jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

Christmas Eve Massacre


At birth, I was cast into a flaming pit of scum forgotten by God.
   — Mickey Knox

America the Beautiful
unaccepting of the past
such pride & prejudice
home to many haters
birthing mass murderers
one day at a time

Smoke & mirror history
gives way to a new reality
this twenty-first century
exposure & denial
run rampant on the streets
like Natural Born Killers





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

if I could wish it all away


there’s no sense in testing the water
it’s the same as it’s ever been

every wednesday morning at nine
the city tests the loudspeaker system

one day it’ll prove itself to be futile
or utile —it’s funny how only time will tell

lenny kravitz sings about getting away
I tap my foot & chime in right out loud

replacing his simple words with mine
as if I’m some sort of ad lib junkie

knowing I’ve not a say in the matter
nor interested in wishing it all away





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

missing in action


there’s nothing to see here
everybody move along


when authority figures
tell people to move along
chances are
there is plenty to see

the shooting took place
mid-morning
and by lunch time
two dwellings & three
vehicles were taped off

there was plenty of talk
but not much action
& those with pics or vids
on their person
most likely kept them
close to the vest





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

doctor strangelove


there is a strange frequency in the air
and the traffic is lighter than usual
[nearly nonexistent actually]
it’s as though the small & bright city
has become a ghost town


pick a year any year and you will
find how nothing has changed
how ghost towns have become
overtaken by nature in seventy-five
or one hundred years’ time

of all the cold wars taken place
this one is the most chilling
women & children sacrificed
by the hundreds of thousands
the men mysteriously evaporated





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

A Peanut Farmer in Iowa City


I’m going by memory
so my facts may be a little fuzzy
but it was the early eighties
and I was in line
at Hamburg Inn No. 2

Supposedly Jimmy Carter
was a few spots ahead of me
or so the young lady I was with pointed out
me promptly responding
with something like shut the fuck up

Like I say I’m going by memory here
but I’m pretty sure both Jimmy
and I ordered a double swiss &
a small fry

(I don’t remember what drinks
they offered
but if they had beer on tap
that was probably it)

There’s no way you could eat
inside the smallish & popular place
most of the booths & seats & stools
nearly always taken
a minority of which
by ghosts of politicians past

As we headed back downtown
—lunching while we walked—
I kept asking what’s her name
if she was absolutely sure





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

wet dream


don’t call us they kept repeating
in my dream
actually they were singing it
don’t call us baby
we’ll call you


it was as if wolfman jack
had somehow gotten in
shadowing me like a wild thing

running at full speed
every chance I could get
only the corners could slow me down
inside this inner city jungle

hailstorms preceded
intensely global temperatures
leaving everyone soaked to the bone
wondering what kind of animal
they had become





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

natural born killers


do you see my face
how it’s changed over the years
behind these bars
my eyes are barely visible

nobody here knows my name
nobody’s available
to interpret my dreams

I talk to myself without speaking
a stark reminder how
it’s always been this way

back in the day I never slept
but now it seems that’s all I do

back in the night
I roamed the city streets
blasted by light
both inside & out

fully packed & constantly aware
I look for a place to be alone

so here I am doing time
alongside natural born killers
learning from the second best
& taking from all the rest





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

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

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