Cats Poem by Javier Campos


Castrated, they explore the universe of the house,
Indiscernible during the most unexpected hours of the day
Nearly somnambulists, they doze from the treacherous cold

To their ears— genuine furry radars—arrive distant sounds
from the mysterious universe, imperceptible voices,
perhaps signals from other stars

one of them goes to explore this galaxy of furniture,
these melancholy windows, neurotic plants,
these books resting like toads, clothing, bored
dozing on a chair,
or they walk like ghosts around this flesh
embracing other flesh

sniffing the skin of these two fevered lovers curiously
as if discovering that the stars also
hold delicious aromas for
their refined and powerful noses

and then he continues his minute-furry-elephant march,
content to see one more day of his nine lives,
he jumps, light as a feather to the window
where the sun
is and there he relaxes, rubbing himself against the glass,
as though he had finally come upon the beautiful sultry sand
of the moon

and the other one, his friend, his lover, his companion, his pal
—with cats one never knows—
who lies sleeping still,
stirs on the soft sofa and in a sweet dream foresees
a feline catastrophe:

that his friend, his lover, his companion, his pal,
is not by his side;
feels for the first time the bitterness of the morning,
like an ordinary alley cat

and clutching his dark, ominous dreams,
he takes off, a lightning flash in search of the disappeared

and walks, meowing with the pain of an injured animal
as if he had received some insensitive hunter’s bullet
or the cruelest torturer’s torment

and through the galaxy he goes, distraught, crazed, depressed,
dodging with lightning speed the rocks passing overhead,
meteorites like atomic bombs could turn him to dust,
the universe’s lethal radiation would leave him worse off than a wet cat,
the sunlight almost blinds him, but the cat has
a sophisticated system that distinguishes the bad light
from the good

he scans, manages to spot among all the darkness that envelops
a hidden mouse, that little creature sweating at the thought of being devoured,
but he keeps walking (not preoccupied by hunger)
surrounded by other planets,
passing below the heavenly bodies, the star, the galaxies,
silently he enters the sun’s burning rays and leaves
almost singed, sweating,

his beautiful coat smells burnt;

and when finally he arrives at the window
and sees his friend, his companion, his lover, his pal,
so indifferent, lying belly up,
satisfied, enjoying the marvelous morning light,

he caresses, bites him, licks him, sniffs him, awakens him;

and the other, surprised:

caresses him, bites him, licks him, sniffs him, kisses him.

(Translated from Spanish by Alba Skar and Jessica Treat)

***The poem “Cats” got the First Prize –in the long poem category- in the prestigious International Award Contest “Juan Rulfo” 2002 from Radio France and Radio H.J.C.K, Colombia

Javier Campos

Javier Campos

Chile, now in USA
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