jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “train”

next train arrives on tuesday


it got dark all of a sudden
and I’m not talking due to any
daylight savings time

I’ve been saving all my life
and look where it’s got me

but of course nobody expected
me to go anywhere
at least not to frankfurt or athens
or modern day memphis

I’ve done hitched a
ride on many a train
but I’m not about to hop on one
engineered by any fool on the hill



november two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

january train


he said they knew the train was coming
but prayed it would never arrive

I said I always steer clear of tracks
especially on moonlit nights

sun’s power weakens like temporary
madness invading your sleep

one day if not the next memories
become fuel for locomotion



july two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

kansas city blues


sky big and cloudless
I count the days of sobriety

looking down the track
all I see are sixes
rolling on down the line

paper hat stuffed in back pocket
patterned like salt and pepper
sporting paper suit and
folding paper planes
riding atop the dream train

kansas city’s but a night
or two away
its lights and sounds
pulsating in my veins



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

into thin air


she sat reading a book
never looking up as the train
raced and abruptly stopped time and again
as if it had some place it needed to be

she reminded me of a morning star
transiting along smog filled clouds
maybe noticeable but memorable
slowly becoming consumed by a rising sun

I raced and stopped like the train
attempting to get closer
drawn to discover the title of the book
or why she always disappears



september two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

starving graffiti artist


downtown railroad cars
sit still in line like cows
waiting to get branded

cigarettes cost too much
but not a quart of malt liquor
or can of yellow spray paint

getting good day’s sleep
is critical for optimal performance
when working graveyard shifts

nomad apostles carry flashlights
and lighters and waxing moons
calling out on occasion to look out

not opposed to taking new requests
or collaborating on a tanker
there’s a preference for going solo
especially on kansas city southern




september two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

she had been there


the midnight train arrived early tonight
and I was running an hour late

I wasn’t even sure if she was on it
all I had was a telegram and no promise
sent from chicago to philadelphia
a few short days ago

I walked into the station and found a place
to stand still
   winded
       catching my breath
loosening my neck like an eagle

so it seemed all the baggage handlers
were now focused on eager
departing passengers

I took the telegram out of my back pocket
unfolded and slowly breathed it in

after breathing out
I inhaled a second time
     and closed my eyes


march two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

too many trains


I do not like the trains
daddy
I do not like how they take
my friends away

those trains are not for people
daddy
they are for cows and pigs
destined for the slaughterhouse

I’ve seen the train stations
daddy
I watched through the fence
have witnessed the police tell my friends
they are going to a better place

they line them up like animals
daddy
day after day all summer long
stuffing them into windowless cars

I know the police are lying
daddy
please please please do not let them
put me on a train


june two thousand twelve
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

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