"Beautiful dog, Dachshund right? It have a name?",
that is what I would have said to you
in hopes of sparking a conversation
in hopes of learning your name. I honestly
don't care about the dog's name at all, but
you have nice hair, and hips. They mesmerized
me while you walked, your dog, away
from me. I never said anything.
When the sun hides
the doubts arrive
playing hide and seek
talking behind my ear
Voices clang at pipes
crushing a plumber's work
I try to hide
Playing their game
the doubts find me
simply like a dachshund
searching for badgers
Brutality is enforced
my body beaten raw
like a bowl of dough
My head slaps the floor
as I fall, I see it
blue heels deep in mud
once a savior, now a doubt
Steps on the barren desert valley ground,
I'd rather be in the alley.
I'd rather be in the alley with you.
Sun burnt rocks jut out at me,
They shake their fingers at me,
"You'll never get out, it's a dead end from here."
I remember sitting out under the sun,
I remember being under the sun on the roof,
And I remember screaming at the skies,
" Mathematics has taught me nothing,
School was nothing but sociological lies!"
I had my verbal reasoning skills,
I had a bottle of Adderall pills,
I had my quantum physical knowledge,
I've been down the road of metaphysics,
I even had foreign language skills.
Italian artistry doesn't help you here, no.
The coyote knows best,
The wildebeast and dachshund know better.
Animal supremacy, no.
Conscious human foreclosure of higher arcane intelligence,
If it ever yielded it's presence,
Jesus would've resurrected already.
Today was a necessity.
I hope you understand that someday it will all make sense.
I dreamt of the perfect world with children of ours running in a green field with a dachshund along side.
There was picture perfect walls of glass and my library that you discouraged, but cared enough to allow me.
There was the gaming room that I discouraged, but cared enough to allow you.
And each morning breath was an inhalation of your skin, so bare and intimate.
My hair would wrap around your fingers playfully and our legs would hug under blankets from when we still were virgins together, in multiple ways.
Those dreams pass quickly as does the pendulum of the clock.
The seconds quicken as it deceives us into believing this will work.
It was good at what it did, and we fell for it.
There was no time to change my decision, for the better.
Perhaps someday we may walk with our hands joined once more, but until then,
This is absolutely, irrevocably, necessary.
I remember how that Puxatony dirt
felt between my fingers. Gritty
and cold – the earth that covers graves.
Falling from my palm, landing at his paws,
he curled around my leg, shivering.
Against my ankle, he rested his long ears.
Polaroids of a mothers chew-toy earrings;
memories of March spent playing in dirty
backyards, forests, and playgrounds. We shivered
together, in the heat of Spring, with gritty
rock-filled driveways underneath our paws.
Lives, those playful daisies sprouting from gravel,
that we ate day by day; pushing graves
down out of mind, but spilling from our ears.
The summer wrought steel cages to grip awe,
with training meant, bent to destroy dirt
kept caked on worn-out sandals. Grits
scooped off a breakfast plate to a shivering
dachshund. His collar jingled, shimmering
as it clashed against his bowl. Cold gravy
and dry cat food, with textured scents. Gritty,
furry, and harsh. Ears dipped in water bowls
finding the only bath of the month, clearing dirt
from a death in the family. Soft, unknowing paws
treaded with grace, and a parentless pause
as we crumbled. Directionless grief shivered
the big men with their shrunken hearts, dirty
from a three-hour drenching sob at the grave.
But love is not measured by the size of loss -
it is made of highs and lows; rough and gritty.
Seven pounds of compassion weighs with gridded
precision on my chest. Those tiny paws,
batting at my heart. Soft, two-times-too-large ears
crying with us and pleading through shivers
to enjoy everything. Now your graves are dug
together - between you only a foot of dirt.
Gritty reality seeps in from shivering
fiction. Your paws on your own grave,
I place my ear to the dirt, and whimper.
I forced my razor knife down
into an anniversary coffee cup
crammed with pens, pencils,
two pairs of scissors, and one
roll of color film I'm afraid
to develop. I jammed it in blade-
up so I'd have to deal
with the hard part first
like a blank page before
an accidental tongue slip
drips ink and makes the page
pretty. Some tree I've never met
and some pink dye died for me
to cover this pressed pulp
in illegible squiggles;
and I'll be
damned if I let it down.
'cause I'm drawn to things
without opinions. Sketchbooks,
inkwells, rubber band bracelets,
a mixed-nut dragonfly rested
on my trampoline net. // Cut it
free // cut it loose.
Find a brick behind the shed
and smash it dead,—preteen me—
young Wordsworth me.
I pulled the sepia tape from Queen
cassettes and finished the glossy
plastic off with a vise grip in Dad's truck.
Old Brucey had mustard pinstripes
down the driver's side, all the way down
to the Germania General Store.
He was a blur to me before I could buy
my own Dreamsicles. Passing the chicken feed
and the resident, caged dachshund couple,
I saw his face for the first time. Seventeen-years-
old, staring at my grandpa through picture
and plate glass panes.
The angels he swore were real—the ones he payed,
praised, and prayed for every Sunday and everyday
the sun shined and everyday it didn't—
were now less deserving of heaven.
Every evening at dinner,
My mom would tell us about school.
She works there
In fact, the same one my sister and I attended.
She now tells us about education reform
And how it is ruining her classroom.
She works with special needs children
And teaching them multiple methods to do a math problem
When they understand the first one
Is like thrusting them into the middle of the ocean
Telling them to learn how to swim
And wondering why they are drowning.
Having seventh graders who read at a fifth grade level
Take the same standardized test as other kids their age
Is like putting a dachshund in a cage
And telling it to fight a pit bull.
These students are being set up to fail
And yet, the schools and the government are asking
"Why are test scores dropping?"
"Why aren't they up to par?"
"We're going to lose our money"
What quality teacher signed up to be an educator
With the idea that money would be more important
Than the children in the school system?
Who gives a damn about dollar figures
When you are pushing kids to the edge of the cliff
And getting angry when they fall off?
The game doesn't change until the directions do
But the people writing them are prioritizing the end result
Not the players.
So tell me,
Will anybody win a game that is this corrupt?
Will anybody win this game at all?
People like my mom, my English teacher
Did not agree to play this way.
But if we do not set these kids up and place them in a position
Where success is possible
The future will go up in flames.
Something created. Does the creator think ahead
or spill a storm. Rain happens. We supply the
reasons. Evaporation of water collecting over
huge expanses, condensed and pushed as clouds
over the land. We say it makes us sad or depressed.
We want to cry.
You describe the America you know and if you
are ashamed of yourself for what you see, you lie.
Or don't look. Loud noises of automobiles and
fumes. Today in Riverside Park, leaning on a rail,
the dead leaves and snow reminded me how far
from nature and life I am. The snow blew
in from the west. People passed in a smooth
slow line in front of me. Dogs trailing one
another. People hiding until crises bring them
out. Their dog smells another dog between the legs.
The master runs over to stop him. Maybe he
thinks they're going to fight. Doesn't want his
big German shepherd to hurt her dachshund.
Guy runs past in gray sweats on his tip-toes.
Glances at me. Another passes in blue sweats. Looks
longer. They think I'm a mugger. They are not
sexually attracted. I'm an opponent. I want something
they have. I look surly. Why aren't I out
running, disciplining myself, making myself healthy,
doing something. What brings you out here. You're not
doing anything but watching us and staring at the ground.
Walking down Broadway I realized I've never lived here and still don't. Two women window shopping is strange to me. They talk about the clothes. They are friends. I slow down, I don't feel so cold. Stroll, looking at people is like a sunny day and it's a carnival. Streets different in different weather. Rainy nights are good. Cold rainy nights. Bars filled and warm. Streets empty and cold. People pass and look as members of a fraternity. They need someone and don't hide it. They will try anyone out for one night. They have tea together. They go for a drink in some neutral place. They go straight to bed in the dark. They can't see the face.