jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “In the City”

repurposeful


oh wait dear lord
for I am not quite ready to rest
peacefully at your right hand

first you must cast me out
back into the streets
where my voice will rise above the chaos
higher than the skyscrapers

yes all will listen and the gathering
will grow into a purposeful swarm
weaving and sweeping through the streets
our words knowledgeable & lyrical
reasonable & rhythmical
becoming the next great communication
delivered with newfound authority

though it is my voice they are your words
echoing throughout the night
leaving behind a trail of new thought
scattered like seeds in our wake




july two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

rag-and-bone


let us know what you don’t want
we’re taking anything we can
get our grubby little hands on
be it metal or paper or plastic
it makes no difference
it all adds up

new forces stealthily
patrol the neighborhood
collecting sterile & burnt offerings
a project within a project
experimenting with a brand new
law & order

drones with credentials
swoop down & aggregate
whatever’s considered handsome
taking any & all hand-me-downs
(and) redefining recycling
in extraterrestrial ways




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

miracle on first & third


it’s always the same dilemma
where do I go from here
repeatedly asking are you with me or not

how do I even begin to slow things down
once enough has become enough

conspiracy theories are running rampant
up & down the line
there’s no telling what people will believe
now that the churches have been burnt down

what’s next & why
there has to be some place better than
the here & now

they say it’s simple to mobilize
you just do it without blinking
suddenly you find yourself in the mix
inside the mosh pit of consciousness
rock solid & once again walking with purpose




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the ambush


they were waiting for me to pass by
the tree of five seasons
hiding behind the row of bushes
along the river’s edge

I had learned of the threesome’s dark secret
by an angel in last night’s dream
telling me to find another way

and so they sat there behind the bushes
for god knows how long
making fools of themselves
as I walked briskly through the city streets
occasionally whistling and laughing
all the way to the bank




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

anywhere else in the world


not sure how many more degrees of separation
I’m willing to accept at this late stage of the game

the masses are becoming even more massive
thanks to this unstoppable reproduction of the species

I’m sitting on a park bench removing all thought
and suddenly none of this is no longer happening

a stranger comes up to me & offers me a cold drink
I happily accept & in silence we drink in the name of peace

blocks away there is violence & incalculable hatred
marching in an organized yet chaotic way

I wonder if we should leave & she reads my thoughts
assuring me we are safer here than anywhere imaginable




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

after the cities fall


listen to the music
it’s just about everywhere
whether piped in out of thin air
or playing loud & live
right in your own backyard

no matter the time of day
the music attracts
birds & bees & curiosity seekers
traveling distances near & far
to feel what you feel

nobody wants to leave
after all it’s the place to be
where the music never ends
and peace & harmony
has begun to take root




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

nyctinasty [or where the poppy fields burn]


we start & we stop & we start again
I mean everyone needs to rest & refuel
before getting back in on the action

it seems like everyone’s wearing masks
either protecting themselves or others
but perhaps for other reasons entirely
big brother capturing the action on video
sometimes from as far away as 5oo miles

meanwhile beyond the cities poppy fields
live & die year after year after year
folding themselves in on cool summer nights
only to reopen come the morning light




june two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hesitation & pause


plucking one petal at a time
whispering she loves me
she loves me not

some are red and some are yellow
but none are black & white

outside I hear hesitation & pause
as if the birds are aware of every
single misstep man has ever taken

on the television screen
five o’clock images
are more disturbing than usual
the sound muted
love songs playing inside my head




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one town at a time


the downtown pigeons are becoming
more & more comfortable in their own skin
loitering wherever they please
empowered as fewer & fewer humans
make their way up & down the streets

I can’t imagine what happens next
what sort of confrontations may transpire
once all the lights turn green
madmen rushing to reestablish their turf
disregarding the whites of anyone’s eyes




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

caught inside the crossfire


stars rise and airplanes crash
it’s simply a matter of fact

some are easily seen
while others fly under the radar
undetectable by programmable spotlights
trained to find the impossible

from way up high everything looks fine
like peaches & cream accentuated
with dark chocolate
& sweet kisses

it’s hard to spot blemishes & skirmishes
from a million miles away
fires burning down cities
look like street lamps lighting up rain-soaked streets

alleys & avenues are drenched with fire
local aircraft either hovering or grounded
the stars of the sky eerily absent
unable to be wished upon




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Color TV


The city center is dead
like Lazarus of Bethany
three days removed from reality
soon to go on four

There are fewer varieties
of pigeons sweeping the streets
and even fewer homeless
following not much further behind

Looking for food here
is becoming a scarcity
leftovers abruptly becoming
buried with the past
aeries and penthouses
gradually vacated

Behind some high-rise windows
so many untold stories
behind off-white shrouds
varying degrees of light
flit & flutter like a butterfly
suggesting there may be life after all




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sometime after palm sunday


it’s palm sunday and almost anyone
who gives a rip is doing high-fives
in web browsers and church parking lots

there’s a long line of cars stretched
for blocks near the epicenter of history
as if the life of the most famous person
in the city is hanging in the balance

in the old days there were no combustible
engines making the skies sadder
than they already are
mourners journeying to burial grounds
for what seemed to take a day or two or three




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

coins to spare


he’s taller than the smallest man
has been walking on water for days on end
not as mechanical as before
yet not as fluid as calligraphy

the sun’s been baking the ground
for twenty straight days
it’s near impossible to go barefoot on concrete
unless of course it lines a swimming pool

at the city park there’s a wishing well
as big as the summer sun
water pulsating twenty feet above
showering toddlers sporting pieces of cloth




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

essential workers wearing knockoff sunglasses


I seem to have lost my place in line
maybe that’s not a bad thing
could be better than losing your mind

I used to walk tall among the masses
but now I’m mostly an island
deep inside these inner city streets

whenever I happen upon another
strange & solitary wanderer
my eyes tend to focus on the concrete
for fear any visual contact may spark
unwarranted reactions

I hide all needless valuables
somewhere inside my workstation
where I fill half my day with imagination

the river is only a few blocks away
I close my eyes and venture outside
believing this time I can make it




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

river crossing


lawlessness in all its mad glory
is bound to resurface
as it has repeatedly done
since the beginning of creation

here take my hand
and follow me across the river
to where there is a sense of security
despite the lack of governance

it’s easy to see what they’ve done
once you reach the other side
a collection of ordinary citizens
freely going about their business

you ask how it’s possible this place
lacks crime and pollution
especially with unrestricted borders
and skies that never cry

of course there’s no one answer
and once we arrive and look back
at what we’ve fled
there’s nothing left to recognize




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

springtime festivals


things that crash and clash
like overbought stock markets
and preposterous accessories
blowing up in a single session
and overtaking empty streets
where st. patrick day parades
weave in and out of the hearts
of plump little girls and boys
scooping up wrapped candy
thrown by spooks in makeshift floats
clad in green and grey spacesuits
pants pockets turned inside out




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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