jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

these towns all look the same


maybe you should go there
and stop complaining about
taxes and megaphoning
death to your leader

I’ve seen more out-of-town
and out-of-state license plates
than I care to report

we are just this one small dot
connected to no other single point
on this godforsaken landscape

my lord tells me something bad
is about to happen again tonight

there is no reason not to believe her



june two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

brand new bluebird song


there was this poem I used to keep
in my back pocket
kind of like bukowski’s bluebird
only not as hopeful and
not as sad
but plenty sorrowful in its own right

one day somebody asked to borrow it
and I gave it away without even thinking
I gave it away
like it was a knee jerk reaction
like when shutting the door behind you
instantaneously realizing
you just locked yourself out

the poem lives on in somebody
else’s life now
leaving me to explore the city streets
sandals on feet and opera glasses in hand
capturing glimpses of brand new blues



june two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

rumors of an evacuation


for some reason only the crickets
came out that night
and before the break of dawn
all of the birds will have left the city

at the inception it was a nonevent
but in retrospect
it shouldn’t have taken so long
before the people started leaving



june two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

smoke if you got ‘em


I was pretty sure I got things going
but when you told me otherwise
I kinda felt like shutting down

kinda
she says
really
how old are you

well I didn’t want to get into that
so I just went on about my business
that had nothing to do with
business at all

suddenly the front door opens
and here walks in an
uber driver carrying six tall boys
and pack of marlboro reds

there’s no smoking in the house
she says unless I say so

the uber driver looks at me
as if she’s not going anywhere



june two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

little pink houses


I saw you coming out of church
on a sunday no less
which kind of blew my mind
but who am I to say
what is jaw-dropping
and what is not

your son knew mine
once upon a peaceful time
but now neither know one another
at least not on a plane
that either of us are aware

we were never really friends
but now we are complete strangers
living in a city I always said
was nothing but a small town
dying to be be something it is not



may two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

seaside room in las vegas


they put me up in the las vegas hilton
I remember it well
it was a monday

I wasn’t going anywhere soon
so I had plenty of time to count all the chips
stacked on the round table in the corner

I tried calling out but all I could hear were
ocean waves coming through the receiver

I took a shower and drank a beer
and ate a small bag of honey roasted peanuts

I opened the door and looked down the hallway
both ways
and though it seemed the coast was clear
I knew I wouldn’t be able to get far

by the time the sun went down I wasn’t sure
exactly where I was
so I called the front desk and they assured me
that yes
I was indeed at the las vegas hilton

I picked up the telephone
and tried calling out again just to let you know
I was extending my stay
but all I could hear were ocean waves



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

Welfare State


Hunger is painted on your face
and on all those
who look like you

There are others making do
with what they got
reaching deep in their
not so deep pockets for you

Time is not precious for those
living below the line
I used to tell my so-called
drinking buddies
but the best they could do
is drink to your health
on any given Sunday



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

let’s get out of this place


she looked to be western but I couldn’t
be sure
not the way she kept
looking away

I had never been this far from
home before
but I was certain
I could fit in
if only I cut myself some slack

when I first arrived
I locked myself in a room
familiarizing myself with local programming
misunderstanding most
everything I heard

eventually I rationally concluded
that if I’m going to make it here
it’s imperative I learn to walk

my convictions soon placed me
at a nearby café
ordering something
refreshing (without cheating)
seriously considering my next move



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when north became south


you lost me when I wasn’t looking
like a silver dollar vanishing
via sleight of hand

when the poles switched
nearly everyone became displaced
like foreigners held
hostage inside their own homes

those less fortunate were
forced to learn a new language
whether it be spoken or not

in the city center they hung
disobedient juveniles
upside down by the ankles
shaking the contents from their britches
making all the little ones appear out of nowhere
like cockroaches scrambling on all six



march two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the invasion of invisible aliens


standing at the corner of 1st & 3rd
waiting for the light to turn green
fingers tumble down pockets
only to resurface empty-handed

unnoticed by the masses
newly born immigrants jaywalk
these inner city streets
crossing four lanes once occupied
by gas-powered vehicles

I’m told they’re everywhere
but mostly inside your head
emptying out your pockets like
some sort of arcane video game

I used to walk the streets at night
but it became too bright
making me feel like a second class citizen
like a moving target dodging
in and out of alleyways



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

taken to a nearby hospital


the city was on fire
and I was like a lost lamb
roaming past identical houses
hoping the next turn opens up
to a countryside I once knew by heart

they say the nightlife is the best here
where the most beautiful people gathered
to forget the past

but then it was gone in a flash
like a trick of the mind
there you see it
there you don’t
limbs gyrating like an egyptian
eyes mesmerized
believing just about anything

there was a man with a staff
crying out in the city center
where the river divided the land
and though I was perfectly lost
I heard him clearly above the
sirens and screams and
deadly detonations



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: