The Cats of Ocean Beach (An ode to the homeless – of any species)

by on July 1, 2010 · 11 comments

in Culture, Ed Decker, Homelessness, Ocean Beach

Matted, greasy fur
on sickly, skeletal frames

Pupils red like rats from Hell

Disease bubbling from their innards
then dripping out their eye sockets

and you think,
“I hope that thing doesn’t come near my cats”,

the ones you feed gourmet wet food,
and buy fancy cat toys.

On Christmas morning you and your mousers sit around the tree,
open presents
and sip Sambuca
while the cats of OB shiver outside.

They look through the mail slot and wonder,

“Where’s my toy?


Where’s my sweater?”

The Cats of Ocean Beach originally appeared in Decker’s compilation of poetry, Barzilla and Other Psalms, available at Puna Press

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Moore July 1, 2010 at 9:24 am

That’s what happens when cats won’t get a job and want to just sit around an do catnip all day.
As an enraged taxpayer these lazy fleabag street cats really tick me off.
They’re ruining our community.
What about some personal cat responsibility, dammit?

(Yes, this was sarcasm. Nice poem.)


Editordude July 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Please welcome Ed Decker’s first post on the OB Rag. Decker is a well-known columnist for CityBeat and a resident of OceanBeach.


Molly July 1, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Yea! The Rag is investing in some poetry. Good move. Smart investment.


Dave Rice (a.k.a. psd/anonymouscoward) July 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Wow! The infamous Ed Decker of Sordid Tales fame on the Rag? Awesome!


Kenloc July 2, 2010 at 6:26 pm

We gave some of the cats Christmas presents this past year) Starbucks gift cards,sweaters,Razors and cream,handi wipes,toothbrushes and paste,etc.My wife and I were able to put together 5 bags last year. We go out Christmas morning to find the cats and distribute them.If anyone else would like to help us this year that would be awesome.I’d like to give them all a goodie bag but can’t afford to.The expressions of gratitude we get when we give them a gift on Christmas is the best gift I’ve ever gotten.Come help us this year!


Dave Rice (a.k.a. psd/anonymouscoward) July 2, 2010 at 6:40 pm

Now that’s a cool gesture…


Kenloc July 2, 2010 at 8:58 pm

nice poem Citizen Deck)Sambucca is disgusting though…
Snnake Plissken


obkat4ever July 5, 2010 at 12:51 pm


I’ll help. I’ve been helping my brother and sister cats out for quite some time. That is why it makes me sad to see such anger and ugliness. One thing I have learned in my life is not to JUDGE because I don’t know why, what, who, where these cats have been and experienced, just know that the GREAT SPIRIT IN THE SKY keeps giving me the ability to help, and I’ll continue to do so.



BillRayDrums July 6, 2010 at 10:26 am

I used to have a sister cat who lived on the streets of OB
She was so resourceful she lived in a tree
Robb Field was her home, free was the rent
A place she could hang and sleep, didn’t even need a tent.

Meth was her demon, it ate her soul
She’d come to the family house and treated us cold.
Every visit from her was an arduous effort in futility
To try and wrest her from the drugs that made her not see

Damage was done when she destroyed the house
My poor mother just sat quiet as a mouse
The cops came and corralled her, handcuffed her, took her to jail
And in 48 hours she was out, no bail!

Back to the streets of OB she came, with outstretched hand
With all good intentions to “live off the fat of the land”

Such a lifestyle she led, care and fancy free…
Just like one of those young people on Newport who beg off you and me

Sadly poor Chellie died in her sleep
June 15, 2007 was her final release

A beautiful life filled with fun and freedom
Cut short by those misguided who thought that handouts would feed them
Food was not her sustenance, but rather were drugs
I wish those who had enabled her would have given her hugs

Now a boy exists, round about 10
Sees his Aunt’s picture on the wall and asks many questions
“Who was she, Dad? Will I ever get to meet her?”
“No son, she’s gone to be with her maker”.
All I have now is the memory of Chellie Ray
And a very poignant lesson of which to teach my kid most days

We walk down Newport and the lessons present themselves real and bitter
“Don’t do drugs son, get a focus, a pursuit, and education and your life won’t end up in the shitter”.

And that’s what I have to say about that.


OB Cindi July 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

BillRayDrums–While I was handing a Traveler $5 last night at Farmers Market to get a dog tag, a shady dude walked up and whispered in her ear, “Want a Five?” As quickly as he had appeared, this guy disappeared. If I was bigger and tougher, I would have grabbed him and held him until the cops came. It made me shake with anger.

On Tuesday I took this same Traveler to the animal shelter to look for her missing dog. As we sat and waited for the doors to the shelter to open, I tearfully told her the story of my friend, Codi Michelle Glennon, who died last year from a hit of meth. All Codi wanted to do that night was enjoy psychedelics and a show. But that would be her last show at a mere 29 yrs of age. I felt like Codi was there, helping me with the words to make this young woman see the light.

What I said to the Traveler on Tuesday must have got through to her–to make her dog number one, and that she couldn’t take care of the dog if she was on drugs or drunk. When I saw her an hour after I gave her the $5 for the dog tag, I saw the dog tag securely on the dog, and more importantly, the guy she was with was LOOPED and she was as sober and drug free as I could have wished her to be.

When we offer assistance/money/food we need to ask the homeless their story, then offer insight and a story of our loss–let them see how it effected us emotionally. That is the best way BillRayDrums for you and I to honor those we lost.


Edwin Decker July 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

Hey all, thanks for the kind words. (What’s up Snake?!) I’ve got more poems if you like, but they’re not all OB specific. It’s up to Frank though if he wants to post some. Either way, thanks! I always wanted to contribute to the infamous OB Rag.


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