jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

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

while supper slowly cooks in the kitchen


it’s thursday night & the cocktail making
is in full-force in the basement
men & women & children
participating in the assembly line
loosely following handed-down recipes
remarking how they’ve circulated
over the past century from country
to country & continent to continent

local & social media continue to remind
anyone who may be interested
that the charity run starts
eight o’clock sharp on saturday morning

and all those down below
agree they’ll easily be ready by then





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

daily commute


sitting on a ledge with switchblade
in hand
either lost in thought or ultra-focused
asking questions below &
expecting answers from above
this is how life & death decisions
are made

the world is on edge
billions living on the fringe
a number too large to comprehend
especially when sitting on a ledge
with a good book in hand
making life & death decisions
without any outside help

outside looking in
this is how it will be in the end
sitting alone on the edge
waiting for the last train





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

circa seventeen seventy-six


there is hammering on the rooftops
in the not so distant past
fading from the west
echoing in a rhythmic pattern
like an ode on a grecian urn

autumn appears on the horizon
& hell not far behind
communications
arriving from all directions
be it by wind or bird or plane

I’ve yet decided what century
I shall waste the next
thirteen hundred dreams
lost in the city of brotherly love
pretending to be mere mortal





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

exchanging hands on the black market


there is love & hate
happening on hollywood avenue
I try to stay
on the right side of the street


my dreams keep telling me
everything I’m gonna miss
but I don’t get the half of it
waking up at 2 am to gunshot
pit bulls barking up & down the street

what few truths there are left
(inalienable or otherwise)
ricochet up & down the boulevard
the scorching sun
attempting to eradicate all the lies
baked within





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

intercepting inner city messages


five hour energy doesn’t
do much good
in these here streets
you’re better off using
old fashioned razor blades
& disposable needles

the neighbor’s cat
has gotten pretty good
at keeping us mostly safe
flashing the all clear signal
when not whoring around
from dawn until dusk

the building frowns upon
out-of-state visitors
but they’re usually the ones
with the best product
& with the cat’s help
we’re able to smuggle them in





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

back in the game


new leather bag
jet black with a thin strap
count ‘em one two
three gold zippers
perfect for
compartmentalizing
a few zodiac signs &
today’s mental mood


money clip holding tight
a few precious scraps
an apple card with a slice
or two in reserve
privy to proof of legal age
& all kinds of insurance

fingernail clipper
a box cutter (just in case)
a chain with too many keys
a rosary with black beads
a few triple A batteries (again
just in case)
and so many more little
metallic things

strolling down 5th avenue
like a big dog on parade
the big pouch empty but open
hoping something that glitters
may yet again
catch my cautious eye




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

An American blogger in Paris


I met this blogger
an American in Paris
living in paradise
(so we were lead to believe)
dishing out outrageous
autobiographical adventures
untold tales he liked to call them

And so along the way
having fallen in love with the
City of lights
he eagerly learned the language
and later
fell in love with Amélie

She brought him in
and all was good with the world
to the point where his
creativity waned
his numbers tumbling
until his online relevance
ceased to exist

as did Amélie




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

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