jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “death”

a good place to die


the fever has been reaching
a pitch

cotton swabs collecting
samples

secured inside test tubes

the university hospital
has witnessed
so much turnover

I apply for a job

three credit checks later
I’m tossing lime tablets
inside toilets

some keep smoking
cigarettes
just outside the premises

I volunteer to pick them up
but I’m finding
there is no place to hide

I’m finding all I know
this is a decent
enough place to die




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

the end is near


the road was long
an all day affair
we had no other way
than by foot
so we started before daybreak
not saying a word
keeping a good pace
and reading each other’s minds
[on occasion]
the previous night’s dreams
the passion of the fruit
the destination
well within reach
as we neared the setting sun




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

An unfamiliar scene


I attended Philip’s burial today in Maquoketa at the family plot
at the top of the hill in Sacred Heart Cemetery. It was a sunny
& warmish day but a cool wind atop the hill made my Mother
put on her shawl. I counted the number of people in attendance
using less than ten hands, most of whom I didn’t know from Adam
or would ever know. Before getting on with whatever life has in
store for me, I hugged two cousins & shook the hand of another.




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

late night drug run


how many times have you done
yourself in. two, three, five, eight.
if it’s the latter man oh man
be careful where you step.
are you still driving a car.
you might want to rethink that.
in fact you might want to start rethinking
a whole host of things, such as
what’s for supper and when is bedtime.
do you remember where you put your teeth,
your eyes, your ivory handled pistol.
and what about renewing your licenses:
fishing, driving, hand gun, voting.
how exactly are you
planning on doing all of that
in your forever current state of mind.




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

he only wanted to be a country boy


story after story
guns & knives & ideological hatred
I try to imagine a world without it

he always said he wanted
to be a country boy
but that’s not likely
once sentenced to thirty years

we keep killing
young ones at an alarming rate
whether by war or neglect or hunger
and those pushers behind bars
easily recycle misinformation




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

Afraid to die


Afraid to die not afraid
which is it man
please make up your mind

But isn’t that the way it goes
everything is temporary
making decisions & then
reversing them
perhaps by way of public opinion
or simply because you don’t
know how to think for yourself

I used to think everyone
was afraid to die
but yes how naive & foolish
that now seems
having come to witness
the rebirth of man & woman alike




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

the death of late december


and so it has arrived
in all its glorious finality
slowing all good things down
some to an inevitable halt

no winter is the same
each returning with an agenda
colt forty-five concealed at the hip
cradling the rifle like a baby

setting traps on ponds & streams
frozen solid to the naked eye
encouraging & enticing
there is nothing left to fear

indeed you’ve reached
the end of the line [again]
exposed but not exhausted
you search for another way out




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

death by night & day


there’s a storm in the offing
eying to replace the warm november sun
stone cold vengeance slowly moving in

spring long gone & summer faded
what wickedness comes this way
unstoppable death fast approaching

hunker down but remain vigilant
fear not the influence of faraway stars
steering you artfully well into february




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

what are we dying for


we’ve come to know
there’s more to life than this

and yet here we go
growing tomatoes & making sure
what little grass we have
always looks its best

chomping at the bit
we step on the gas whenever we can
passing long-buried treasure
keeping pace by way the crow flies

depending upon the angle
the sun is always in our eyes

in the meantime we keep inventing
would-be catchphrases
hopeful one day one of them
will make it all the way to the stars




september two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

burying the past


the game’s over
it’s taken me more years than expected
to make it all the way back home

I’d been fighting
for so many lives than my own
when they finally brought me back
I was not going to burden anyone

I was going to do what I’ve always done
determined to show
strength comes from different places

eventually I had to face the reality of my own
a little box less than five feet tall
steel capped boot pressing shovel
repeatedly into the earth


august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

standing in line


yes it’s true the world is dying
[is always dying]
and we are a witness to its death
[its glorious death]
a slow and painstaking process
mysteriously inevitable
and eternally unanswerable

the airports are nearly empty
and the streets eerily silent
filled with long lines of masked pantomimes
arms extended and palms open
shadowed closely by feathery creatures
unable to fly and feverishly
sweeping up the crumbs

high above the skyscrapers
far beyond the tallest of trees
patches of blue begin to emerge
perhaps a sign of better times yet to come
or simply a figment
of every child’s imagination




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

occurrences at the break of dawn


I’ve repeating dreams
experiencing violent deaths
but each morning
I awaken unharmed

the occurrences are infrequent
but make no mistake
the pattern cannot be overlooked
each episode unrelated to the next

periodically I wonder
or better yet analyze the meaning
behind these dreams
whether what I’m witnessing
has absolutely nothing to do with me
and everything to do with you




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

talking to god


grieving ground
trembles and rumbles
children in bare feet
running through the jungle
sometimes smiling
crying
laughing
mourning
learning firsthand
about death
one day at a time

a river runs through
its heart center
a pulsating lifeline
promising something
than mere survival
repetitive
contemplative
remorseful
teaching firsthand
about life
one death at a time




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a plethora of time


she hadn’t died rather simply overslept
but for a moment we had held our breath

it stormed from dusk and well past dawn
young and old alike dreaming undisturbed

daylight delayed and electricity off grid
challenging life and impersonating pause

she hadn’t died rather simply overslept
at least for the moment or so we were told




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

making preparations


hard to imagine what will be
once accumulating everything
outside an efficiency shell
baby cries and heartfelt tears
twelve packs and doctor visits
stocks and bonds and mutual funds
fruits and vegetables and perennials
a bouquet of annuals behind your back

you learn to feed and water yourself
shaping and reshaping with razor sharp tools
growing and trimming and growing again
redefining yourself year after year
nobody noticing subtle changes

but you notice nearly everything
newly awakened apparitions
playfully passing through pyramid walls
entering your subconscious night and day
filling prescriptions and making preparations
much like the ancient egyptians used to do




june two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

I died in my dream last night


do you remember me
I was the one who died in his
sleep last night

as I recall you were with me
and I had pleaded
that you slow things down
but we went veering off the path anyway
projected into an orbit
defying quantum mechanics

it wasn’t the first time
I went sailing off into space
never to return
the world below me gradually
becoming smaller
the next one
suddenly
becoming familiar





may two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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