poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “mystery”

Fortunate Son

Let’s see
how shall we begin
to describe the fortunate son

It’s impossible they say
a trick question
the description itself but a
like who killed Marie Rogêt

In the end
there is no such thing
except for a brief moment in human
that maybe just maybe
he was the boy next door
voted mostly like to become
an unsolved serial killer

januarytwo thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

working on a mystery

playing with house money
we experiment with more odds
mixing wisdom with youthfulness
courtesy of an unknown god

you scratch your proverbial head
asking which way next
pretending to comprehend
how the road only goes ahead

you’re in the passenger seat
someone else behind the wheel
no longer working on a mystery
mere mortals merely dreaming

august two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a child again

front door opens
an ornamental carving
made of oak painted barn red
stained glass eyes
cloudy & invariably blue

once inside
curtains rise & drapes open
gardens & courtyards
and disappearing slides
a library above
a darkroom below
little people handing out tickets
to the mystery show

there’s no turning back now
you take a ticket
slip it into your pocket vest
and take your place in line
as if a child again

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

standing the test of time

passing the test of time
is an impossible endeavor
if ever there was one

let’s dig into the past
layered one after another
facts & tidbits
clues & black holes
striking gold
unfolding new worlds

there is no time there

and when you’re weighed
down by the body
it’s critical to keep the
big picture
into perspective

in fact it’s essential
that you’ll not tell a soul
what it is you know
and precisely when
it’s going to happen

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

her dark secret

stay away from him
is all they said
as if to say he is
not well

a vague warning
from a small town
without a purpose
other than to cast
where there are none

she came from the city
and found him
awkward & intriguing
though at times behind
the boathouse
never felt more alive

there are no
chronological orders
to follow in this
sordid affair
her presence somehow
disturbing time
their disappearance
to this day

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

murder mystery in tel aviv

another missed opportunity
whatever the hell that means
obviously it wasn’t
supposed to happen

there is nothing to see here
whatever may have gone down
has moved on
like a violent storm
leaving you in awe but alive

I’ve become blown away
by the world around me
the one attempting
to tear me into jagged pieces
and box me up like I’m somebody
else’s latest & greatest challenge

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

cool and dark blue change

do not try to put into focus
that which remains blurred
let it fuse into nothingness
as it was meant to be

forget about putting into words
unspeakable thoughts
rather let such notions disperse
like dandelion spores

those premonitions interloping
between dreamlike states
learn to let them escape your grasp
relish in their freedom

once finding clarity in belief
you may then proceed
accepting the terms of darkness
and its mystic promise

may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

when do I get that phone call

he didn’t mean to hurt no one
he told the officer
he swore it was in self-defense

he gave me an ultimatum
he went on to say
my bankroll or my life

he said he was supposed to be
at church in the morning
but there was no way
that was going to happen
not with all the blood loss
a found silver switchblade
and a missing body

(the dogs have been out for hours
tearing up the neighborhood
looking for the least signs of life)

I didn’t kill nobody
he repeated
blood beading through
homemade stitches

april two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

In Search of Clues in Phoenix

In the sink there is a teacup
half filled with water
while on the drying rack
there is a perfect match
upside down and clean

I understand twenty questions
is just a game
but so is jenga and jacks
each requiring simple dexterity
and a playing partner

When you didn’t show up
I figured I’d gotten it wrong
but when rechecking the facts
discovered my recordkeeping
perhaps was incomplete

Like a child raising his hand
dying to answer the question
I become void of thought
incapable of speech
when called upon

Blindly crawling in the dark
I shift through ashes
of bones and feathers
sniffing for that elusive spark
certain to bring you back

january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

outside it was stone cold

there were photographs
plastered against the living
room walls

the place was a mess

there were old newspapers
and magazines
on the coffee table
and end tables
some of them cut up and
some of them barely touched

the place smelled of coffee and
cigarettes and kitty litter

some of the photographs
on the walls
had been scribbled on with blue
thin-tipped sharpies
scribbled with dates
and names
and emoticons
and many many question marks

outside it was stone cold

deep down inside
the photographs
were the only sane things
that kept a hopeful tomorrow alive

january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

into the great wide open

a box on the side of the road
not a box really but a folder
a small folder at that
the kind with a rubber strap
wrapped around to keep the flap shut
ensuring that whatever would be inside
could not easily be outside

it was just sitting there on the
graveled shoulder of highway 13
and somehow I had spotted it
driving some sixty miles per hour
its image now just a snapshot
first and foremost in my mind

traffic was light but each time
someone drove by I imagined
the lunchbox-sized folder
fluttered from each sixty mile per hour draft
the rubber strap gradually shifting
loosening and eventually opening
exposing what was once concealed
launching the contents up and out
into the great wide open

august two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

no I don’t have a gun

she bought me a gun
just for fun
and in her closet it stayed
tucked away in her sock drawer for
weeks on end

for whatever reason
she never boxed or wrapped
or stuck it in a decorative bag
instead just tagged it with my initials
and birth date and a smiley face

sometimes I wonder
if I need such protection
I told the detective as his assistant
strapped me into the poly

june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

somebody’s going to die in the land of fools

tower guards flash spotlights
across the desert sky filled with zeppelins
searching for someplace to hide

the wreckage in the field goes unnoticed
for nearly a fortnight

by the time help arrives nothing is out of place

ever since
black sheep wander the land of fools
where someone is certain to die
any given night
slaughtered by supersonic streams of consciousness
running artificial red lights

may two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

room by room

I walk down the steps into an open
foyer with the lights on

the morning sun sprays itself into the
house from everywhere

I walk across the wooden floor
sabotaged by kitty toys
and broken promises

I open the refrigerator door
for more artificial light
and orange juice concentrate

things are starting to come back to me now
I say to myself

audibly clearer than a whisper
I wonder out loud
what lies in the next room

december two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

priced to sell

the realtor led the young couple
from furnished room
to furnished room
the baby fidgety and vocal and strapped
to her mother’s back
as if innately aware
why the previous owners’ children
priced the fabulous walkout ranch
to sell on the very first showing

september two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


From the highland region
Where the northern breeze
Brings inland the sea
Ancient trails once escorted
White men on well-dressed horses
Into a beauty called Bridgetown.
Besides its honesty, the grandeur
Of this place—wrapped
In ancient walls
And storied history—
Has little to do with surviving
Illicit trades or ugly slave wars
But in knowing the raging sea
Turns nearly empty dreams
Into untold realities.

september, two thousand eleven
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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