jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

inside an oreo cookie


this story starts in the middle
like inside an oreo cookie

there’s a whole bunch of them
stacked like poker chips
right there on the kitchen counter

I begin to wonder who put them there

then I begin to think
something isn’t right
and I turn my back and step away

of course I stop and turn back around
I am drawn back to the counter
my inquisitive brain processing
like a little watson

why are they here
and why are they stacked

I pick off the top one
with my thumb and three fingertips
and slowly twist it open




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

self-medicating


having recovered from near death
I retrace my footsteps one month
two months
or maybe more
recalling how I always
get the flu shotcome october
but this time when the new year arrived
I spent a fortnight fighting off
consciousness
occasionally succumbing
to a bad dream
but mostly
& slowly nursing myself [back to
less frequent hallucinations]
by consecrating
my very own cocktails
into patentlyomnipotent medication




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a quiet revolution


breathe dear earth breathe
bring forth new life from past sins
clear the skies and cleanse the seas
as if it’s resurrection day

forgive dear earth forgive
allow pause where pause is due
remind us daily we’re just visiting
like a surfer atop a wave

believe dear earth believe
a wealth of harmony and truth exists
deep within the souls you create
praying for peaceful ways




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

in the line of fire


or so it seems these extreme times
call for a new way of thinking
conspiracy theories superseding
previous thought processes
causing your world to shrink
and your mind to expand
further than previously thought possible

it’s come to a point where rationality
is further from any reality
where every little fact of life
every tidbit of information
has somehow turned against you
and you find your back up against a wall
unlit cigarette sticking out of your face




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Baby in the window


for Aubrey Jean

They are song sparrows
nesting inside a popcorn tin
hanging beneath the eaves
vessel rocking from side to side
[from the constant coming & going]
like a boat tied to the dock
continuously in motion
but unable to sail away

From inside the conservatory
a baby is fixed at the scene
a toddler to be exact
an unsteady walker without ankles
pointing at the popcorn tin
[at the constant coming & going]
unaware they are singers
incoherently repeating baby




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

if only for the last time


a new may day straight ahead
one like none other
if and when we actually get there

I made a promise I would change
but that was long ago
& now I can’t recall into what

tonight we watch the sun turn blue
swallowing the night
making all the rivers rise higher

you’ve been here before
playing victim & demon & god
chasing the impossible moon
if only for the last time




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

north by northwest


let’s see what’s different today
besides which way the wind blows
pushing us all the way downtown
where everything seems to stay the same

when we were strangers
all the windows were boarded up
as if a hurricane were imminent
threatening inland for hundreds of miles

but that was yesterday
and today is just beginning to bake
top down on the 30-year-old roadster
car radio unable to pick up a frequency

all day we headed north by northwest
stopping at every other vacated town
commenting about eerie similarities
and those darker clouds in the rearview




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Color TV


The city center is dead
like Lazarus of Bethany
three days removed from reality
soon to go on four

There are fewer varieties
of pigeons sweeping the streets
and even fewer homeless
following not much further behind

Looking for food here
is becoming a scarcity
leftovers abruptly becoming
buried with the past
aeries and penthouses
gradually vacated

Behind some high-rise windows
so many untold stories
behind off-white shrouds
varying degrees of light
flit & flutter like a butterfly
suggesting there may be life after all




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

not too far from here


I keep trying to imagine this world
without me
but I get stuck right in the moment
unmoving in a traffic jam
the fixed moon looking down at me
through the sunroof
saying most of this is not real
in the first place

one moment I’m exactly
where I think I am
and the next I’m transported
from inside a little glass tube
crash testing the latest
and greatest innovation
somehow coming out in one piece
on some other side

even when you find yourself isolated
you feel you’re never alone
your right hand guiding
an imaginary zeppelin across
difficult terrain
reporting back to mother
on a higher frequency
this may be the final moment




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

with black flowers in tow


painting you from memory
how many times now
eyes closed and slightly smiling
pencil-thin eyebrows hiding behind
rose-colored glasses
a shade similar to your swollen
cheeks after sailing from mid-afternoon
until sundown
one hand combing through your locks
the other pinned behind your back




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

born to be down


I lost sight of what I was going to say
my train of thought drifting aimlessly
unable to distinguish the difference
between forgiven & forgotten

the way invisible forces continually
remind us nobody is ever in charge
makes me smile & makes me sad
temporary eyelashes fluttering

I keep saying I was born to be down
though I don’t know what that means
something I imagined in a dream
or discovered over a lifetime




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hibernation


thinking about something for too long
often leaves you lost in the fray
like an overworked dream sequence
leading you in and out of consciousness
feeding on your inner fears

when becoming subjectively paralyzed
each hour bleeds into the next
almost always for the greater good
a reminder if this were but a movie
you’d have the option of moving on

every lost detail remains inside of you
and if only you had the power to bring
them all together simultaneously
you’d come to appreciate
why the gods remain in hibernation




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

making our way to new york city


so here we go again
chasing tornados across the country
just when we thought the worst
of the season had ended

what we’re finding is nothing
ever ends but simply
segues into a new strain
jumping from seattle to dallas
bouncing up north to chicago
then quickly diving back down
all the way to new orleans

we never tire traveling county to county
pursuing storms and trying
to stay ahead of the curve
doing what we can to save lives
whether it’s an entire small town
directly in the path of the beast
or that proverbial cat stuck in a tree




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Come Easter Morning


First the stock market crashed
that emotionally intelligent bitch
always overreacting but always spot on
on her general assessment of things

Second the walls starting crumbling down
but unlike in the fall of eighty-nine when the
destruction ushered in a new era
this time fortified walls were swallowed
whole by the earth herself
further separating millions more

Third but not least all places of worship
were boarded up or locked down
desecrated or burned to the ground
     and all the people of faith
no matter their object of devotion
believed it was only a matter of time
before theirs will be raised again




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

first bounce or fly


the light continues to reflect off anything
in its path and I’m here to soak it all in



nothing seems to be working
the clocks are stuck again
all within plus or minus fifty years

meanwhile I sit just past third base
drinking old style and keeping score
childhood glove on lap
fly balls nowhere in sight

I’m in the hole
down on one knee
wondering where all the beautiful people go
once the game is over

since there’s nothing left to do
I’m thinking I should go to the beach
maybe put myself under the virtual spotlight
and find out a little more about myself




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

suspicious activity


my alarm clock resides
on my wrist
bringing me back to life
routinely
quietly interrupting me
from the gray side
introducing birdsong
inside a sycamore tree

my flickering eyes
letting in varying degrees
of natural light
depending upon the
day or month of year
regardless if my latest dream
has gone viral
or died a peaceful death

seems like everything
needs charging
this strange day and age
electrical pulses
running rampant
cracking open eggshells
and letting go variably
by way of sirens




april two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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