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poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “mississippi river”

where the mississippi flows east to west


I know where I’ve been
but not necessarily where I’m going
these city streets all look the same
some running parallel with the river
others perpendicular

without the river I am lost
and sometimes
I find myself running in circles
passing the same dairy queen
once or twice or trice
eventually pulling over
for a chocolate coated dilly bar

as the young lady
hands me back my change
I ask about the river
she rolls her eyes and points
past my shoulder
as if she’s told me a hundred times




october two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

breaking the silence


it was the silence he said
that rocked his world
giving him thoughtful insight
into the universe

i thought that sounded nice
so i ordered another round
and asked him to feed me more

he said god would visit him often
while fishing the deep pools
lock and dam fourteen created
near the banks of the mississippi

it was there when the whole world
slept that catfish after catfish
struck his line
breaking the silence
and exorcising
the demons
planted inside him centuries ago
by a paranoid church and state

i leaned back in the barstool
and nodded my head
drawing smoke to my lungs
curiously asking him
about the bait he used
as the bartender yelled
‘last call’



december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Towards Davenport’s Ones


We’d buy smokes and tall boys
and fill up the ’69 Tempest
at the Mobile station uphill
from where the Mississippi
runs East and West

Once underneath I-74
we’d hang a right onto Riverside Drive
wind our way towards East Village

The late August sunrays
reflected a lifeline
off the murky wakes and white sails
latching its horizontal eyes
onto the Pontiac
lasering its rims as it speeds
towards Davenport’s ones



september two thousand ten
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Little Mill


We used to get in the car and drive Northeast
to Bellevue in Jackson County,
to a place where prehistoric Woodland Indians once roamed;
where Blackhawk himself used to call home.

Nearing the outskirts of town we wended along
the side of a hill on a gravel road,
the valley below offering pastures and wild fields
in between the meandering Little Mill.

We always ventured all the way into town first
to the Mississippi River,
where Dad would fill up with gas and buy donuts,
live bait, and a pack of cigarettes.

It was then we would run across the busy street
to the green steel fence rail,
look out over the Mighty Mississippi, count the sails
dotted up and down the river.

There was plenty of fish to catch in the river
Dad always pontificated,
but Little Mill offered what the Mississippi could not:
Rainbow Trout and isolation.


may two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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