jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

heaven help


I used to be tired
all the time
but now I’m somebody else
entirely
having devised a way
to parlay body and soul
into game-changing
situations
remixing what missed
opportunities
I may have squandered
over the years
now a simmering pot
of good fortune
made available to anyone
feeling free
to help themselves




october two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

like a bat out of hell


there was no dalliance
it was all a dream
how it seemed so real
by the time I woke up
I felt guilty as sin

you two are thick as thieves
the warden said
in that movie
or was it a Stephen King
short story

I awoke in a sweat
glock ticking on bed stand
safety all set
tick tick ticking away
tempting me to hit snooze

I didn’t feel lucky
having no idea how many
bullets if any
remained in the chamber
so I quietly backed away

and so there she had me
backed up against a wall
demanding all over again
what’s it going to be
what’s it going to be




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

ones that got away


there was fish in the basement freezer
bluegills caught in the mississippi
taken home and cleaned
filleted and carefully placed in ziplocs
each dated by way of sharpie

each day a story unto itself
each story a small piece of the life
and times of a solitary man
long removed from
an ordinary working life

if you don’t move you will die
he told his son
carefully stepping down the stairs
unlocking freezer door with key
he kept hanging on a nail
fearful the fish might one day escape
and find their way back home




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

there at the end of the road


how can I possibly change now
or can I see the world in a whole new light
a paradigm shift so to speak
where I am no longer the victim
but savior of my own home town

I didn’t return here only to be idle
someone said there were roads to lay
replacing gravel with yellow bricks
all the way from otter’s creek
to the mouth of the mighty river

and there at the end of the road
(or shall I say the beginning)
there I stand wading in the water
like the renegade baptist himself
proclaiming the possibility of a new life
to those who dare to dream




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Making Buttons


Tongue stuck out and twisting
Pepsi bottlecap between thumb and forefinger
pocket knife in other
spooning out the corking from the metal

The rounded cork disappears
inside the T-shirt
reunited with the bottlecap
between the fabric




nineteen ninety-seven
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

inner city haiku baseball


full moon with stitches
off-white and slowly revolving
like a knuckleball

in the alleyways
pick-up games start at daybreak
broomsticks and duct tape

tying run at plate
runners at every corner
bus driver pitching

final shot arcing
sailing over skyscrapers
shooting for the moon




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

ballad of a beating heart


off and on my heart beats
depending upon weather conditions
or latest traffic reports
whether or not your thoughts
infiltrate mine coincidentally
unannounced yet always welcome

oh how my heart beats
off and on depending upon
time of day or moon phase
sometimes reliant on outside forces
like a good night’s sleep
or promises of pharmaceuticals

despite off and on promises
made with the best of intentions
broken hearts beat willingly
always depending on the here and now
in the happily ever after
as if time was never a factor




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

colossus looking skyward


they’re building a rocket ship in their backyard
(or so the rumor goes)
daily deliveries arriving like clockwork
garage door opening halfway
closing before anyone can get a glimpse inside

neighborhood children make human pyramid
(just over six feet tall)
top of the stack detailing observances
those below hurriedly taking notes
runners relaying tidbits to gossip hungry parents

final countdown should be starting any day
(or week or month or year)
it’s just a matter of precision timing
between earth and moon and mojo
and that perfect mixture of propulsion elements




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

calm before the storm


every so often they visit
bursts of faint light
appearing and diffusing in a
matter of mere minutes
figments of my imagination
flirting with my night vision
reminding me my earthly days
continue to count down
right before my very eyes




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

and the last shall be first


summer dies and autumn awakens
another beginning to the fatal end
inevitable like simple thoughts
segueing into fantastical dreams

night skies are clear and stars abound
shooting and falling abysmally
luckiest person alive looking upward
casting doubts on winning streak

open windows suddenly become shut
weakening sun filtering through
giving hope to those with tired eyes
blinking and dying to see tomorrow




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

voice recordings from the past


I do not miss the old days
(or the olds ways as they remain)
I simply sit and take to daydreaming
reminiscing and contemplating
those pivotal moments
(as I see them)
how they may or may not have
contributed to my curious fate

how far I’ve come in this strange
illusion known as time
but in reality how little I’ve traveled
back and forth from strange lands
both real and imaginary
sometimes the hero
other times the goat
always judged by anyone and everyone
save the almighty herself

I’m content finding new ways
in saying the same old thing
whether it be this spring or summer
or the coming autumn or winter
how I want to record them all
time and time again
be it poetry or prose
be it in writing or otherwise




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the death of a poet


my words bleed no more
bandaged and clotted
how they stop in their tracks
my entire body trembling
for the very last time

three angels hover above me
I pretend not to see them
and though they say nothing
I easily read their thoughts
just as they easily know mine

I ask for pen and paper
but nobody hears my call
so I arise from the table
unshaken and all on my own
resurrecting words left unsaid




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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