jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

ghost cats of the historic mill district


the walls are rock solid here
repurposed mill district buildings
turned into restaurants
& other retail establishments
studio & two bedroom efficiencies
on 2nd & sometimes 3rd floor
anything higher than that
allegedly under reconstruction

most of the domesticated
& feral felines of the day
enjoyed their finest of nine lives
in the late 19th & early 20th centuries
their dominance still apparent
to this very day
chasing real life moths & mice
from one building to the next





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

the world isn’t full of love


the constant call to arms
loudspeakers in the city streets
projecting all the romance languages

young boys & girls tilt their heads
counting years on their fingers
virtual tactical gear painted on their skin
marching to the snare & the bugle

a caravan of tarp covered vehicles
transport wet-eared recruits
populating newly formed camps
outside the danger zone

soon the city will be empty
and children in their infinite wisdom
find what the world lacks is love





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

repeating history


the problem with the world today
we’re living in the past
like a smoker who can’t kick the habit
we’re unable to quit killing
whether sanctioned by allegedly legitimate
power brokers
or straight up civilian violence

when I was a kid we played
cowboys & indians
cops & robbers
doctor & nurse
role playing because we were left
to our devices
and our parents bought us weaponry
and any kind of idol we would ask for

on sundays we were reminded how evil
we truly were
and twice or maybe three times a year
we were forgiven all our sins

come monday however
we were right back at it
perpetuating the only thing that made sense





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

revolution


Don’t you know
Talking about a revolution?
It sounds like a whisper

          — Tracy Chapman

it’s already here
don’t you feel your life
dramatically changing
what little wealth
you may have possessed
gone like a whisper

don’t you know
everyone is running
running away
from reality
don’t you know
they’re talking about
a revolution

it’s not too late
to turn the tables
to get out while the
getting’s good
jumping ship or
leaving the welfare lines
before it’s too late





july 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

beyond the burning cities


at what point does the truth not matter
after the walls have crumbled down
and the fighting men have retreated


past neutral borders into safer cities
abandoning their own identities
past the point the truth doesn’t matter

blending in to regroup & relearn
a language other than their own
spoken by fighters who have retreated

dying to live another peaceful day
abandoning a pledge & a promise
at what point does the truth not matter

recruiting women & children into their fold
sabotaging their own bridges
fighting men fearful & in full retreat

abandoning their own ideals
turning their weapons into passports
at what point does the truth not matter
as once fighting men stage a full retreat





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

panhandler at the gas pump


I don’t know where he came from
but suddenly he was there
presenting himself by asking
for one dollar
& one dollar only

having driven 600 plus miles
I was back home after
a twenty year hiatus
summoned by attorneys
to settle my mother’s estate

it was almost as if
I had met this man before
blue eyed & dark complected
maybe from high school
maybe somebody’s angel

to get to this point
I was ahead of schedule
a few blocks away from my meeting
having decided to stop
& top off the tank
at a cost far exceeding
one hundred dollars





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

a radical change of pace


we keep the doors locked
when at home
and unlocked when gone
seems like the most reasonable
thing to do

most of the neighbors
have been replaced
—since we never talked to the old ones
[in the first place]
we’re not speaking
to the new

it’s like we’re living
inside a hitchcock movie
strangers viewable
through their rear windows
training birds of prey
right there
in broad daylight
the ones without feathers
probably drones





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

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

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