jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

tip-toeing


opposition forces positioned themselves
in the most peculiar way
so much so nobody seemed to notice
exactly who they were
or what they were doing

last fall foot soldiers were ordered to plant
thousands of tulip bulbs in the minefields
but not all that went in came back alive
and the ones who did rested uncomfortably
for the rest of their lives

by the time spring solstice arrived
the enemy had mysteriously withdrawn
and all the local children awakened with smiles
welcoming the newly risen sun
proceeding to run cautiously
through her once glorious meadows




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

land of radioactive blossoms


the truth started long before jesus
and the common era
crowd obsessed with lynching anyone
they could never quite
understand

if you can’t hang the one you’ve
got your finger on
find their next of kin
they’re pretty much one in the
same

passersby and bystanders turn a blind eye
just like good old peter once did
(god how we never do learn)

land of paradise is nowhere to be found
not in these here parts
and that place where milk and honey
flow freely
well that’s just some fairy tale etched upon
stone

though the flowers growing in disputed lands
can be quite beautiful
somewhere along the line
they simply become part of the battlefield
buried in the past with inevitable
probability of resurrecting
some warm midsummer
day




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

spellbound


evening breeze clearing the way
moonlight filtering past skeletal trees
there’s a distant voice calling my name
asking me to surrender

familiar stars appear behind clouds
down below bridges are burning
smoke rising blinding the horizon
reminding me to surrender

heartbeats like whispering winds
slowly fading and breathless
meandering thoughts refocusing
telling me to surrender




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

santa ana winds


there is desperation in the wind
causing fires to spread
and lonely thoughts to cave in
good lord handing out hail marys
like there is no tomorrow

it’s 4:30 in the morning
and you tell yourself the sun
may never rise again
and somehow you forgive yourself
finally resigned to fall asleep




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

barn burning


pinewood boards on front porch
need a good cleaning
not to mention a few replacement nails

your mother’s mother used to sit there
rocking on the boards
spitting on spiders and such
just like eastwood used to do
idling back and forth on restless stallion

we’re not selling this house
not anytime soon
and we’re going to fix her up
and bring her back to life
just like nineteen ninety-nine

out back there’s a fire burning
horses bolting out of the stalls
grandma shouting at the hired hands
to hurry up and shut the doors
before they try to get back in




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

buried alive


it’s springtime in this sad little
corner of the world
where lemon seeds struggle
to germinate
and once colorful tulips decide
this is not their year

it’s cold and wet outside
or so I’ve heard over the airwaves

it takes little effort not to look
outside these shaded windows
except of course when sirens scream by
followed by dogs barking
and gunshots going pop pop pop

there is no internet connection here anymore
I ripped it out of the wall weeks ago

ever since I’ve been fingerpainting by day
and rummaging through wine cellar by night
humming petty songs and determined
to finish off the cask of amontillado




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

catching the last train out of town


I can’t catch my breath
nor can I see
what is it you’ve done to me

I’ve not had a cigarette
in over a century
but oh my how I still crave them

I once believed you taught me
all there is to know
but you proved me wrong (again)
by setting me free

there’s nothing quite like
catching the last train out of town
waning gibbous arising

long ago you said I’m only human
but now we both know
there’s more to this story




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

falling stars


I’m no closer to being found than I was
a year or decade or lifetime ago
yet I continue to pick up words and
rearrange them in ways unimaginable

along the way I often get the shit
kicked out of me by unnamed sources
and while sometimes I pretend to like it
truth is I never do

there are these places inside your head
you often forget how to find
isolated places where stars are
bright and perfectly aligned
dying to be wished upon as they
race by in rarefied darkness




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

somewhere between moonshine and sunrise


we dance the good dance
a ballroom waltz
stepping metrically like shakespeare
or tennyson or carroll
stealing the show below the glittery
globe shining like a waning gibbous
high in the sky at five o’clock in the morning

all eyes are upon the two of us
like southern stars faint and fixated
occasionally blinking but fascinated
at whatever they may witness

though the band has long performed
its final encore
the dance continues uninterrupted
having transitioned into a resurgency of sorts
fused into a single thought
beneath this expanding artificial light




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

living among the dead


they never played the organ this loud
on early sunday mornings
but the violins were lovely as always
and the priest and his priestess
sang mass as if was their last
this april fool’s day
the day jesus christ was reborn

there is this talk of witching hours
culminating into something destructive
but today is not the case
full moon having set hours ago
only to reappear again slightly altered
earth continuing to race through space
as if the end is nowhere near

the backroads and byways and highways
are busy with pilgrims inspired
to find resting places where peace must reign
where violence and conflict
have ceased to exist
inspired by a man born ages ago
expected to reappear as a superstar




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the art of practicing patience


thirty-one days have passed
and I’m prepared to breach the surface
having survived my stay with the living dead
who turned out to be quite charming

programmed to reach for stars
atop my toes I stretch my arms high above
palms open and eyes tightly shut
imploring the gods to answer my calls

expectations can be a bitch (I am told)
especially when living in a fantasy world
so I relax my mind and sit cross legged
repeating patience is more than virtuous




march two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

futuristic problem solving


so here we go again
casting judgment left and right
makes me wonder what they
did in the old days
before the world wasn’t quite so small

I suppose there was letter writing
love letters and
hate letters
and letters to the editor
want ads and personal ads
blind box ads
desperate pleas by the lonely
and the secretly insane

on the fourth of july
we decked out our stingrays with
reds and whites and blues
playing cards clothespinned on
bicycle wheels
charcoal snakes well lit and
crawling expandingly on cement blocks

it’s nineteen seventy something
and I’m contemplating my first shave
daydreaming about that first kiss
and wondering when oh when
next time it may take place

on television it was brilliantly violent
both abroad and at home
vietnam war and frequent assassinations
watergate and race riots
regime change and constant intolerance

fast forward to this aging poet
reminiscing and prognosticating
looking forward and back
and forward again
children self-patrolling hallways
like helmeted robots
fully armed
escorting opportunistic problem solvers
from one classroom
to the next




march two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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