poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “wild west”

the dejected cowboy

the doc told him he had trigger finger

I’m not surprised the cowboy replied
I’ve never been much of a patient fellow

yes of course that is quite evident
the doc responded
you were more than likely born
with this debilitating condition

having been given limited options
the dejected cowboy
collected his things
his pearl-handled pistols
safe inside their holsters
a single silver bullet
buttoned inside his shirt pocket

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

cowboy country church

they whooped and hollered
every time the preacher said amen
their guns at their side
fully loaded
anxious to pull them
out of their holsters

whoa my wayward boys
the preacher bemoaned
thou shalt not keep thy fingers on
thy handles
and take hold the truth
within the good book instead

the cowboys coughed
and held their hands together
fingers twitching and praying
for the preacher
to give them good reason
not to raise the roof

march two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

wild wild ordination

there is good reason to cheer
for the boys are free to go
released from recent obligations
that left them silenced

neither church nor state
had the power to hold them
(or so the story goes)

back on their horses the boys
bolted out of town
firing blanks at the moon
and rehearsing gospel music
hellbent on delivering the good news
wherever there is none

december two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Aim of the Gunfighter

I stand perfectly still
at dawn
my hands by my side
eyes frozen in time
staring fifteen paces ahead
focused on the pistol that once
taught me all I knew

If I should not live past this
moonless night
collect all the weapons
from inside my mind
and bury them deep by my side
as immeasurable treasure
in an unmarked grave

march two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

missing the most wanted

they locked down the schools
and called on the bloodhounds
from three counties away

human chains stretched across
the countryside carrying
torches and kicking stones

holding hands they waded into
cedar lake until they could
no longer breathe

throughout the city church lights
enlivened stain glass windows
well into the wee hours of the night

in the morning there was still no news
not counting the posse that
galloped out of town at daybreak

december two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

word quickly spread when the outlaw came to town

born and bred to never
trust a stranger
he rode into town
in the dark of the night
and spent the evening
with spirits of his choosing

his debts forever
remained unpaid
well into the next life
and those who attempted
to collect his bounty
would never ride again

from out of the fire
he brandished pistols
as fluid as quicksilver
anxious at exacting
vengeance upon those
who did him wrong

towards the end
there was no settling in
and the road to redemption
became an allusion
the posse presented
as a possible way out

may two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

shall we dance

i found myself without obligations
one saturday morning
and decided to ride jenny
down to the river
to parlor city where they
serve breakfast on weekends

the place was busy but i managed
to snag the last seat at the bar
and ordered a bloody mary
and hot skillet
full of meats and potatoes
and veggies and eggs

it soon became clear the clean
shaven gentlemen sitting next to me
was most likely smashed on vodka
perhaps even as high
as a champion kite

what do you do he hissed at me

i’m a poet i said shoving food in my mouth

there’s nobody smart enough in this town
to be a poet he slurred

i put my fork down and picked up
my bloody and took a healthy swallow

you listen to me i said using my best
dirty harry impersonation

i’m gonna go out to jenny and get
my colt 45
and if you’re still here
when i get back
i’m gonna make you dance

january two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

high noon

the turtle faced
a daunting challenge
but figured if a one-trick pony
could beat a donkey
then offing the rabbit
with a colt forty-five
should be as easy
as getting
a gun permit

december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved


The fear in your face
scared me half to death.
In just a matter of seconds
your eyes told me a story
I never want to hear again.

Why you drifted into the desert
that starless night
only you’ll understand.
I just prayed to god
your pistols were loaded.

august two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

The Rainmaker

Rumors of his arrival circulated for days
before riding into town on horseback.
He slowed the Mustang to a halting walk
as both man and beast lifted their nostrils
and breathed in the dust and dead air.

The Zuni Indian, dressed in dark loincloth
and white headband, dismounted
the horse and entered City Hall.

Word quickly spread from town to country
of the prearranged meeting finally taking place.
In short order Main Street swelled with people
as if a holiday parade was soon to start.

When the Mayor and the Rainmaker
swung open the doors
cheers and gunshots could be heard
from as far away as the nearest clouds.

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

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