jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Welfare State


Hunger is painted on your face
and on all those
who look like you

There are others making do
with what they got
reaching deep in their
not so deep pockets for you

Time is not precious for those
living below the line
I used to tell my so-called
drinking buddies
but the best they could do
is drink to your health
on any given Sunday



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

at least the perennial flowers never turn to ash


I don’t mean to keep dragging
you into my poetry
but you died on my watch
and now you have nowhere to go

phoenix is too hot to spend eternity
so your mother did the right thing
by bringing you back home (to iowa)

I got better things to do
than figure out why my laptop
speakers decided to stop working
so I hit the road without any particular
place to go

there are no reputations here
that need to be repaired
they are what they are
and if nobody loves you
just the way you are
then damn their eyes

I used to ride my bicycle
through that cemetery
my baseball glove strapped
on the back rack



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the things nobody mentions


addiction is a powerful word
penetrating like a tattooed heart

sent off to war as an innocent
only to return as a coked-up diplomat
a poster child in denial

nobody said I always had
to be part of the family
and even though I knew the
association was optional
I went along with the charade

I love saying I’ve been sober
going on two weeks now
and whether or not nobody knows
for sure
nobody really cares
just like me

I went to visit a friend in the cemetery
last sunday
he died the same night I was killed
again and again and again

we get together every now and then
just to have a good laugh



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

let’s get out of this place


she looked to be western but I couldn’t
be sure
not the way she kept
looking away

I had never been this far from
home before
but I was certain
I could fit in
if only I cut myself some slack

when I first arrived
I locked myself in a room
familiarizing myself with local programming
misunderstanding most
everything I heard

eventually I rationally concluded
that if I’m going to make it here
it’s imperative I learn to walk

my convictions soon placed me
at a nearby café
ordering something
refreshing (without cheating)
seriously considering my next move



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

there I told you so


I always thought there wasn’t
much diversity in wildflowers
whether growing out of the ground
or painted on walls

the longer I hang out here the more
I’m convinced it has nothing
to do with the questions

you cannot see the spectrum of colors
inside your own eyes
yet you can experience
everything behind the clouds

and when there are no clouds
(in the sky)
you can simply lean back
and quietly say there
I told you so



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

right to remain silent


it was nothing you said
she assures me
walking away toward the kitchen
her left thumb wrapped in a wash cloth

she had managed to stop the bleeding
but not the awkward
mood of the room
that quickly dissolves into some
sort of silent aura

you know I go on to say
there was a time when respect
actually meant something

yes there was a time
I go on to say
under my breath
slowing my pace
nearly whispering
listening to every single word
I had been meaning to say



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

brick by brick


I’ve seen the future unfold
like a flower without a name
like a child without a home

the recent past soon enough
becomes all but translatable
like a familiar foreign language
like a lost memory
resurfacing
inside someone else’s dream

this road has been lowered
only to be risen time and again
each time you are there in some
shape or form
sometimes dragging the dirt
other times on your hands and knees
paving the way



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

waiting on the sun


we hadn’t heard the roar of jets
going on 13 hours now
and we were beginning to fear the worst
was yet to come

if there was a window not blown out
by now that would make the evening news
though there was neither television nor radio
no microwaves and
certainly no wifi
let alone clouds in the make-believe sky

the children often wonder when the sun
will return
when the flowers in the fields
will bloom again



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

no static at all


in need of being alone
I took a different way home

kept pushing the button
changing the frequency
unable to get
comfortable with how I felt

I’m pretty sure Steely Dan
understands the art of FM
like nobody else in recent memory

in between the pauses
spirits build upon momentum
taking out towers
and taking over airwaves
offering sounds of second chances



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

apocalypse then and now


it’s come to this
mammals dressed in pants
fighting for territory on
principles born in the backwoods
countless centuries before christ

before dungeon and dragons
there was this game called
kill or be killed
and for whatever reason (ever since)
programmers can’t seem to shake the code

only the lowly and the few have witnessed
angels waiting in the wings
some perched atop palm trees
others drifting into the bay
hapless and humming
reluctantly waiting for the end to begin



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

out here in the fields


we can pretty much do anything
out here in the fields
except piss on concrete buildings
or turn boxcars into artwork

the bus driver went one way
while the rest of us went another
confident the slender moon would
never lead us astray



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

no goodbyes here


I play this rock and roll
is how you see things
spreading your philosophy
to those drifting into or
near your path

somewhere along the line
there were lawsuits and
birthday parties
and many a prescription filled
selling cars off virtual lots
to pay for it all
all the while pretending
to be in other places

nearing forty years now
you magically appear out of the
proverbial atmosphere
same eyes and smile and laugh
same angry bird
chirping on my shoulder
thankfully reminding me there are
no goodbyes here
not as long as you
have anything to do with it



april two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: