Scott Waters lives in Oakland, California with his wife and son. He graduated with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Scott has published previously in Impspired, Main Street Rag, Better Than Starbucks, The Blue Nib, The Pacific Review, Loch Raven Review, Adelaide, A New Ulster, The Courtship of Winds, Scarlet Leaf Review, and many other journals. Scott’s first chapbook, Arks, was published in 2021 by Selcouth Station, and his poem “I Could Be Anybody” was nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
The one who stopped all the traffic is in his thirties, short red hair, stands shirtless in a pair of black gym shorts atop the wire cage of the pedestrian bridge over the freeway, like some great pale bird on the lip of an eyrie, arms outstretched beneath a sky as soft and tattered blue as the T-shirt he left behind in his squalid nest an hour ago, the breeze at his fingertips summoning wings
Friday before vacation son reading at my side the will to work drivels away outside the first wildfire smoke of the summer casts Oakland in a hazy yellow light the Earth rolls itself in a bed of virus like a contented dog with fleas but nothing sticks to me except words like these— shaken from my fingers onto the page.
A Death in Brooklyn
After getting fired from my first job at a trade magazine for writing poetry on company time I began canvassing for Greenpeace, and moved into a Brooklyn apartment with three fellow canvassers. Every afternoon I drove a gang of us in a Greenpeace-owned Pontiac station wagon to the suburbs of New York City-- Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut-- and when the long evening of canvassing was over, I parked the station wagon— dubbed the White Whale — on the street outside the apartment, forgetting all about the small '73 Volkswagen station wagon my parents had given me for college graduation. ~ The Volkswagen was teal, had the engine in the rear and a trunk in front, where I packed my suitcase and a few boxes of books for the drive from Indiana through Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and finally to New Jersey, where I got myself fired. ~ The editors didn't know I was writing poetry in my office. They only knew my articles on nursing topics were poorly researched and lacked depth. They might have noticed that I had a fire in my eyes, but it was the wrong kind of fire. ~ My Volkswagen sat for months on the street outside the apartment, while I drove the White Whale for errands and for evening after evening of door slamming and the occasional $20 check to save the whales and seal pups. One day I went to start the Volkswagen, but the battery was dead. ~ A few weeks later somebody broke a window. I thought about getting the window fixed, but I didn't have jumper cables, and I didn't have much money. The car sat. ~ The next day another window was broken, and the day after that, all the windows. In another day my Volkswagen was stripped down to its chassis and axles. That night I snuck out and removed the license plate, registration slip and insurance card, leaving the blackened husk of my graduation gift to meet its fate on the streets of Brooklyn. ~ Parents never bother to forgive you, and if you ask them to, they’ll always say there's nothing to forgive.