jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “death”

one beautiful life at a time


you reflect & wonder
how it was
you escaped death
(after all these years)
recounting on 1.4 hands
those near-
death experiences


each one a story
unto themselves
you tell your invisible friends
but since this is a poem
the details will be vague
& the metaphors
plentiful

where there is smoke
there is humanity
attempting to put out fires
romantic truth-seekers
watching the world
casually destroying itself
one beautiful life at a time




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

final resting place


this ranch is for sale
the one just outside the city
the one I told myself I’d
buy in a heartbeat
if it ever went on the market

I can see myself dying there
I easily convince myself
surrounded by apple trees
and two or three horses
grazing on grasses
bushes & other leafy greens

I’ll find this shady spot
where I can dig the entire summer
my final resting place
I tell my younger daughter
when she comes to visit
for the very last time




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

messing around with the tape recorder


I think this time we shall start
in the middle
letting the mechanisms
work in reverse for a while
before fast-forwarding
beyond death

how many names
will you recall
how many faces will you recognize
some distorted & some
in pristine condition
(on account of having died
so young)

keeping yourself in the center
[or the middle if you will]
does have its advantages
allowing the opportunity to learn
from past experiences
leaving the creative
& the motivated
to figure out the future
all for themselves




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

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

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