Somewhere Off a Dirt Road

Somewhere Off a Dirt Road

Somewhere off a dirt road
curled up in the dust
I fell fast in love
with the beauty of grass
behind a fence of barbwire
below a hill of grazing cows

As they wander, I follow the cows
far away from the dirt road
through a hole in the barbwire
to a place unreached by dust
alone with the grass
I let myself feel the leaves of love

Deep in that field, I make jeep love
with the farmer of the cows
our act is judged by the grass
we should have waited for the dirt road
but there would have been so much dust
and a difficult gate of barbwire

Found guilty and punished, I use barbwire
to fence around my love
bury him under a thickness of dust
walk on his grave with the cows
who flow toward the dirt road
searching for autumns last grass

When it dies, the grass
becomes sharp as barbwire
choked by the dirt road
lost, without rain’s love
I leave with the cows
the field becomes dust

I force my pain to be dust
so my tears feed the grass
bringing back the stray cows
who escaped the barbwire
I once again try to love
living at the end of a dirt road

I round up the cows, spit out the last of the dust
we leave behind the dirt road, drifting together in spring grass
I crawl under the barbwire and fall fast sleep with my love

The Other Dog

The Other Dog

The stud dog was a mangey mongrel
crawled under his fence in the middle of the night
caught the bitch in heat
who had slipped her leash
when they weren’t looking.

They should have drown the pup at birth
but it wagged its tail and breathed
on them with puppy breath
so they let it stay
scratched it behind the ears
rubbed its belly and
gave it chew toys
and good kibble
that made the bitch boil.

They taught it tricks
that thrilled onlookers
sit pretty
retrieve
roll over
heel
just don’t do it better
than the bitch herself
don’t make her lift her lip
if she snaps there will be hell to pay
play dead.

Then it happened
the cuteness wore off
it started chewing up
the toys they bought it
peed on the rug where
the bitch took her naps
ate too much
barked too loud
got too stinky to pet
wagged its tail and broke the lamp.

So they bought a choke chain
and a crate
and fenced the yard
and taught the pup how
to be a bad dog
let her feel the sting of the boot
and when that didn’t work
they spayed her passion
bought a log chain
and tied her out
the weight so heavy around her neck.

Bite down on your needs
choke on your love
shallow your talents
lick your own wounds
dig a big hole
at the far reach of your bond
and strangle as you fold yourself into it.

If they can’t find you
they can’t hurt you
hide
under the sofa
under the bed
don’t ask to be petted
or the bitch will bite you
pin you by the neck
with her jaws
she’ll use her teeth
but she won’t have to sleep in the backyard
she’ll climb in the bed
while you sit on the porch of your doghouse
in the rain
not allowed on the good furniture.

Don’t howl or you’ll be banished to the barn.
Don’t whine or you’ll be called
a traitor to your breed.

So you try
to be obedient
follow the bitch at her heels
but no closer
and only when she asks

You become 
house broke
trained
not to ruin rugs
not to roll in shit
to be unseen
to be unheard
good enough to lie at her feet
belly exposed
waiting for the snarl to turn
to the bite that draws blood.