To The Dogs

Addie Poem

My father has been reincarnated as a dog.

There is no physical or character resemblance.

It’s just that, well,

 

What is life but waiting

For form to allow

The soul to flourish?

 

My father used to say,

I could tell you what to do.

But you’re going to do what you want to do anyway.

 

And now he has returned

As an Australian Shepherd/ Kelpie mix

With a boundless personality

 

Who doesn’t smoke or drink

Or lament about my babci

Putting raisins in the rice pudding.

 

She loves unconditionally.

I make sure she’s fed and goes out,

Gets treats and belly rubs, too.

 

Such are the dynamics of the universe.

Waiting for the form

To allow the soul to flourish

Talking Dogs

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“Dammit,” he exclaimed slapping his right hand on the battered, oak kitchen table-slash-work desk, stacked high with neglected mail offering coupons for oil and lube jobs, new homes for $500 down, credit card receipts (which all now slid with a slight seismic shift into smaller piles for even Everest is diminishing over Time), a to-do list written on the back of a religious leaflet in the guise of a check drawn on THE BANK OF ETERNAL LIFE (RESOURCES UNLIMITED) Pay To The Order Of “WHOSEVER BELIEVETH” (John 3:16)  $ Rom. 6:23 THE SUM OF Eternal Life By Jesus Christ, a full pepper shaker and a nearly-empty salt shaker which now both wobbled like bowling pins, the spare in an interminible yet precarious limbo, the veneer scarred with syrup stains and indelible teardrop-shaped sharpie tattoos like the mug a long forgotten convict who always manages to fuck-up right before parole and has finally surrendered to that void of recidivism we all eventually inhabit slowly crowding one another out from the under the beneficent umbrella of the military-industrial complex which mushrooms in the rain yet never quite protects all of us i.e. there always seems to be a few weak who get nudged out to the margins in this One Nation, Under Gawd Invincible with Liberty, “…in my next life I’m coming back as a Professor of Japanese Literature!”

 

The thunderous thud startled them both at their kibble troughs.

Jesus, here we go again, said Addie.

Nutmeg burped, I liked him better when was drinking.

He’s a dry drunk.

Hi my name’s Addie…Hi Addie…

Very funny. Yeah. Not drinking isn’t sober. Trust me. Would you rather do something well that you didn’t enjoy or keep trying to find that skill but muddle through like our buddy here?

We have a choice? I’d rather he take us out. I gotta pee like a racehorse.

Addie sneezed. Contemptuously. Nutmeg knew.

Why does it always come around to stuff like this with you?

You never want to play or scrap. I take your chewy toy from right under your snout and you just watch me. Trust me. I do my best to engage.

I like the new food. Do you?

You ask me that every day!

Yeah, well maybe sometimes its best to take things day by day, you know?

Hey, I was with the program. Not sure it transfers, though…just the same..

You get all philosophical but frankly sometimes you crawl up your own ass.

I know…its just a nice day outside I can smell it.

That was me, said Nutmeg sheepishly, I gorged on onion grass last night.

Addie went low trying to bite Nutmeg’s hind leg.

Oh Jesus pick a side and stay on it Nutmeg said shaking free.

Maybe that’s my approach? Its called inclusion. Everything matters to some degree.

Wasn’t that a John Cougar album?

Here we go…

Wait, what?

Addie started stamping her paws and wagging her tail. Nutmeg heard the leashes rattle. Finally, she exclaimed, I can almost taste it.

 

“You want to go out?” He asked.

Is a pig’s ass pork? replied Addie, Jesus Christ is life one big rhetorical question?

Stiil, Just the Same

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He threw a pinch of sugar into the dregs of coffee then stirred it with a steak knife. The blade loose in the cracked black plastic handle with the faux wood-grain finish had a small depression it from where it fell on the stovetop burner. The drink was already stone cold but he wanted to make it as tolerable as possible. There was something he head to do. He just didn’t want to do it. The dog whimpered at his feet. She was in pain. What did these things always fall to him?

We had to give her back to the farmer. It hurt the father just as much if not more. Some people can get numb to something if they do it long or often enough. But not the father. You could weep about it afterwards but not while you’re doing it; just pray something else came along which usually did. Still, just the same, it never seemed to stop you from doing it.

When he was a boy, the boy’s age, he and Richie would go catch puppies or kittens and take them down to the river in burlap sacks.

What are doing with them? His mother would ask in English heavily accented with Polish.

He knew she meant the flour sacks he had stuck in his belt loops. She used them to cure the pork his father dressed and lately they had been disappearing. What are you doing with them she asked again in Polish.

Yes, mother, dear, we apprehend young newborn canines and felines and place them in these sacks and convey them to the mighty Susquehanna where they are dropped to their great rewards…

Co?

Yeah, Ma, me and Richie catch puppies and kittens and put em in these sacks then toss em in the river.

Ahh, pain the dupa, she understood what she wanted to understand. When she was listening anyway.

If she saw how the sacks were shredded and full of blood and shit she wouldn’t want them back. One time, just once, he’d love to come home up the hill and toss the sack at her, Here you go washerwoman, clean the shit and blood out of this. Just to piss her off. He never did and would.

The following morning when the father told the son the lie the boy wasn’t old enough to appreciate the compassion behind it; the hope that telling a lie, or lying often enough, might make the lie a little more acceptable or warp the truth out of shape enough to make it believable, make it the truth. Something else will come along. That’s what his father always told him. Something else will come along. He never said what exactly, good or bad, just something different will come along. The boy thought he was just hedging his bets. The next day, tomorrow, was the only thing that came along. Or would it? He thought, Why does this always happen to me?