Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Two Dogs Story Ever Present

On a Friday night well past midnight after rain my sister and I were driving home, distant cars' lights and some shimmers of neon shop signs reflected on the the wet boulevard.  I was about seventeen, she was around twenty one.  I lived with our parents, she was on her own already and was taking me home. In the soft light from the corner streetlight my sister saw them first. The context was too wrong for me to make sense of it right away, but there in the slow lane a German shepherd was down. An alert doberman lay protectively beside him.

We pulled over, got out. We checked the shepherd but he was gone. We picked him up carefully and moved him to a soft place beside a tree, taking a moment with him. The doberman followed. These were the days of pay phones. Neither dog had a tag so we called animal control to come for him and guided her to come with us.

I snuck the doberman into my bedroom. The hours were too small to wake anybody up for discussion, so I made her soft place on the floor and brought her some water and food. As I got into bed, my whispers to lie down did not take effect. She paced then rested her chin on the edge of the mattress. This was a time when dobermans were deemed the breed to be leery of. The lore was they could turn hostile in an instant. But she'd taken a chance on trusting me so an "okay!" and she was up, rolled onto her back and nestled into me. This must have been how they slept every night, she and her mate and their human.

In the morning when we got up, my parents already knew she was there. How long had they known? Was it their habit to make sure I was home alive after I'd stayed out late?  It occurred to me I'd never thought about that before. My dad sat in his chair drinking coffee, the doberman sat a few feet in front him ears back, eyes steady, listening as he tried to explain to me, or to the dog, that since we already had three dogs, four would be too many. It looked like the doberman had the situation under control, so I went to the kitchen for coffee. I could feel my parents' discussion though I couldn't actually hear it. It may have been one of those wordless ones.

When I came back into the room my dad said, "If we can't find her person, she'll have a home with us."

He took her to the animal shelter to give her a chance of being found. I called the shelter an hour after they'd left the house. Her human had already come and taken her home. The man at the shelter said the owner was there first thing in the morning saying his doberman and German shepherd had gotten out through an open gate the night before and that he'd looked for them in the night. I hung up the phone comforted that the the dog and the man still had each other. Then I drove back to the intersection to make sure the shepherd was not there.

The sunny shiny morning was slightly too bright as if the rain storm had washed the streets a glaring white. The shepherd was gone; it seemed nothing had happened there at all. But some thirty years later I still see that moment we rounded the corner. I see the posture and expression of the doberman beside her shepherd under the dull streetlight, watching, waiting in love and trust.

-This story was revised on April 16, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2007

One Thousand Years

The skinny man scientist
born after I graduated sixth grade says
if we eat these special foods and drink these
special drinks and exercise these
special exercises we can live to be
one thousand years old!
One thousand years old, generations alive today he thinks
can stay alive one thousand years!

My first reaction to this:
don't give me the special foods don't give me the
special drinks don't show me the
special exercises so I can spare myself living a span equal to
a life begun in the time of the Norman invasion of England
to extend half a dozen years past what would, from this moment, be my
hundredth birthday, given I had
eaten the special foods and drunk the
special drinks and exercised the
special exercises.

Even if the body recalibrated due to the scheme,
how could the human personality endure a time span so vast
as the changes of a thousand years on this earth (or worse bleak space or colonial moon!)?
How could I learn that many new tricks how many
special nutrients could I possibly consume to feed
curiosity or sustain enthusiasm let alone interest for

Walking, I thought of you, my Love.
A thousand years seemed short.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Now Gets Here Before it Arrives Now

Why does there have to be so much going on at once? The world is a busy place, yes, and we know more about everything everyone is doing more than we used to, sure. News that took months to travel 200 years ago takes seconds now, uh huh. So we apparently are compelled to know all immediately and pluses and minuses inventoried and studied and brain cells counted and neural pathways determined and redetermined and speed of light ridden on and trails of comets and sticky footed insects math and hip hop and a dictionary where you don't even have to learn the alphabet in order. And there was that Twilight Zone about the time traveller from the cowboy days brought to modern 1950's Manhattan and the noise was so much from outside the hotel window he, holding his head hands over ears, bounded down the stairs, ran mad into the street and got hit by a car dead. This, a bitty poem, no need to panic; merely the emulation of manic but, do you wonder, don't you ever, about our why our kids are plumpening up like those big New York Thanksgiving Parade balloons and what it means toward soothing a heart to romance our peace of mind?