jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the category “Animals”

The Absence


There is an absence that is indefinable
as if the ghost dog who once roamed freely
throughout the house had suddenly departed

It was the cat who first noticed the absence
bringing it to my attention by way of behaviors
that were secondary to her nature
entering my dreams unconventionally
revealing other lives I once lived

In the morning I stand in the shower
warm water washing away dirt & blood &
anything strangely unsettled or emotionless

Going through the motions is an expression
best left for those who have given up
no longer searching & thereby incapable of
finding the smallest of things that had been lost





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

the body snatchers


the neighborhood
was littered with feral cats
black & white
blue & yellow & green
and every other shade
in between
the majority of them
food stamp carriers
all the others hiding
in the shadows
keeping the rodent population
under control
all the while steering clear
of the recently formed
fleet of drones
locally & affectionately known
as the catnappers





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

introducing old topics as new


the fish are biting & man bites dog

the beach is brimming with confidence
hanging ten a common occurrence
getting twisted into a pretzel
running at similar odds
as getting shot or arrested

down by the pier the fish are biting
and kids with smartphones
chill beneath the decking
researching ammunitions
and ordering ghost guns

on the trail dogs dressed as cops
walk on their hind legs
flashing their five-pointed stars
and barking randomly
hardly anyone
seeming to take notice





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

barking at the bay window


it was near midnight
the dog was barking
waking me mid-dream
just as I was I ready
to corner the dormouse

I stretched & yawned
slowly rising to my feet
stretching my legs
& lifting my back upward
toward the ceiling

by this time the dog
had retreated back to her bed
but eventually curiosity
& the red full moon
got the better of me





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

ghost cats of the historic mill district


the walls are rock solid here
repurposed mill district buildings
turned into restaurants
& other retail establishments
studio & two bedroom efficiencies
on 2nd & sometimes 3rd floor
anything higher than that
allegedly under reconstruction

most of the domesticated
& feral felines of the day
enjoyed their finest of nine lives
in the late 19th & early 20th centuries
their dominance still apparent
to this very day
chasing real life moths & mice
from one building to the next





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

by land or by sea


what shall we do
after we have seen it all
said the turtle
to the oracle
—shall we sail
far below the ocean
never to be seen
on land again
or shall we continue
to suffer
as we are
pretending all is grand





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

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

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