jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Animals”

the days I lived alone


I am trapped inside this house
a house without mirrors
all of them stolen
by mice & men

here I am left to own devices
setting traps
& replaying forty-fives
with the volume on high
as I attempt to wipe away
all the evidence
all the blood
from the bathroom
& the kitchen
and down below
where the furnace roars

I don’t really live here
anymore
it seems the mice
have taken over
a transitional situation
to say the least





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

hitching a ride out of the war zone


the television is too loud
and the radio plays softly
the ambient air
cooler than it needs to be

the clouds are low
puffy like pink elephants
roaming the skies
in search of a little drink
or a romp in a puddle of mud

all the noise from the inside
evaporates in a heartbeat
courtesy of a smart bomb
delivered from the far side

caravans become as common
as the latest virus
instinctively searching
for clear skies
like wolves or jackals
or hyenas would do





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

someone like me


because slow motion is boring
and fast forward
makes no sense
unless you’re sitting inside
a time igloo

the fire went out somewhere
around mid century
and ever since
the dogs & I have been
trekking southward

we had a map
but had to eat it when
corned by four coyotes

they let us off the hook
except for the youngest mutt
his mother crying
for the next seven days

we kept praying for rain
but all we got was this cold
fierce wind
sent directly from the north pole

they kept asking
where we’re going
and I said shut the fuck up
you’ll know when we get there

it’s not cold anymore
but we’re still numb
devastated by the
relentless fire
chasing us down like we’re
common criminals

I tell them the dakotas
must be near





may two thousand twenty-two
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the lord of the elephants


first day of first grade
mother drops off son
the former feeling independent
the other apprehensive

but this particular school
does not belong to anyone
save the children

they are the rulemakers
the judges & the jury
the fate of others in their hands
the good & the bad
and all things in between
separating the ugly from the beautiful
always mindful of keeping
the white elephant at bay





december two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

postcards & signposts


I’m thinking the older one gets
the scarier the world becomes
demons and/or the devil himself
milling about the place
when left to my own devices

sending out letters but receiving none
I was beginning to think
the fox is better company than people
that the goldfinch in the bird bath
is a perfect little singer

felines pace along the perimeter
keeping in touch by way of listening
some invisible & others not
nearly all of them transitioning
back from the underworld





october two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

technocat


the central banker
was technically
a technocrat
but in professional circles
was simply known
as ‘technocat’

her name was katie
but her friends
called her betty
known to line ‘em up
and knock ‘em down
every saturday night

on occasion
she’d end up missing
for a day or three
only to return to the glee
of the other technos
relying on her expertise





august two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one step closer to golden valley


the last of the great cities fell
piecemeal in a matter of minutes

it was the year the music
died for the third time
in all of human history

this must be it
or so said a cult of survivors
having managed to run off with
the whiskey & rye

they followed the stars by night
(and slept by day)
the owl & the red fox & fireflies
becoming their champions

the smell of destruction
gradually faded
from town to town
the only signs of life continuing
to be their own entourage





august two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

intercepting inner city messages


five hour energy doesn’t
do much good
in these here streets
you’re better off using
old fashioned razor blades
& disposable needles

the neighbor’s cat
has gotten pretty good
at keeping us mostly safe
flashing the all clear signal
when not whoring around
from dawn until dusk

the building frowns upon
out-of-state visitors
but they’re usually the ones
with the best product
& with the cat’s help
we’re able to smuggle them in





july two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

drifting like a ghost


there is sadness in the air you can feel it


the wind is still
and the sun comes & goes
as if it’s a domestic cat
not really knowing
what she wants

I open the door
but the cat will not enter
she just sits there
looking sad

the wind is still
and moon is nowhere
to be found
perhaps sadder than
the rest of us
solitarily crying

I close the door
and the cat begins to wail
I walk away & pretend
that I am deaf

the wind is still
and the clouds are full of rain
but the rain
does not fall
held back by something
outside of my knowing

I open the window
the winds begin to blow
exposing both sun & moon
the cat drifting like a ghost




july two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

back into your busy world


how far you’ve roamed
little lamb
chased away by barking dogs
on the hunt for a scent
nothing to do with
the likes of you


further lost day after day
tip-toeing on pins & needles
the rock tricky
& occasionally vertical
hopefully opening to a surprise
on the other side

another sleepless night
gave way to northern winds
bringing with it
dreams of the future
retracing countless steps
back into your busy world




june two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

failing at REM sleep


a bark woke me up
I lumbered down the stairs
half naked
and there was this cat
on the other side of the storm door


by the time the rising sun
tapped me on the shoulder
I recalled how the dog
chased the cat
to the dark side of the moon

as I was tying my shoes
I had no recollection
of the overnight rain storms
fairly certain I failed yet again
to attain REM sleep




may two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

setting water on fire


       1
some assembly required
is what the ushers
told the animals
as they escorted them
into the amphitheatre
seating the smaller ones
in the front rows
& going from there

       2
the sky was all lit up
thanks to a couple greek gods
brightening the flora
that flourished
on the outer edges of the world
abundant stardust
keeping them well fed

       3
this story’s been told before
how a man
removed the heart of another
offered it to the sky
[still beating]
& none of the animals
looked away

       4
the skies opened
as if to say there is nothing
to look at
the show is over
be gone be gone

       5
there was no place to go
& the rains wouldn’t stop
all the animals in the world
were left bewildered
wondering why man chose
to squander apparent intelligence

       6
it was supposed to be
a day of rest
instead the oceans were on fire




may two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

countdown at daybreak


it was nearing midnight
& this field mouse was winning at
playing hide-and-go-seek


I followed him into the kitchen
where I shrewdly threw
some shredded cheddar cheese
into a time capsule

by doing so I thought
I would win favor with the little chap
whom had told me [in so
many words]
how he enlisted himself to
commandeer my next moon flight




may two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

outsiders & gatekeepers


I live where most people
dare not go
believing it’s a dangerous place
with guns & drugs
and sex for sale
no matter the time of day

burrowed deep underground
I see flashes of light coming through
casement windows
turning on colorful prisms
one or two or sometimes
three times per day

from my viewpoint
I hear nothing but
peacefulness pounding on the concrete
surefire sunflowers
sprouting between the cracks

all kinds of wild animals
are critical to the neighborhood
cohabiting with humans
relentlessly protecting them
from the unnecessary evils
marching up & down the chalk line




february two thousand twenty-one
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

theory of the birds


all the birds took a break for a day
boycotting the streams & the baths
downtown sidewalks & window ledges
unmistakably absent from the airwaves
instead quietly tucked away for some
twenty-four hours
collectively testing the theory that these
so-called humans
have ceased paying attention




october two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the other side of the fence


something must be wrong
there are too many tabs open
so I shut them down
each & every one

all day long I’ve felt a bit off
so I take the backroads home
flying by & honking at this billy goat
his front hooves pressing down
on barbed-wire fence

something tells me he’s lacking
just a little patience
and next time I see him
he’ll be flagging me down
bleating in animated desperation
where might his sad woman be




september two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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