jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

iowa city sunset


the university resides on both
sides of the river
and for as long as I remember
there is nothing divisive
about this city

how many years have transpired
since finding myself recalling
bits and pieces of my stay there
of the many evenings relaxing
at the lagoon shelter house
the three of us sitting cross-legged on the deck
easily adjusting our attitudes
culminated by soundless fireworks
courtesy of a slowly descending sun




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where the mississippi flows east to west


I know where I’ve been
but not necessarily where I’m going
these city streets all look the same
some running parallel with the river
others perpendicular

without the river I am lost
and sometimes
I find myself running in circles
passing the same dairy queen
once or twice or trice
eventually pulling over
for a chocolate coated dilly bar

as the young lady
hands me back my change
I ask about the river
she rolls her eyes and points
past my shoulder
as if she’s told me a hundred times




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

giving way to the morning light


it was late summer and the heat
and the humidity
were unbelievable
as unreal as december hummingbirds
reminding me of long goodbyes
and last hurrahs

all the doors and windows
were locked tight
hundreds of candles
lighting up the entire roost
unable to keep out the sirens
screaming from within

I refused to open up to new ideas
as long as all the old ones
hadn’t run their course
not until every candle
had burned out on its own volition
replaced by a natural light




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

standing in line with mister jimmy


I’ve been self-prescribing for so long
beginning to believe I’m an expert
in any field

apothecary shop across the street
has been thriving for nearly
a century now
modestly contributing to the local economy
providing products we’ve
come to know and love
since the beginning of time

I want our love to last forever
so I keep asking myself
what shall we take next time
our lives seem to be separating




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

momentum


there was no prophecy
future events unfolding surrealistically
captivating a connected world
only seconds earlier impassive

smoke and heat and fire
building upon its own propulsion
like an early morning spark
innocently lit within an otherwise
booby-trapped concrete stairwell

which way to run
which way to stop or go
wifi no longer of use
no signal no nothing
a voice inside says
drop everything and run

this is no map to follow
vertical tunnel without exit signs
traffic cops on the outside
helplessly looking in
right arm circling crazily
all on foot having the right of way
from this point forward




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

self-imposed exile


I was there to witness it all
and now after all these years
it’s becoming unrepressed
finding myself an accessory
after the fact

I’m too old to be on the run
but on the run I am
retracing steps and piecing
back together high crimes
and misdemeanors

statute of limitations aside
the talk on the street
sounds anything but familiar
as if I had just stepped off
the last train to mexico




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

bleeding before the law


you see me and you don’t
wherever you may roam
on the streets or display screens
caught in the five o’clock
be it rush hour or evening news

you may have heard me say
I cannot breathe I cannot breathe
unable to stretch my limbs
pinned to the concrete
left bleeding before the law

something is sadly empty
within ourselves
ancient spiritual connection
unplugged and without a prayer
to bring me back to life




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

minding my own business


one of so many I easily blend
in among the populace
taking to the streets on a friday night
feathers tucked behind my back

I hadn’t noticed anyone spotting me
so I kept on keeping on
turning my eyes from green to blue

it’s hard to say how or when
times actually change
but there’s no question today’s people
are in need of so much more
something indefinable
but if you ask me it may be less
like believing in something
beyond their comprehension
for example someone like me

I usually tell myself what happens
here doesn’t really matter much
but lately I’m not so sure
which may be the reason
I keep on keeping on
determined to be close when called




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

war correspondent


it’s not like I’ve not been trapped before
in the most dangerous cities in the world
keeping my sanity by recounting
what I can in my own little black box
capturing complicated stories
of lives on the move

play zones exist anyplace imaginable
especially for toy soldiers
expanding their capabilities since birth
learning to run with or without
a gun to grasp or hand to hold
duck and covering instinctively

with greater frequency I’m unable to reload
either from fear or lack of supplies
waiting on a lull in the action
a chance to buy or steal more ammunition
before once again shooting at will
at men inside boxes with eyes sewn shut




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

last supper


what will it be today
she asked
a line well-rehearsed

he said he wasn’t ready
and she walked away

it was freaky windy outside
and even though
no windows could be opened
the blue curtains did blow

he knew the menu
by heart
but he read it over and over again
as if for the last time




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

strangers passing by


there were four of them
marching down the sidewalk
a band of brothers and sisters
as if on a mission from god

it was quitting time and I was
getting into my car as they
were swiftly approaching

to get a closer look
I used my rear view mirror
and then directly outside my window
as they passed by excitedly

they were talking to one another
laughing and smiling and seemingly
unconcerned about privacy

though I somehow understood
every single word they said
their demeanor and inclinations
told me they must be aliens

and before they made it to the corner
their aura pixelated and dissipated
like a mysterious fog quickly lifting





june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

stranger in a foreign land


I’ve lost my way or so it seems
streets and faces anything but familiar
I fear I may have awakened from
another man’s dream
transplanted if you may
and tasked to piece together a past
found in this place and time

I did not ask for this life
but neither do I recall the former
where people knew my name
and I learned to grow old reluctantly

but now I find myself young again
sensing purpose in my gait
as I continue to weave
my way through this
city of diversity
beginning to believe
there is purpose yet to be found





june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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