jdubqca

poetry by j matthew waters

Archive for the tag “cats”

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

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

casting lots from down below


I’ve been waiting for you to die
for far too long
but now here I am on my own deathbed
just as I had feared
you arriving out of the blue
and looking down at me
the last sight I’m ever going to see

I ask myself what went wrong
all these years wasted
accumulating chopsticks & stones
and buttons & bottle caps
regretting why
I never turned them
into my own trademark piece of art

already they’re talking about who will
take over my room
dozens of rats in the basement
smoking cigars
and throwing weighted dice
some whispering & some yelling
come seven come eleven




january two thousand twenty
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

recorded from memory


by the time I reached twenty-one
I had nearly died two or three times
but not once did I ask
is that all there is

now that I think of it
three times is probably an
understated calculation
and truth be told
I was shot dead
four or five times by danny burke
back in the summer of sixty-nine
each time resurrected by
cigarette-smoking and pie-eating
self-trained teenage witches

it’s funny what you remember
when reworking your
obituary [from memory]
for the seventh or eighth time




december two thousand nineteen
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

conversations kill


with the opening and closing
of so many doors
you see him and you don’t
like a houdini or apparition
like a mouse that got away
or one out of a thousand
helium balloons

sometimes he hangs out
for hours on end
whether you like it or not
time passing by with nary a word

you say it’s getting late
or hey I’ve got to get to work
but feel free to stick around
and by all means help yourself
mi casa es tu casa

by the time I get back
he’s nowhere to be found
no note and nothing taken
just a strange feeling
that sooner or later I’ll want him back
maybe after a beer or two




august two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

the next great escape


I was lost in the city
maybe for the last time
having arrived weeks earlier
held captive in a rail car

how I managed to free myself
remains a mystery even to me

this place is different
with its extensive tunnel system
all leading to the bay
where the sun sets but never rises
and the moon is always near

although wary of friendlies
I find comfort with most strangers
especially those with sandwiches
in their pockets
and forgiveness in their eyes




july two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

year of the cat


she practices her violin
sitting on the spinet bench
scratching out imperfections
into the midday air

outside it’s raining softly
bookend bay windows
slightly cranked open
letting sounds in and out

the law of attraction
is a two-way street
all the strays standing tall
from the peanut gallery
watching the house favorite
rubbing ankles
with the star of the show





march two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

unlikely guardians


who will speak to me next
as if in tomorrow
standing here on the ground
looking up
bird’s nest in the open air
curious cat in my peripheral

I realize I’m not alone anymore
it only feels that way
stepping out of my skin
for the very first time
and looking back
through a bottomless mirror

so it seems the bird and cat
have been chosen
to encourage me on
one pushing
the other pulling
both bickering
in their own beautiful way





march two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

doorman takes five


so I let the cat out and in
again and again and again

I’ve taken up meditation
attempting to calm my nerves
but he keeps scratching at the screen
challenging me to hold my tongue

his entire repertoire is like a bad movie
and why I didn’t get up and go
after the first few scenes
is beyond me

I never heard of this polar vortex
but apparently it’s a real thing
forcing me to vacate the sunroom

meanwhile we’re all safely inside
staying near the fire

on occasion
he paws at a different door
and as always
continues to politic for treats




february two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

watching cartoons in little pink houses


everyone sees him except you
my dear inspector
walking amongst the living
and very much in the thick of things
whether taking five in the studio
[sitting cross-legged in the director’s chair]
or strolling down the walk of fame
hand in hand with julie andrews

he turns your blues into pink
right before your very eyes
but all you realize is yourself
as if that oversized magnifier
is nothing but a looking glass

some say that ever elusive diamond
never did exist
but that colorful far-out cat
now he was the real deal
blending into every kind of scenery
be it on the big screen or otherwise




january two thousand nineteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

cunning like a songbird


in the kitchen uncaged canaries
chat amongst themselves
swapping oft-told tales and
keeping secrets from
black & white cat crouched
against shadowy wall

outside red-breasted nuthatches
mimic dog barking at jet airliner
piercing cumulus clouds
waiting for aforementioned feline
to give them another chance
at target practice




december two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserve

another saturday night


don’t make me get up I yelled at the dog
(in my sleep) but it was too late

the sun had been down for god knows how long
and though I was close to REM sleep
the almighty stench abruptly woke me up

by the time I reached the kitchen
and turned on the light
the cat was meowing like a maniac
but I wasn’t sure if he was in or out

I walked to the back door
and he leapt at me from out of nowhere
shredding the back of my tee
making me nearly piss my pants

needless to say I (figuratively) kicked him
out into the night

I returned to the kitchen to clean things up
thereafter proceeding to cut up
the watermelon sitting on the counter
along with a few lemons and a dozen
or so freshly picked strawberries

it was still saturday night and since I was
wide awake with no place to go
I poured myself a beer and
retired to the next room
began trying my hand at poetry




september two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

finding your comfort zone


midnight arrives and a sudden
something wakes me from my slumber
a strike of lightning perhaps
a thunderclap inside my head

I can’t breathe here lying on this bed
lazily and precariously I remove
myself off the comforter
nearly in a trance I pretend I’m
sleepwalking down the steps

I’m far from alone on the main floor
sounds of human breathing
omnipresent and unmistakably eerie
incoherent words babbling barely

I distance myself from dark thoughts
and curl up against sunroom door
cool to the touch my warm body relaxes
moonlight waxing and shimmering
exposing my off-white stripes




august two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

postcards from afar


we thought he had moved out
for good this time
leaving behind a few possessions
nobody dared to care about

some throw pillows
a trinket or two misplaced here or there
some perishables left in the pantry
and a few dirty dishes
on or around the dining room table

though he never did pay rent
we didn’t mind him hanging out
especially on quiet saturday mornings

what gets under my skin
how he never did leave a note
or better yet sent a postcard from
some faraway place
leaving me second guessing
what could I have done
to make him feel more welcome




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all right reserved

sweet imagination


on a sunny sunday afternoon
we entertained
possibilities of what could be

sitting on metal chairs
cushions still in garage
lemon beer tasting ever so sweet
we pointed at unshakable signs
better things sure to come

there were many yesterdays
full of fear and hurt and doubt
but today is what you would call
a new world order

you see the mystery cat
has returned in all his glory
sporting a wide brimmed hat
entertaining us with a song and dance
smiling for the cameras




may two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all right reserved

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