jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

beyond the burning cities


at what point does the truth not matter
after the walls have crumbled down
and the fighting men have retreated


past neutral borders into safer cities
abandoning their own identities
past the point the truth doesn’t matter

blending in to regroup & relearn
a language other than their own
spoken by fighters who have retreated

dying to live another peaceful day
abandoning a pledge & a promise
at what point does the truth not matter

recruiting women & children into their fold
sabotaging their own bridges
fighting men fearful & in full retreat

abandoning their own ideals
turning their weapons into passports
at what point does the truth not matter
as once fighting men stage a full retreat





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

dual linguistics


slipping in & out of consciousness
the world is suddenly strange again
going from one calamity
to the next
hopeful something wonderful
is on the horizon

an alternative reality may be that I’m
actually dead
as reported two plus years ago
after the new flu broke out
leaving me hanging around in this place
and that
waiting for someone or something
to tell me what I should do

one thing’s for sure
that is the birds on the other side
are starting to make
more & more sense
as I continue to pick up
on some of their languages





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

on the road to recovery


believe you me
the timing could not have been worse
the messenger missing in action
whatever news he could possibly convey
lost due to the powers that be

getting back on the right foot
may take some new kind of learning
a solitary endeavor
best suited for those
looking to find their way home





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Wichita


If I catch you coming back my way
I’m gonna serve it to you

                        ―John Anthony White

She pinned a tail to my behind
as if I were a donkey
somehow tied a string to my underbelly
and away she sent me sailing

With each tug & pull
[and adding more line]
I became less & less vulnerable
relaying signals
that no Seven Nation Army
could ever hold us back





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

très bizarre


it’s not easy for any of us
and yet we proceed
as if everything is peachy

it’s a face that you wear
like a past familiarity
known before birth
saying you belong here
but then—out of nowhere
once your eyes
are again wide open
—complete abandonment

it’s hard to say what you mean
as you easily proceed
from one bizarre moment
to the next





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

goddamn pistachio


she broke a nail
opening a pistachio

‘goddammit’ she said

I told her I was sorry
and poured her
a hazy IPA
into a pilsner glass
—told her I’d fetch her
some clippers

and the superglue
she said
bring me some goddamn
superglue

….it’s in the junk drawer





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

closing in on separation


“To forgive is to set a prisoner free
only to discover that the prisoner was you.”
                                          —Lewis B. Smedes


holding on to anger is easy but unhealthy
being able to forgive is the opposite
—on both counts

this is a poem for you
whoever you may be
holding onto something dangerous
whether you know it or not

it’s nothing to be apologetic about
that is being human
but it’s something when unable
to comprehend
there’s a greater reality
residing inside a soul





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Over & Under the Radar


I’ve been losing my way of late
unlocking out of place doors with a
skeleton key I won on ebay

It isn’t exactly like I’ve turned
into Alice or moved to Wonderland
but there’ve been occasions
I’ve been lucky to find
my way back to the drawing board

And there I sit sketching new ideas
drawing a sky full of doors
without keyholes
the boy down below
pointing upwards & ever hopeful





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

panhandler at the gas pump


I don’t know where he came from
but suddenly he was there
presenting himself by asking
for one dollar
& one dollar only

having driven 600 plus miles
I was back home after
a twenty year hiatus
summoned by attorneys
to settle my mother’s estate

it was almost as if
I had met this man before
blue eyed & dark complected
maybe from high school
maybe somebody’s angel

to get to this point
I was ahead of schedule
a few blocks away from my meeting
having decided to stop
& top off the tank
at a cost far exceeding
one hundred dollars





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

five thousand miles away


I broke my fast with a beer
it’s been a day
& a half
the moon flirting with the sun
on a saturday morning
after the arrival of the
screech owl in the tallest pine
but before the paperboy
hand delivers
absentmindedness

I say no news is good news
but we all know better
displaced men & women
& children
learning as they go
one eye squinting
the other zeroed in on the sight
picking off one target
after another until
the last one surrenders





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a radical change of pace


we keep the doors locked
when at home
and unlocked when gone
seems like the most reasonable
thing to do

most of the neighbors
have been replaced
—since we never talked to the old ones
[in the first place]
we’re not speaking
to the new

it’s like we’re living
inside a hitchcock movie
strangers viewable
through their rear windows
training birds of prey
right there
in broad daylight
the ones without feathers
probably drones





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a child again


front door opens
an ornamental carving
made of oak painted barn red
stained glass eyes
cloudy & invariably blue
welcoming

once inside
curtains rise & drapes open
gardens & courtyards
and disappearing slides
a library above
a darkroom below
little people handing out tickets
to the mystery show

there’s no turning back now
you take a ticket
slip it into your pocket vest
and take your place in line
as if a child again





june two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

The Art of War


Once the weather radio started freaking out
all things went to hell in a handbasket

There’s one thing I know about the climate
it’s always in a constant state of flux

After the storms passed we counted
the damages on ledger paper
one for physical
two for mental
and three for extraterrestrial

The mess is becoming a bigger mess
mother nature at war with herself
randomly precise & indiscriminate
hitting targets from any & all directions
whether in the air
or on land
or at sea





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

otherwise you’d still be alive today


I thought I had something
but when I looked back
nothing was there

how do you keep yourself
together
when we all know
what happens in the end

the story can be anything
you want it to be
as long as you’re open
to interpretation

building confidence
is the hardest part
it takes time & patience
rare traits for brilliant minds

now trust is another matter
altogether

you never should have
told me your plan
otherwise you’d still
be alive today

maybe





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Séance


I could have sworn
that I’d already started
germinating ideas
[as if I was
three years old again]
that my decrees
made perfect sense
especially the dancing parts

It’s true you left me
to my own devices
but I worked them magically
bringing back poetry
I’d written in a prior life
pleading for you to listen
to make an appearance
either in body
or in spirit





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the days I lived alone


I am trapped inside this house
a house without mirrors
all of them stolen
by mice & men

here I am left to own devices
setting traps
& replaying forty-fives
with the volume on high
as I attempt to wipe away
all the evidence
all the blood
from the bathroom
& the kitchen
and down below
where the furnace roars

I don’t really live here
anymore
it seems the mice
have taken over
a transitional situation
to say the least





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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