jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

115 Iowa Avenue


I keep changing for no apparent reason
one nondescript day superseding the next
as if I was back in college

The night before you leave a message
about hooking up at Joe’s Place

Of course I don’t recall your words
until the next morning
and by the time I’m halfway through
19th Century Literature
I’m making up any kind of excuse
to cut the hell loose

It’s 4 pm on a Monday afternoon
and I’m exactly where I want to be
[albeit some forty years later]
ordering a cold one and stringing
together words on ruled paper
laying 50/50 odds this time you’ll show




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

errand boy in a foreign land


go and find out what the people
are saying on the streets he tells me
so I put on my coat and gloves and hat
and leave the safety of the consulate

the winds are strong and push me
three blocks toward the city center
to the river where a mass of unknowns
huddle with picket signs and chanting
in a language I do not understand

the closer I approach the swarm
the more I realize I’m an invisible alien
set out on some improbable quest
quite possibly never to return back home




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

made in america


playing monopoly halfway seriously
building hotels on mediterranean avenue
all the while dabbling in regional politics

you might find expats inside crossfire cafe
plying chocolate lattes and rolling dice
taking undue risks for a small piece of the pie

since when were any of us ever really safe
whether rebuilding railroads or utilities
dodging bullets or thrown shoes
all of which were likely made in america




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

too good to be true


how many times have I said this
whether directly
or in so many words
sitting on the front porch swing
or lying back on the hood
of your ‘69 camaro
counting stars on a cloudless night

each time you tell me
you’ve no idea what’s in store
I reply with a silent nod and smile
imagining one day
the light will shine just right
and you’ll know
exactly how good it can be




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

painted faces


we’re a militia of sorts
not quite young men but certainly
not children
we carry maps and canteens
and know the terrain
better than any local old men

khakis and camouflage
work best inside these ancient
indian trails
where tree climbing and sniping
go hand in hand
protecting friend from foe

self taught and preserving
what little turf we’ve left
we fight for immunity
against all unnatural laws
aimed at cleansing
any peoples like our own




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

making arrangements


where you do you start when
there’s so much to be done

I didn’t get in the car today
it was the coldest day of the young year
I was thinking about yesterday
and those huddled in front of the library
at closing time
worn faces sharing a cigarette and
speaking fervently

in those few seconds as I drove by
I wondered what got them there
and where they would spend the night

yet again I digress in thought
while so many things need to be done
housekeeping issues I like to call them
mundane details needing to be sorted out
before making my next move

but for some reason I’m paralyzed
frozen in my tracks so to speak
staring out the back window
hoping to spot some sign of life

I glance at my phone on the counter
thinking I should call someone




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

no longer a distraction


I’ve been without a head
for quite a while now
and to be honest I’m starting
to get used to it

I’ve no idea if people have been staring
[since I’m unable to see]
but something tells me they are
and I could care less

I keep hearing the same questions
like what it’s like to always
have my head in the clouds
of the more obvious
have you lost your head man

of course I don’t answer
[I mean how could I possibly answer]
instead I go about my business
as if it’s just another day
and all those around me
are simply a past tense distraction




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

french toast for two or three


she was in the kitchen
decked in checkered apron
testing chicken eggs in an oversized
coffee mug filled with tepid water

the ones that floated were edible
[or so she says]
and the ones that did not
those that sank to the bottom
did not pass for human consumption

and so it appeared on this
sunday morning
four out of five made the grade
and the one that did not
was set aside
as fodder for some poor fool




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the spirit will find a way


lost in thought on this late
december afternoon
oak leaves circulating
throughout the neighborhood
wet and scattering
and firmly planted
in the back of my mind
tens of hundreds of them
their varying shapes
reminding me of summer clouds
imitating anything imaginable
derailing my train of thought

I see an angel and elephant
pooh bear and little roo too
a steam locomotive
chugging across an endless plain
while out of the corner
of my eye
a red cardinal
perched stately on picket fence
calls me to my feet
awakening my lost spirit
and freeing me
from my sunday melancholy




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

staring down the sun


sometimes you just have to get
up and move
far away from where you once were
destination undefined
no purpose necessary

dress well and be on your way
it’s a lonely world out there
and you’ll fit in just fine
(just like you always have)
emptying your mind in the brisk air
your footfalls like a timepiece
you once wore on your wrist

what goes through your mind
is of no consequence
what matters now
is how you’ll find your way
from point A to point B
either by way of memory
or the angle of the sun




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hosanna hey sanna


a lone dove circles
high above ancient metropolis
well-trained in surveillance
and deception
like a modern day drone

miles away at desert’s edge
a lone donkey materializes
out of thin air
soon to be surrounded
by a dozen escorts
crawling towards the city

cloaks and branches
line inner city streets
crowds abuzz and growing
all eyes witnessing
21st century possibilities




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the gardens of babylon


as my memory fails me
I attempt to recapture
my chain of thought
especially concerning
what we’re fighting for

the gardens of babylon
belong to every man
woman and child
created by a power
mightier than any sword

yet destruction reigns
the gardens simmering
with smoke and fire
wiped out by a million
and one shooting stars

taking in my final breaths
I rejoice believing
the gardens of babylon
will return in all their glory
free from any threat of war




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

transcendental meditation


over the river and past the clearing
I fly where the wintry winds take me
spreading my translucent blue wings
void of any single solitary thought

my traveling companion holds on tight
in sync with my soundless breathing
inquiring within how on earth this flight
could possibly transcend even higher

I convey the end’s neither near nor far
this journey is simply a new beginning
accelerating and climbing effortlessly
soon to breach the next known barrier




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

forbidden fruit


four small green bananas
three abstract oranges
and two heart-shaped apples
overfill round wicker basket
posturing freely above
false granite countertop

don’t touch don’t touch
the artist with nine brushes
shouts from out of nowhere
putting a halt to hand reaching in
and mysteriously withdrawing
as if overtaken by guilt




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

and so the dream continues


she wakes and I sleep
the day has yet to break

sounds from below
incorporate into my dreams
sights and smells and those
unusual turn of events

I switch to my other side

there’s no sense anticipating
that tap tap tapping
on my second story window
something tells me
there are other ways
to be awakened
whether on my own or by
someone far and away
from someone
who once loved me




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

children of the moon


at what age does a child realize
the moon can take only one shape
            that of a flattened ball
and all other perceived aspects
       whether real or imaginary
         are mere manipulations of light
and angles      also known as
            geometric trickery

a child unloosens his hand
from his mother’s and points up
            at the sky
       declaring there do you see
in broad daylight
            he dares to show himself
       the same but altogether different
from the moon of the night

how can such an ancient body
continually become new
            living and dying every
thirty-some days while the rest
       of us grow old
          making every child believe
its ageless      grey skin
       miraculously remains white




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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