jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “railroad”

up around the bend


in the distance you hear
repetitive pounding of steel on steel
hammer on railroad spike
near perfect in rhythmic meter
and gradually pleasing to the ear

workers form a line around the bend
like pistons rising and falling
each man a link to the next
rotating and following further and
further away from their cages


june two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

new moon rising


we walked between the lake
and the rail yards
smoking cigarettes
and spitting on
century-old ties
wondering if the midnight train
will ever arrive on time

it was a year ago tonight marshall
died on these very tracks
attempting to escape
his own restlessness
his dream of starting a
new life
in st louis or kansas city or santa fe
seemingly interrupted

we made a fire
like we always do
and sat in a circle
our voices as quiet as
stones skipping on water
our karma just a little off kilter
one of us asking out loud
why there is no moonshine


november two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

five o’clock pass


shifting down to high speed
he pushes the pedals
down down down
feeling the tension inside
thighs and calves and IT bands
grimacing and racing
approaching the rail yard

the freight train slows to a crawl
the conductor waving
outside the window
the biker stretching out one hand
high into the air
yelling
thank you thank you thank you



august two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Day Tripper


I jumped off a boxcar
in downtown Kansas City
made my way
to 18th and Vine
where Satchel Paige
pitched a complete game
at Blues Stadium

With just enough dough
for two quarts of Colt 45
and Cracker Jack
I basked in the sun
keeping score and
losing my voice cheering
on the Monarchs

Down to my last nickel
I walk toward the whistle
cold and sober
tired and hungry
needing to steal a ride
and a good night’s sleep
back to Chicago



august two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

dig


this underground railroad
runs hundreds of miles
beneath streets
built upon streets
five or six deep

it spirals deeper
into the earth
like a long and winding
corkscrew

when the excavators
reached the end
of the track
they became trapped
into a civilization
that has no end



july two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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