Saturday, April 10, 2010

one single impression: vicarious

Last One Chosen
I watch, my attention arrested
By the clan of neighborhood kids
Five of them charging around the corner
Followed by the dutiful beagle mix
Intent on keeping watch

They clamber into the cab
Of the neighbor's sturdy F-150
But the last one finds no room
Perhaps he was too slow
Perhaps the rest had a head start

I watch from my perch on top of the hill
As he shuffles his feet outside
Picks up a stick and throws it
But even the dog made it in
Before the doors closed.

He pretends it doesn't matter
The sun is warm, the sky is clear
Who needs to pretend anyway?
The truck is going nowhere
After all

Minutes pass as I watch myself
Standing outside, looking in
I climb into the bed of the truck
And kneel on the toolbox
Behind the rear window
As if in prayer
To some capricious god
Who clearly has Better Things In Mind for me
Than driving some imaginary highway
With the ones I would call friends

The dog understands (they do that)
Makes enough of a pest of himself
That he's handed awkwardly
Through the driver's side window
To the lone figure in the back

I watch, my attention arrested
By my own black faithful friend
His attention riveted
To his brown-and-white counterpart
A shared understanding

My eyes trace the line
Between my dog and his
And I think
Out loud
"You got the better deal, kid."

About this piece: It isn't a story about dogs (as thought by someone who read it back when I wrote it). It's a story of the disenfranchised, the misfits. The "Vicarious" element is in the person shift in the 5th and 6th stanzas.

A true story. All the way around.

About the photo: If you haven't met Tonka yet, now you have. World, meet my best friend Tonka. Tonka, world.

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Fireblossom said...

As the wise man said, "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." (Groucho Marx)

Bosco and I liked this post very much.

fickleinpink said...

pleasure to meet you, Tonka! I would love a pet-friend like you...

Stan Ski said...

They DO do that, don't they?

Aayushi Mehta said...

What an interesting story, so well written. Says SO much with those words.

And hey, Tonka, nice to meet you! :)

Loved the shot.

Leo said...

this flowed like a ballad and was written quite well! :) :) good story..

gautami tripathy said...

Great verse!

ode to insomnia

Daryl said...

Excellent .. and I see Fireblossom via Groucho said it better than me ..

Tammie Lee said...

i lived this vicariously through your words...

Carlos Gesmundo said...

Liked the story. It resonates in many ways.

Best wishes.

Amity said...


This piece is a very beautiful story narrated in in poetry form...I never thought this could be possible, but now I know I may one day try this one!

Oh dogs, I hate dogs...says all in my one earlier post!

Anonymous said...

Tonka is the very best kind of friend- he understands more than he'll ever say, knows nothing about holding back, and likes you for who you are (obviously, since you don't give him filet mignon and artisanal cheese *ahem*).

The riveting focal point for me is that the F-150 wasn't going anywhere. Following the crowd will get us only so far- mostly, to a parked truck and getting left outside. But isn't outside the very best place to be?

I think Tonka would agree. As would the dutiful beagle mix, now trapped inside with the clan of pan-clangers.

This is so well-written- I can see the windows fogging up on the truck and look shared between the two dogs.

Ishtar said...

Tonka!!! You're inspiring poetry!! I love it!

Patti said...

This is amazing! Excellent job! And I love the pic of Tonka- beautiful~

Tumblewords: said...

It might be easier to be on the periphery. Only those who know can tell. This is a wonderfully layered poem with provocative thought!

JP/deb said...

Love, love this.

Was wondering ...

what if this line was changed, ever so slightly...

Makes enough of a pest of himself

Makes enough of a poet of himself

Hmmm... something to ponder. however, such a great poem.

Marilyn said...

It does feel layered, like Tumblewords said. I first thought about the loyalty of dogs and after reading your note went back and reread it a couple of times, finding new angles. I really like a poem that does that.

Anonymous said...

Loved it, loved it, loved. and you are right.

lisaschaos said...

You seem to have been in a mellow mood lately. I think Tonka is pleading with you to hurry up and follow him. :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story and poetic flow.