jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

working on a thing


I’ve got a couple of eggs
but no bread
I’m pretty sure
there’s much that can be done

there’s mustard & mayo
and pickle relish in the door
the cat meows as it closes
sauntering out of sight

looking outside
there is more to consider
lettuce & cabbage in the garden
a few critters conspiring

push comes to shove
everything gets scrambled
a motion picture photographed
inside the kitchen




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

secondary interpretations


looking for something a little
less abstract
maybe patches
of blue green grass
apparent yet sublime
like colorful skin inside
an eggshell white dress

traveling by way of foot
well grounded
and full of hope
a constant eye
on the celestial sky
critically interpreting
all the various shades




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

the start of the ending


late night & new corner location
working on an old story with little light
this shadow in my periphery
moves from chair to chair
in the darkened dining room

scattered words stray near & far
I bring them back into the fold
rearrange them in the open field
pretending the start of the ending
will be different next time




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

starting from scratch


and so I packed up my things
and headed out on the road
to seek out a fortune
that I was told [in a dream]
belonged to me

it was the summer of seventy-nine
and I had two hundred bucks
in my pocket
a loan from a friend I promised
to repay tenfold

it took me a fortnight to reach
nashville tennessee
nearly penniless but purposeful
just me & my voice & my cherry red
fender telecoustic




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

imperfect memory


like stepping on a shard of glass
buried in the shag
childhood memories come
back to life one snippet at a time

I borrow my sister’s white figure skates
tie the laces together & strap
them over my shoulder
head out on foot to the city park
where the ice is six feet thick
and the weather favorable

round & round everyone seemed to go
I racing faster than any of them
crossing foot over foot around the turns
hands held together at my lower back

everyone seems so happy
and I begin to believe that I am too




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

knock off bill of rights in my back pocket


history in the making teaches us
there is limited accountability
to those perched in high places
while those down below
continue to be shown
their so-called inalienable rights
can easily be stripped away
by anyone wearing a badge
and/or carrying a weapon




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

Gulf of Mexico


He said it was time to move on
that his shortness of breath
was just the latest sign
that all he needed
was a little saltwater magic
running through his veins

It didn’t take that long
to pack all of his belongings
ditching the white room
by way of a one-way ticket
purchased once upon a time
in a recurring dream




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

the partisan & the mercenary


after all we know
fighting like hell to solve differences
plotting & treading
I recruit thyself
not having to disclose my date of birth
thrown into action
and somersaulting
straight to the front lines
awaiting further orders

why is it so hard
to do the right thing
those things politicians preach
honor & praise
where do such commendable intentions
run & hide
once all hell breaks loose
becoming like a
frightened foot soldier
positioned in a fox hole
frozen in body
and in mind




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

though this be madness


this time we’re picking it up
in the middle
that place in time you’re not
quite sure
where you stand

it’s as if
you’re still
rehearsing your lines
uncertain if the curtains
should ever be drawn

last I remember
you were doing this death scene
and I was helping you
remember your lines
one last time




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

row row row your boat


and so we sang the words
as children
seated in a circle & holding hands
[four jacks & a rubber ball
the most recent center of our attention]
each of us starting one after the other
repeating the chorus
time & again
smiling with the belief that life
is truly but a dream




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

outsiders & gatekeepers


I live where most people
dare not go
believing it’s a dangerous place
with guns & drugs
and sex for sale
no matter the time of day

burrowed deep underground
I see flashes of light coming through
casement windows
turning on colorful prisms
one or two or sometimes
three times per day

from my viewpoint
I hear nothing but
peacefulness pounding on the concrete
surefire sunflowers
sprouting between the cracks

all kinds of wild animals
are critical to the neighborhood
cohabiting with humans
relentlessly protecting them
from the unnecessary evils
marching up & down the chalk line




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

breaking free


february baby
born out of the spotlight
there are oh so many places
for you to hide

how you do what you do
stealing other people’s smiles
turning toasty into cool
and ice into fire

february baby
blazing through the night
taking the world by surprise
unsuspectedly




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

next please


having not heard from the likes of you
in god knows how many centuries
I imagine the cat still has your tongue

I read in one of those free internet pages
you’ve gone onto bigger & better things
having broken free from prior chains
proving to all the cynics & critics & liars
people do reinvent themselves

as for me I’ve been relegated
to behind the counter
responding to the person
on the other side
whether it be providing
psychoanalysis services
or slicing half a pound of ham
right off the bone




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

meet the new boss


once I believed
I had no control
that the world was fixed
           and I would need
to continually ask
for forgiveness

secretly people taught me
I had no control
that I was at the mercy
of the greater collective
that my time between
           death & birth
was of no consequence

little did they know
they were attempting
to teach the unteachable
that dramatically
I would become destined
to oversee their lives

       I alone the surveyor
           and the tax collector
I alone the rule of law




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

mishaps & misdemeanors


we start again from scratch
undoing recently made mistakes
restarting by way of reboot
as if the starter gun
never went off
or the fat lady never did sing

it’s not the first time
we put the initial batch
down the garbage disposal
only to next time
turn out the tastiest edibles
this side of the mississippi




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

bullets ripping through space


I’ve been called to see
in six dimensions
by who exactly
remains a mystery
for all I know could be jesus
or satan or mister john lennon

as bukowski would say
I was born into this
sorting out observations
percolating in the background
where so few of us
can or cannot see

dead or alive beware
the mockingbird
elvis or caesar once said
and steer clear of
heavily armed angels
guarding the perimeters




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

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