jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “winter”

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

Streets of Saint Petersburg


Lost inside Saint Petersburg
I travel by foot toward the river
church bells ringing silently
deadened by the dank air
creeping down my neck

I swear I see your pretty face
among the many gathered
‘round Palace Square
faces reddened by the wind
or wrapped in woolen scarves

Just as metallic music erupts
below the darkening clouds
young souls scream to life
and storm center stage
like a swarm of angry wasps

Lost inside Saint Petersburg
I blow on my hands and
stuff them inside my jacket
my feet taking me closer
to the river and back to the
University where I belong


october 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

Springtime in Russia


The six-month winter miraculously
segues into a psychedelic fever
of blossoming apple trees
and awakening white birches
as white-fronted geese
flock along an endless sky
painted robin’s-egg blue.

Outside the city garden plots
become reacquainted
with agrarian hands skilled
from generation’s past
furiously planting and artfully
nurturing all that is necessary
to survive the next winter.



‘Springtime in Russia’ youtube video

january two thousand thirteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

another iowa winter


nobody knows what the weather
is like in iowa
just like they don’t know gigantic
potatoes only grow in idaho

in january it’s so damn cold here
the cows don’t move
so it’s easy to walk right up to them
and snap photograph after photograph

there are no metropolises in iowa
just little towns
with a post office and a tavern
where you can tie your horse to a post

in the winter the winds blows so cold
it leaves you shivering
until march when the sun penetrates
the earth and reality begins to blossom



december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the natural rink


the lighted pond
attracted the townsfolk
on christmas eve
all eager to trade their boots for blades
and chase their shadows
across the ice
their arms and legs seemingly moving
in different directions
as feet shuffle and glide
race and coast
their chatter audible and visible
in the bright brisk air
with an occasional rump
every so often
testing the thickness
of the natural rink



december two thousand twelve
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

December Sun


Bottle the warmth
of late August
sunshine,
stow it where
no one
will guess.

When the sub-zero
midwestern storm
attacks,
uncap the sample–
stay warm
until the thaw.

December Sun
click here for youtube video

poem and image by j matthew waters
copyright nineteen ninety-three
all rights reserved

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