I could see someone taking it
said the carpenter
stolen from the front lawn
right there in broad daylight

but we haven’t build it yet said the artist

no we have not said the carpenter
what else do you have





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

On the home team’s starting pitcher


“You’ve got to have an attitude if you’re going to go far in this game.”
                                                                                         Bob Gibson

He’s gotta keep ‘em off balance
using his head as well as his arm
mixing it up north & east
and west & south
consistently changing speeds
—letting the ball fly from various
release points
and mostly importantly
never showing them
the whites of his eyes





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a ledger of lies


the world has always been a lie
and if you don’t know that as a fact
you’re living an imaginary life

if you follow the money you’ll find the lies
whether in ukraine or tehran
cairo or athens or amsterdam
the korean peninsula or washington dc

gold is still the real deal
but printed money is another lie
fake proceeds pumped into the stock market
simply because it gets high on bloatedness
and loves to implode

the lies are in the grocery stores
in parking lots
pizza places & ballparks
car dealerships & gas stations

the lies are in the air like electricity
almost always for sale
sometimes on the open market
other times in the dark web





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

my best friend’s transformation


turns out my best friend
was a cartoon character all along
and it was only recently
he decided
to let everyone in on the revelation


having not seen him for decades
(except occasionally on television)
it was hard at first to accept

but the longer I processed
the information
the more believable it became

I decided to give him a call
to let it be known the last time we
got together
was nineteen seventy-nine
asking what are the odds
we’d ever get together again

it was a rhetorical question
but he answered it anyway
in a comical sort of way
that was impossible
for me to comprehend





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

and for the last three he stays


it’s not like I’ve been here before
staring death in the face
recollecting what it was like the last time
and how effortless it seemed
to move onto the next phase

they say over time
life is supposed to get easier
but that is far from the truth
just ask any old cat
rising from the ashes for the seventh
or eighth time

and now here I stand before you
challenging the status quo
asking how in the world can I be
the same man you once knew
even before you were born





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

concussion


one minute you are wide awake
the next nothing exists
a time lapse that could have lasted
a lifetime & a half
filled with dreams you were dying to fill
crushed into a nondescript paradigm
designed by your own doing
surrounded by those who love you
calling your name
time & time & time again
until finally there you are again
your old self turned into something
ever slightly different
never knowing what truly happened





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

distractions in my peripheral


I see something scurry by on the rug
not too far from my bare feet
a spider or centipede or such
but when I look up & lower my
reading glasses
there is nothing there

I go back to the chromebook screen
tapping on the keyboard with
great abandonment
and it happens again
a little shadow in my peripheral
racing across the floor
I pause & remove my readers
but there is nothing there
save colorful shapes
in the paisley patterned rug

I return to my poem in progress
which has now become
a complete distraction
spiders & centipedes & imaginary dragonflies
taking over the center of my attention





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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