jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Animals”

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

just a phase


it was a billy joel kind of morning
the big hand crossing over six
she’s always a woman playing on the a-side
soon to flip over to anthony’s song

in the old days you’d make a racket
demanding I clock in as the doorman
before I was good & ready
even before the first song ever ended

over time your musical tastes changed
right along with mine
lately banging our heads against the door
reluctant to find what’s on the other side




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

fueling the fire of creation


we carved him out of an old cedar
all that remained that is
all eight feet tall of him

we kept his arms by his sides
& his chin slightly lifted
his abandoned eyes looking westward
forever waiting for the seven o’clock sun

as we worked together diligently
using chainsaws & assorted knives
the children scrambled feverishly
around his root-like feet
crafting creatures out of clay

after nightfall the squirrels & sparrows
rabbits & foxes & owls & porcupines
[just to name a few]
burned inside the oven of creation
the cedar stretching ever taller
toward a night sky that has no end




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

Losing a whole year


I’ve seen this before
it’s what some call a repeat
déjà vu if you will
like a herd of elephants
lumbering across the sky

I’ve seen this before
magically recasted to the TV
runners on second & third
the next three batters
striking out looking

I’ve seen this before
rain falling like stars
washing out the elephants
and delaying the game
probably until next year




august two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

one million pound piñata


seventy-seven bush elephants
masquerading as one cumulus cloud
slowly trek across the desert sky
bulging like a waxing gibbous

hired archer standing atop zeppelin
back bending backwards
held in place by ropes & pulleys
aiming to deflate the entire herd




may two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

after a fortnight in isolation


pooh bear and roo sit on the front porch
rocking in their chairs six feet apart
a wicker table between them
enjoying iced tea & honey & small talk

people passing by gawk & smile & point
delighted to see they’re back in business




march two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

more mercy please


I dreamed I was a pantomime cat
who refused to show any mercy
spending his days daydreaming
and nights wandering the streets
acting out whatever it was
he daydreamed about

my eyes were emerald green
my coat a steely gray
and whenever the streetlamps
shined their light my way
I changed my stripes and
hightailed it the hell out of there

I tell myself one of these times
I won’t make it back alive
but in the meantime I’ll keep
challenging the status quo
working mathematics by day
and my daydreams by night




march 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

some fifty years later


mysteriously curious
I am unloved and underfed
walking along
so many fine lines
in and out of these city limits

acquaintances
may come and go
regardless if dead or alive
leaving me pondering
what the morning will bring

when the sun reaches out
touching me genuinely
I am reminded how
beautifully tragic we are
even though we have
more lives yet to live




november two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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