poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “burial”

singing the dead march song

they busted the enemy
into bits & pieces
piling some into stacks
tossing others into bins
boy soldiers starting fires
in the alleyways & the woods
talking amongst themselves
how peace is a 60/40 proposition

cabinet makers started putting
out heart-shaped boxes
sold to the military at below cost

they say the casualties
have declined since the rising
of the blue moon
a pseudo cease-fire
a sleight of hand opening
& closing once colorful eyes
burial goers breaking out in song

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

transcendental burial

they flew him in via Qantas
having settled for a window seat
far removed from decades
of commotion

at O’Hare they whisked him
to an electric golf cart
making a beeline to an Embraer
fueling outside the hangar

once back in the air
he seeks out a familiar sun
rising exponentially
evolving every quarter mile

[few of us are capable
of going from past to present
in a matter of mere minutes
let alone twenty-four hours]

but this one is special
already realigning the landscape
in thought & thought alone
at thirty-five thousand feet

october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

billy loved apple pie

billy died on a sunday
and he never did get a proper
burial. fact is, nobody
knew exactly what happened
to his remains.

a bunch of his buddies
decided to get together one day
and followed a funeral procession
on foot. they were well equipped
with beer on ice
and hash under glass,
not to mention a few packs of smokes.

when the preacher finished
anointing the grave
with oils and incense,
someone beyond the bushes
cracked a joke
about how billy used to love
to smell his finger
after he’d got some.

nobody was ever sure
who really got buried that day,
but everyone knew
soon there would be pie.

march two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Whispers of Sorrow

We drove through the cemetery
in the dead of winter
until we found the blue canopy
flopping in the wind

Many inches of snow had fallen
the night before but the plow
had cleared the lanes

A bright sun and dress shoes
hit the asphalt with purpose

As many as a hundred faces
converged on the canopy
in steadfast silence

Gusts of wind arrived from the west
and tossed snow off the roof
and onto the gatherers

Familiar prayers were recited
between coughs and sniffles
and one woman’s weeping

When a bugler played
a familiar lullaby
the vacant faces drifted
in varying directions
whispers of sorrow filling the air

january two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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