"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.
When I go to heaven
I want to see my dogs.
all of them, such faithful companions.
How do you say goodby to such friends
Peter my first
a beagle, stubborn, a hunter with
the basset from across the street
white tipped tail faithfully wagging
as I returned each day from School.
Then Sampson, a blond Belgium Sheppard
Huge, faithful only to me
jumped the fence too many times
of the church pre-school across the street
wanting only to be part of the play
then too protective of our new born and
at 190 pounds too large for our small apartment
Then found in England,
Beouf Beouf McTavish
a Yorkshire terrier that for some reason was
four times the Yorkey normal size
He thought he was a lion
jumped into the Canal in Camden town
chasing ducks. We pulled him out and it
took three baths to clean him.
He loved to attack my next door neighbor
after we returned from England
who he had taken a dislike to
as my neighbor warily walked his dachshund
up and down our small cul-de-sac.
Then there was Boober, an Irish setter,
beautiful, but wild and dumb.
who loved to just run and then
pounce on our next door neighbor’s wife
who seemed to love the affection.
Booper true to his Irish temper, never obeyed
Then our Goldens
the perfect pets frolicking with our growing children
Brandy and Blake, the first pair
Brandy the runt of the litter
gentle and loving
so loved by my wife who always loved an underdog.
Blake the larger of the pair
my favorite, large and bold,
constantly bounding about
Faster, he got there first when a car didn’t stop
and lay bleeding in my arms
tears cascading down my eyes
too late to save him.
Then Brandy followed when years later
Cancer and she just stopped
She Watched faithfully as
the vet came to the house and peacefully put her down.
we planted a small tree over her grave and mourned.
Last was Maggie, another Golden,
loved by all, beautiful, intelligent,
affectionate, going everywhere with me
to the dump, where they gave her a cookie,
to the beach where she chased balls until
I became tired and needed to head home, knowingly
she defiantly swam just out of reach, back and forth,
as try as I might to get her to come out, she’d defy.
Now there all passed on to doggy heaven where
I hope I’ll find them when I too move on.
they’ll respond to my call
faithfully bounding across a heavenly lawn
returning gleefully to their aged master.
“Come on blue, You good dog you, I’m coming too”.