jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “winter”

feeding time in the stable


the horses are mind readers and can sense
your footfalls hitting concrete steps
from over fifty yards away

though they’ve been fed they’ll need
another meal somewhere down the line
in between new hired hand
hauling empty pails
up thirty-three steps seven times a day

the trails are sloppy from the january thaw
but the horses are quite content
staying put for the foreseeable future
and reminiscing about longer days
about a scoop of grain and two flakes of hay



january two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

a streetcar with no name


the sun won’t rise for a couple
hours more
but already the roads
are snow-covered above
and icy below

in most neighborhoods
the morning paper never arrives
and to anyone
daring to venture outside
experiences soft wood burning
and blackbirds squawking

up and down the streets
automobiles idle in driveways
or along curbsides
warming up to new ideas

(earlier a deadly accident
occurs on a lonely street corner)

you cannot hear it
nor can you sense it
you cannot even fathom it
until it slowly disseminates into the air
over a relatively short period of time



december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

before the honeymoon


the war ended the day
before the winter solstice
and on the next day
on sunday morning
the newspaper arrived
without fanfare

the blizzard never came
as predicted
and the parade downtown
well
it was canceled

a few of us decided
to meet at a tavern
in the old town district
sampling for the very first time
local craft beers
and delicata squash

when the sun went down
we went our separate ways
like we had always done



december two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

windchill minus seventeen


on the coldest of sundays
I read the paper in bed
sipping hibiscus tea
radio station streaming
top forty songs from 1972

though the sun shines brightly
casting diagonal rays
at my concealed feet
its perceived warmth is merely
an allusion of spring

sometimes I turn my head
and count cardinals
flying past the window
probably insanely curious
as to when I’ll make
my next move


february two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

snow covered driveways


in the winter I move my
badass twenty-speed road bike
out of the garage and
down to the basement where
it hangs out of sight and mind

when the next morning arrives
I take to the streets on foot
dressed in layers so not
one part of my old body gets cold
except for maybe my cheeks

some days the streets are better
options than sidewalks
because so many lazy neighbors
can’t seem to properly clear them off

you can tell a lot about a neighbor
by looking at their sidewalks and driveways

when driveways remain snow-covered
for days on end
it tells you they’re either down in florida
yukking it up with the joneses
drinking arnold palmers and
never giving it a thought if the neighbor kid
was actually earning his keep
or they’re hopelessly homebound
deathly ill or worse yet
dead and gone
without a soul in the world
wondering where they are


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

as far as the mind can see


I dressed hurriedly for today’s
adventure out in the cold white country
beyond suburban houses shut
tight for the winter
smoke billowing out chimneys
and metal caps on rooftops

slamming the door behind me
I race down snow-covered streets
lined with streetlamps and skeleton trees
knapsack draped over one shoulder
carrying ice skates and hot chocolate
extra scarves and over-sized mittens

upon reaching base camp
the very last lot where town ends
and wilderness begins
dozens of boys gather where machines
made to conquer the snow sit idling
destined to take us places
not yet known


january two thousand sixteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

never a dull moment


I saw that young grey squirrel
all winter long
chasing cars and
scaring dogs on leashes
jumping at them from out of nowhere
then zigzagging here then there
zipping out of sight laughing

I imagined he had stashes of nuts
all over the neighborhood
because he always looked
lean and mean
more energetic than any winter
squirrel I ever did see
scampering all over like it was spring

on days when the magic seemingly
runs dry I wish I could
reach into his bag of tricks
pull out a masterpiece that
makes you suddenly hit the brakes
sending your sedan swerving
over the curb and
slamming into your own snowman


january two thousand fifteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

The Route


Before the alarm sounds the route would be traced
In my mind. The wind and snow and ice reminds me
That one day efficiency will be gained
By the bike. In those days Mother or Father
Don’t wake at five-thirty to afford assistance.
Never in the dead of winter do their warm,
Intimate bodies think of withdrawing from the
Comfort of their bed. I arise nonetheless, finger
Touching the “off” button just as the clock crows,
My sanity wishing for the morning birds that
Used to be my signal. The route could always be
Done in my sleep, so I contend, though I had never
Tried once, not even during the worst Iowa blizzard
When the sub-zero temperatures prevent the
Bundle from arriving. On that day the rounds are
Made after school when friends throw snowballs at cars,
Their actions envied and mimicked by contemptuous
Paperboy throws. During the shorter days, when the route
Takes twice as long than by bike, my first fonts
Evolved: paperless poems and tool-less music
Self-absorbing like the Salem I smoke: one every
Four blocks. At that hour only Judge Benton and
Missus Vee might see the glow or breath from my air,
Slightly thicker than usual as I exhale the noxious
Words. Even then I want to be older than my age
An excuse for cursing and smoking and
Believing without doubt that to achieve immortality
Is to withstand the next winter.


originally penned nineteen ninety-seven
audio recorded november two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

no going back


there is no going back
I think to myself
sitting alone and staring out the bay window
as if I was under house arrest

outside it is very white
and very cold
and I would do anything to see
someone walk by with their dog
but it is too cold for that
it is too cold for even the mailman
to swing by I suppose

I meander to the back window and look
outside for signs of life

I squint at all the undressed trees
sticking out of the blinding white ground

show me a juvenile cardinal I say to myself
but there are no juvenile cardinals
to be found

I go into the kitchen and sit at the counter
open a can of nuts I had stashed
away months ago
muttering to myself
there is no going back


february two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

seeing things


I crossed the bridge on the coldest
day of the year just as the noon
whistle blew

on the frozen river below
hundreds of geese huddled together
on the sunlit ice

once inside the downtown deli
I warmed to a cup of soup
and toasted sandwich

driving back across the bridge
the geese had vanished
into the bitter winter air



january two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

far side of the sun


amid dark winter nights
I lay out glorious plans
to conquer the seed
the wind and the rain

the whiteness of the world
inspires me to envision
perfect days where irises
bloom under moonlight

sacred revolutions seem
as remote as paradise
testing my patience
from far away places


january two thousand fourteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Winter Blues


butterflies are nothing but
welcomed distractions in a
hurry-up-world
long after the youth of careless
rebellion becomes
netted in routine



december two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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