jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “violence”

repeating history


the problem with the world today
we’re living in the past
like a smoker who can’t kick the habit
we’re unable to quit killing
whether sanctioned by allegedly legitimate
power brokers
or straight up civilian violence

when I was a kid we played
cowboys & indians
cops & robbers
doctor & nurse
role playing because we were left
to our devices
and our parents bought us weaponry
and any kind of idol we would ask for

on sundays we were reminded how evil
we truly were
and twice or maybe three times a year
we were forgiven all our sins

come monday however
we were right back at it
perpetuating the only thing that made sense





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

otherwise you’d still be alive today


I thought I had something
but when I looked back
nothing was there

how do you keep yourself
together
when we all know
what happens in the end

the story can be anything
you want it to be
as long as you’re open
to interpretation

building confidence
is the hardest part
it takes time & patience
rare traits for brilliant minds

now trust is another matter
altogether

you never should have
told me your plan
otherwise you’d still
be alive today

maybe





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

it was supposed to be a romantic comedy


on the spaghetti western set
the director directed
the fill in cowboys
to keep their smartphones
in their holsters

handguns were banned
but all the hotshots were adept
at concealment
though lacked commitment
in relation to their lines

the critics complained
about too many fist fights
and not enough
shoot yourself in the foot
kind of scenes

to me the whole thing
was nothing but a parody
on the american condition
old school shootouts
redefined by a new reality





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

I wonder about her


on an early sunday morning
at a nightclub downtown
two are dead & ten wounded

the police chief proclaims
it’s a peaceful city

but this is the twenty-first century
& anything is possible

the flattening of architecture
            the eradication of human groups
the barbarity         of technology
      the weaponization of
                                                outer space
hours later
church bells ring loud in all
the downtown churches
huge doors opening & shutting
the fat lady singing from the balcony

yellow tape & chalk outlines
I look & listen for some sort of sign
and wonder about her





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

addicted to the madness


shots fired in the tourist district
a stampede in the streets
just past midnight

the eyes of children fearless & furious
peer through casement windows

though brighter than the morning light
they dare not stare too long
lest they go blind

sirens & flashing lights & gunshots
feet running & cars screaming

confusion reigns & becomes supreme
bodies pretend to sleep
just past midnight

the eyes of children fearless & furious
regaining count of all the sheep

refuge & solace sought after
who will offer comfort
in this chaos

as if thrown into a make-believe mob
they act without instruction

moonshine barely noticeable
spotting bullet casings
just past midnight

the eyes of children fearless & furious
rewinding & replaying





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

heaven on earth


don’t let current events get you down
the world has always been this violent

most of the time we pretend to be safe
in our homes behind locked doors

in the summer windows wide open
curtains waltzing freely
          and in the winter
we keep them shut
feline asleep on the narrow sill
basking in the sun

out of control wildfires
fueled by straight line winds
and hundreds of dream homes
alter the landscape and complicate
the notion of heaven on earth





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

The art of disturbing the peace


The world has never been
a safe place
not in 1969 or the roaring nineties
whether in Sandwich Illinois
or half a world away

Past revolutions & world wars
at times take a back seat
to today’s atrocities
perpetuated by lone wolves
or governments (seemingly)
legitimate or otherwise

As the writer Baldwin
once eloquently illustrated
security is but an illusion
created by society
uniquely necessary
for reasons inexplicable





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

Summer of violence


Lennon once sang about happiness
being a warm gun
an ironic musing in the final analysis
and something that always
struck me as très bizarre

Where I’m going here is nowhere
over forty years later
hundreds of Lennon’s killed per day
(by way of a warm gun)
in these Violent States of America





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

I’ve got a little boat and she’s seaworthy


somehow I continue to live here
expansive and dangerous
stretching from ocean to ocean
long after the continents
lost its interconnectedness

we make music out of trees
and jewelry out of oysters
how is it we can’t make peace
out of the most basic tenets
all religions seem to practice

elections and appointments
aren’t working any better
than heritage or privilege
ordinary people standing up
and speaking out perilously

change is at hand and the end
is near continue to play out
like a broken historical record
replaying sunday hangings
and friday crucifixions




september two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

god have mercy on their souls


violence breeds violence
how am I not next to fall victim
unless forever denying
my own spirituality

daily horoscope reads
steer clear of stone temples
making sure to feed your dog
before feeding your own face

it matters not the holiday
be it passover or easter or diwali
ramadan or day of the dead
wherever worshipers gravitate
the sun continues to rise





april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

living on the blind side of the city


the more populated we become
the more dangerous are the streets
all kinds of people packing heat
be they good or bad or indifferent

I don’t own a gun and I’m beginning
to wonder if that’s a good idea
thinking the older I get
the more vulnerable I’ve become

please don’t get me wrong
even though it’s a sad state of affairs
many positive things are happening
inside cities both large and small

but in the meantime here I am
living in the present moment
pretending the problem isn’t mine
as I go about my daily life





april two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

burning down the church


the church caught fire
soon after midnight
awakening the entire
sleepy little town

there wasn’t enough
water to extinguish
the insatiate flames climbing
past the steeple
eyewitnessed by those
trickling in from blocks away

one tanker
two tankers
three tankers arrived
sirens screaming for attention
fluorescent wings giving directions

night gave way to dusk
bird calls beginning to be heard
above the dwindling din
the sun resurfacing
exposing the ruins and the
worshipers singing
inside this town
and the next



february two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

that gun in your hand


click click bang
reload your clip and
take aim of my heart

I don’t give a damn and
I don’t want to know
how you found the courage
to become someone you’re not

click click bang
bring me to my knees
and make me close my eyes
but just promise me one thing
promise me the world
won’t end tonight


february two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

yesterday’s news


the headlines don’t concern me
unless I’m in them
or someone I know
and then I want to have some input
regarding the font type
and the font size
and all that jazz

I could just see myself
being that guy behind
the glass office saying
listen here I need a story
and I think I need it yesterday
so you better deliver
or else you’ll be buying
milk and bread with food stamps

next thing I know that dead-beat writer
is sticking one of those
spy gun slash ballpoint pens
underneath my chin
telling me he’s more than willing
to blast me all the way to the front page
for just a little notoriety




july two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

this is not a test


there i was sitting in english class
talking about the duality
of holden caulfield
when all of a sudden the television
hanging in the corner of the classroom
awakened like a jolt of lightning
and the doors suddenly closed
and automatically locked

twenty of us just sat there in silence
removing the oxygen
from the dead air
and i recall thinking how everything
i’ve accomplished up to this point
was going to hang on tightly
as i slipped through the little window
stepping into a brand new life


february two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

just what the world needs


there are too many bad guys
running around.
they’re everywhere
and they make everyone nervous.

these bad guys either carry guns
or they have access to them
or they have whole armies
at their disposal.

there are too many bad guys
running around.
they go to school
or work for the private sector
or the public sector
or no sector at all.

the bad guys either work alone
or become organized as gangs:
some considered illegal
and some considered legitimate
depending upon your perspective.

there are too many bad guys
running around and can be found
anywhere on the planet.
just pick a spot.
they are on television
and some of them provide the news
about the bad guys in waterloo
or shanghai or timbuktu.

there are too many bad guys
running around and they aren’t
going away anytime soon.



january two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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