jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Not in this town


I come in peace said the warrior prince
dressed like a peafowl and riding a
gray warhorse adorned in rhinestones
pearl-handled pistols at his side

The women ruling these lands
rejected his claims and quickly
stripped him of his royalty
sentencing him (without due course)
to a life of hard labor in the diamond mines

As for his band of hapless soldiers
(and his pearl-handled pistols)
they were rounded up and taken to
Timbuktu where they were sold on the
open-market for pennies on the dollar



march two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

where on Earth have I been


there you are waiting in anticipation
perhaps nervous
or simply complacent
but your mind does wander
like winds whistling through a
heavy metal forest

and you wonder
will the waiting ever end

and then nothing ever comes
and you are back at the beginning
like a child
interpreting the clouds



march two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a higher level


it started from no single event
like global warming did

or the demise of a species

first he borrowed some
free time and stuffed it into
an ornate box

lined with red velvet
it was furnished with a
red-cushioned chair

a painting
unbeknownst to none
hung from one of the walls

but he kept his eyes closed
sinking into the chair
barely breathing

eventually the air collapsed upon
itself

until inside the box was nothing
but a passing thought



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the philosopher’s playground


the ground trembled beneath bare feet
like an audible sigh from a troubled mind

even the birds paused their morning song
shifting to interpret the mother’s warning

exhausted yet incapable of finding comfort
relaxation eludes the weariest travelers

though peace on earth may one day prevail
the natural order of things indicate otherwise



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in pursuit of peace


the bounty on my head
keeps going up
or so I’ve heard from the
monotonous talking heads
streaming in the air

I’m feeling much better
since crossing the mississippi
heading east by northeast
toward an unknown place
where sanctuaries still exist

secret agent men
keep hunting me in my sleep
but I manage to elude them
by rolling over into
a new form of reality

I know every inch of concrete
and railway between
this world and the next
where I am destined to settle
into indescribable peace



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

burning down the church


the church caught fire
soon after midnight
awakening the entire
sleepy little town

there wasn’t enough
water to extinguish
the insatiate flames climbing
past the steeple
eyewitnessed by those
trickling in from blocks away

one tanker
two tankers
three tankers arrived
sirens screaming for attention
fluorescent wings giving directions

night gave way to dusk
bird calls beginning to be heard
above the dwindling din
the sun resurfacing
exposing the ruins and the
worshipers singing
inside this town
and the next



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a voice that carries


it’s there
unmistakably there
like a little bird
waiting in the wings
shuddering occasionally
and whispering nonstop

even when it’s not there
it is there
but as you try to explain
to the woman in the mirror
words can’t express
what the whispers possess

windows open
as do doors
they open and shut like the
changing of the seasons

and just when you think
you’ve lost something inside
it returns in full flight
like a long-awaited echo



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the invasion of invisible aliens


standing at the corner of 1st & 3rd
waiting for the light to turn green
fingers tumble down pockets
only to resurface empty-handed

unnoticed by the masses
newly born immigrants jaywalk
these inner city streets
crossing four lanes once occupied
by gas-powered vehicles

I’m told they’re everywhere
but mostly inside your head
emptying out your pockets like
some sort of arcane video game

I used to walk the streets at night
but it became too bright
making me feel like a second class citizen
like a moving target dodging
in and out of alleyways



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the alpha wizard


was it the wire or the tree
or wayward balloons
bursting the ceiling
allowing meteoric pulses to
enter the atmosphere
uninterrupted

was it the whiskey
or the rye
that sparked something
out of nothing
like lightning in the sky

throwback man
walks around half-naked
carrying torch by daylight
poking sticks at stars by night

extending arms high above his head
he spreads his fingers wide
electrically connecting dots
whether seen or unseen
from the nondescript beginning
to an imaginary end



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

apache helicopter down


the helicopter crashed on the side
of a hill on a sheep farm

the sheepdog was the first to arrive
followed by the sheep themselves
and finally the shepherd

the dog sniffed all the way around
the main part of the mangled mess
marking it here and there for good measure

most of the sheep vied for position
for a look-see in the cockpit
but it was vacant

“they must have jumped out before
it crashed” the shepherd murmured
under his raspy breath

there they stood on the hill
the shepherd scratching his head
and the sheepdog licking his balls
the sheep themselves looking
down at the village where the
peaceful inhabitants once lived



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

crossing nontransferable territory


you could hear bad moon rising
coming from the other room
the music somewhat muffled
fogerty’s voice unmistakable

stepping outside
it was pretty much the same
excluding the music and that
unmistakable voice
transitioning into inner nonsense

at the next stop
glass tri-fold doors open
exposing old men sitting on
metal benches
stitching together wounds
inflicted half a world away

speakers on light poles
suddenly become charged
casting shadows and
sounding alarms disguised
as folk rock from the sixties

trading wheels for wings
up up and away you go
defeating gravity and
orbiting unfamiliar rhythms
bursting above the clouds



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the sound of daybreak


I don’t know you
I swear I don’t
and if anyone asks me
that’s what I’m going to say

coming of age
arrived with grave discipline
void of emotional reasoning
and resisting to speak
for fear the scabs in our throats
may heal

I wasn’t asked to the dance
but away I danced
well past midnight
my partner the waning moon
leaning me over the stream

sometimes I forget
you are still here
even though you’ve been gone
forever
and whenever I carelessly tell
others I don’t know you
I am labeled a liar
and publicly shunned



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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