jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

In Oklahoma not Arizona


            — for David W Lodge

Dave’s hot dog stand
the only thing
standing
between progress
& a Five Star Hotel
selling only the finest grub
in downtown Tucson





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

I wonder about her


on an early sunday morning
at a nightclub downtown
two are dead & ten wounded

the police chief proclaims
it’s a peaceful city

but this is the twenty-first century
& anything is possible

the flattening of architecture
            the eradication of human groups
the barbarity         of technology
      the weaponization of
                                                outer space
hours later
church bells ring loud in all
the downtown churches
huge doors opening & shutting
the fat lady singing from the balcony

yellow tape & chalk outlines
I look & listen for some sort of sign
and wonder about her





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

addicted to the madness


shots fired in the tourist district
a stampede in the streets
just past midnight

the eyes of children fearless & furious
peer through casement windows

though brighter than the morning light
they dare not stare too long
lest they go blind

sirens & flashing lights & gunshots
feet running & cars screaming

confusion reigns & becomes supreme
bodies pretend to sleep
just past midnight

the eyes of children fearless & furious
regaining count of all the sheep

refuge & solace sought after
who will offer comfort
in this chaos

as if thrown into a make-believe mob
they act without instruction

moonshine barely noticeable
spotting bullet casings
just past midnight

the eyes of children fearless & furious
rewinding & replaying





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

all of the lonely people


all the beautiful people
stealing what they may
from all of the lonely people
the ones passing you by
like ghosts in the night
listening & maybe chatting
giving & taking without
a single body
ever
knowing





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

Resistance


Whatever it was it’s broken
tossed out for all to see
like a rusted out tractor
pushed to the treeline
a photo opportunity for any
passerby with a camera

Take a good look for yourself
nothing works here anymore
screws loose or cards lost
piggy bank shattered to pieces
the water out of the tap
nothing but an unsteady drip

Inside this sprawling city
buildings implode
with the flash of the light
minute by minute & block by block
the beaten & broken
keep coming back to life





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

it’s sunday night & I don’t know what to say


in the kitchen I keep a jar filled with words
but for the past few days it’s been empty
and I can’t seem to do the math
to have it refilled again

though he’s not been seen for days
I’ve been told curiosity (the cat) is alive & well
hanging out on the west side

maybe he’s the reason things are off-kilter
and if only he’d return
the world would simply right itself





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

killing in the name of


handguns are made for killing
where do you keep yours
in a false ceiling
a kitchen drawer
under the mattress
or simply holstered
in the back of your blue jeans

it’s cold outside
but then again it’s january
and nobody without a dog
can be seen out walking

but to a mile west
down at the park in the city center
crime tape & body chalk
seem to be the talk of the town
man-made lights flashing flamboyantly
the breath of the living
visibly filling the dead air





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

one hundred nineteen acres


garden cemetery inside the city
didn’t always used to be that way

nobody imagined how urban crawl
would wrap around
a canopy of over two thousand trees

brick walls & wrought iron fencing
winding pathways & architectural beauty
all subdued by pastoral plantings
drawn up over fifteen decades ago

to be inside graceland is to be
outside of the ordinary
the dead walking among the living
inventing & articulating
playing catch
watching a rehearsal
bustling among the buyers & sellers
be they tourists or curious neighbors
or permanent residents





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

when life is passing you by


delivery trucks
those ubiquitous messengers on wheels
also known as santa claus
or carrier pigeon
or marathon man
come & go but mostly go
to anyplace but your own

and there you are
in your self-imposed exile
seeking wisdom but gaining frustration
with every step van
or box truck
or pizza delivery driver
passing you by





december two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

repent & be saved


people are amassing at the river
from all quadrants of the city

blood has been shed
for far too long
& local organizers who go by the motto
‘enough is enough’
have been picking up speed of late

just when the tipping point appeared
to have been reached
ordained & lay ministers
could be found twenty-four seven
wading in the shallow waters
baptizing those who wish to repent





december two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

boots on & off the ground


so what else is new
I heard someone say
talking to nobody in particular

they were on their own
fully armed & marching lazingly
as if in a trance

local reporters ran
with their camera people
out of breath & reaching out
with their absurd microphones

of course nothing was going on here
it’s just an exercise one said
yeah we’re just exercising
others chimed in

rumor has it the boomers
are to blame for why people are dying
to live on the moon
further blurring the difference
between fact & fiction
much like how
parade routes are now advertised
as just another way out





november two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

raincoats & umbrellas at dawn


they tell me I’ve been canceled
but all I can say is hey man
what else is new

I’ve been thinking about moving
so I bought a raincoat
& stood in the shower for an hour

[upon returning it the next day
I explained how I decided
to stay put]

now all I do is walk around
with my walking stick
(aka black umbrella)
daring anyone who looks like me
to a duel to the death





november two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

so that I may speak


messing with circadian rhythms
just for the fun of it
or out of sheer boredom
a half attempt to be noticed
a shout out to the world
how nothing seems to matter

it’s as if I’m preaching third shift
& sleepwalking by day
strangers coming up to me
on crowded sidewalks
calling for autographs & saying
don’t I know you from another life

we gather at the city center
a walled garden eight blocks square
oaks & cedars providing shade
benches & flowers & fountains
adorning the pathways
growing crowd beginning to quiet





november two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

what was I supposed to do


we said goodbye in so many words
departing in different directions
me weaving through the city streets
you flickering into the night

the walls are rocky & tall
good for climbing but mainly
unpassable
inside I stay & count
the stars at night
expecting one to fall

before you left you said
I was trapped inside
but of course I didn’t believe you
the earth beneath my feet
trampled upon so many times

and you taking to the skies
who will know when you land again





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

lights out in the heartland


the grass was covered in ash
a delicate dirty white
easily blown by the wind
waving through the neighborhood
like a thin blanket slightly floating

dogs without leashes herded
themselves through the narrow street
as if instructed to follow some leader

the sirens never went off
and any kind of free or paid service
simultaneously became inoperable

whatever it was that fell from the sky
shaking the earth for maybe sixty seconds
arrived with an incomparable sound
leaving silence in its wake

or had we all become deaf





september two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

shadows dancing in the darkness


the city is in danger
but the population is not scared


going about their business
before the lights go out

there is a vision shared by
some local mystics

brought to the center of
attention by way of

the prior administration
somehow stuck in the airwaves

the micro & the radio waves
the healing waves of the pacific

aligning mysterious thoughts
with those of the newest moon





september two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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