poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “road trip”

river crossing

highways & county roads & small towns
crisscrossing the landscape
no maps necessary
push in the clutch & shift into fifth
release & press the petal to the floor

interstate travel provides just rewards
whether legal or otherwise
one particular dispensary
open seven days a week
on the illinois side of the mississippi

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

turn by turn navigation

what should we do when the lights go out
do you remember that one time
[of course you do]
clouds coming & going as they please
each time a slightly different
version of its former self

we’ve made our way to this town before
where the five-way stop is unmarked
[and that one time]
we took the wrong turn & knew it
but we kept driving north
until the road was no more

lights burn out while others reappear
it’s like a reflexive movement
[we’ve talked about it]
designed to keep you experimenting
road trips without maps
& nights begging for light

may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

involuntarily off the grid

while two men and a woman
fix a flat somewhere near area 51
I wonder what will be the next stop
pancakes or mountainsides
or batteries plus

I’ve not been on a bus for decades
and I’m sure as hell ain’t gonna
get kicked off this one

there was a minor altercation
not that long ago
three unruly riders [most likely aliens]
unarmed but causing a ruckus
getting the worst of it by the acting sheriff
and his newly sworn deputies
a few miles shy of groom lake

there’s no signal out here
but I’m cautiously optimistic
that too will change
killing time playing sudoku offline
on my refurbished chromebook

july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

turn by turn navigation

how can it be that you’re with me
every step of the way
even though you’re nowhere
near the vicinity

the roadmap in my pocket
changes constantly
and though I’ve been tempted
on multiple occasions
to pitch it out the window
I continue to spread it out
finding new ways
to reach same old places

[the best roadmap is one
that can be folded
many different ways]

soon spring will become summer
and the summer sun
will recharge my batteries
getting me back on the
road to recovery
your spirited old self
back in the proverbial saddle
guiding me turn by turn

april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

too many moons

we started out just as the sun
was giving it a rest
picking you up right on time
just as we had planned

we were cruising down
first avenue
and you were reading me
my horoscope
laughing in between chugs
of tall boy budweiser

tom petty was singing
in the background
something about rolling
another joint
and your eyes lit up
and I pressed on the gas

next thing I knew
we were chasing down
too many moons
right out of this well lit county
and into the next

february two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

afternoon road trip for two

I’ve not been down this road
in decades
pushing foot on clutch
and shifting gears
reliving a life that has no end
trees weeping around the bend

eyes crystal clear and protected
by bill of cap
sun baking asphalt
and tires gripping
speeding forward toward the light
resting stop nowhere in sight

soul-searching takes a back seat
on saturdays
traversing new paths
and fantasizing
top down and silk scarf ablaze
sunglasses concealing your gaze

november two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserve

mirror for the sun

widening curves and picking up speed
mind free from yesterday’s rearview
reminds me of day trippin’ ditty
traveling purposely with favorite allies
bags packed but mindlessly left behind

we’ve not been down this road before
but how she sure looks oh so familiar
holding tight as we lean around the bend
keeping screams to ourselves before
letting loose down straight and narrow

fm radio streaming without static
cooler in back keeping coronas cold
we chase a sideways moon sinking into sea
determined to find the end of the road
and drive a stake into a brand new day

july two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

changing course to calico

we went to the coast to relax
but the ocean turned angry
chasing us back towards bakersfield
on route fifty-eight

somewhere along the way
we stopped for coffee and gas
highway bandits lifting the surfboards
before we received our change

(none of the cellular towers
seemed to be operable
many of them laying horizontal
between barren oil fields)

the clouds above were filled with
rain refusing to confess
lightning and thunder merely
static racing through the speakers

stoned boys in back suggested
we change our course to calico
where they said the honky-tonk there
was certain to change our luck

june two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

west coast swing

there’s nothing wrong with my eyes
you son-of-a bitch sitting
in the fourth row behind the dugout

I just had them checked the other day

I bought a new jesus crucifix and replaced
the chain with gold leather lace
took it over to the nearest church
and had the padre bless the damn thing

“I watched you on television the other night” he said
“you’re uppercutting everything”

no shit sherlock I said to myself
and thanked him and got the hell out of there

that night I went oh for four and struck out three times

we lost again on getaway day and I spent
the afternoon warming the bench
cheering on the guys and happy knowing
my average wasn’t going to drop again

“you know” said the boss “you should consider
shaving off that seven-day beard

“and as soon as we get home buy your sweetie
some roses and ask her nicely if she’d kiss
the tips of your bats”

may two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

road trippin’

i had taken this road
so many times
in my german sportscar
from highway thirteen
to one fifty-one
just as the sun played
peekaboo with the rolling hills

memory and instinct
found me banking
the wide curves and picking up
speed into the straightways
my mind free
from the distractions
of yesterday’s troubles

slowing into the next
historic cottage
i spotted a freshly paved lane
heading towards the valley’s bluff
my machine fast
flying straight off the edge
into a waking paralysis

june two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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