jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “winter”

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unused wishes
and patches of blue
peek through wintry skies

floor lamp on low dim
exposing raindrops
suspended on frozen glass

solitary thoughts
packed heavily like snow
grow weary day by day

cursive writing
beautiful postcard scene
airmail stamp and brevity




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

it filters through


some birds are back but the temps
are well below zero
either they never got the memo
or they’ve come back early
for some unknown reason

I slowed down for a murder of crows
while taking the long way home
a hundred or so
cleaning up a spill of sorts near
the corn sweetener plant
once in my rearview
anxiously getting back at it

shifting gears past the hill
the music meets the sun
and the speeding locomotive
sounding off along the river
eagles circling high above
sparrows racing in my peripheral
nearly anything with wings
busily chasing dreams




february two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Partly to mostly cloudy


The groundhog checked into the bed
and breakfast on January 31st

The year was twenty twenty
and the owner thought he looked
familiar but couldn’t quite
put her finger on it

Perhaps you’ve seen me
on the big screen
the groundhog conjectured
tipping his cap as he ambled up the stairway
suitcase in tow and lilliputian tail waving

Oh one more thing
the lady of the house called out
how long will you be staying
with us Mister Murphy
you know you’re welcome here
as long as you please
she said smiling
her hands clasped together

That is so kind of you Madame
I suppose it all depends
upon this Pennsylvania weather
but to be sure
it could be as long as six weeks




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

jack daniels and candlesticks


cancellations and closings
scrolling ad nauseum
alphabetically directly below
animated weather map

the snow never came
like they said it would
though the freezing rain
arrived unexpectedly
sleeting sideways and relentlessly
coating every single wire and branch
from here until next tuesday
putting the city and her
satellites out of commission

there’ll be no welfare checks
not tonight or tomorrow or
maybe ever again
the powers that be giving way
to unapologetic anarchy
all because of a little weather




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

sequestered until the equinox


inevitable like astronomical winter
there is no stopping the fall of december
or the rise of the new year

now that the sun is at its least powerful
you imagine what will keep you warmer
hot chocolate or kentucky whiskey
an old quilt and quiet reminiscing

you wonder where everyone’s gone
when or if they’ll ever return
leading you to recall old photographs
stashed away in cardboard boxes

in the back of your mind you take your time
and flip through each and every one




december two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the spirit winter


waning crescent moves ever closer
to the morning light
unnoticed by most and understood by few
much like how autumn closes in
chasing away lovely Indian summer days
leaving you questioning how on earth
to survive the inevitable

pine trees shake and sway
sometimes forgotten like afterthoughts
standing tall and welcoming many
taking the brunt of the storm gracefully
buttressing the old farmhouse
natural insulation free for the taking

inside and out fire burns day and night
evident by smokestacks
sending signals to other life forces
both here on earth
and many light years away




april two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

melting icicles mesmerizing like prisms


winter is a temporary affair
beautiful and inviting from the inside
fires burning in twilight
bodies warm and comfortable
dreams hot and cold and as real as life itself

she looked like an angel from afar
and especially up close
a winged creature who whispered
to me in my dreams
how winter is a temporary affair
and soon I will come back to life
and she will show me how to live again

how I wanted to believe her
but in the morning all was lost
those dreams I could easily touch
once again become out of reach
and as I go about my day
I repeat to myself
winter is a temporary affair





january two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

surviving the winter (in four parts)


I am hopeful you will remain
like the timeworn stone wall
blending amongst rustic
late blooming flowers
returning year after year

white shadows lean upon
weathered wooden bench
etched with lines that
crisscross and divide
crevices like rivers carving out
deep deep memories

I am hopeful you will remain
and have not taken an early leave
before the solstice

though my eyes are weary
I am unafraid to cast my
sights westward
where the two of us sit in silence
until the late february thaw



september two thousand seventeen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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

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