I attended a Dan Raphael reading tonight. He’s an inspiring reader. “Everyone in This Movie Gets Paid” is his latest. Good surrealistic beat pillow talk hybrid. Here’s a poem that will not be in my upcoming chapbook, but it seems worth a read for fun, complete with the image that inspired it.
A Security System the Length of Teeth
The truck bounces between dirt potholes a few working class blocks
east of the 122nd strip. It is the painfully slow end of the route
I am considering how residents feel about the sorry state of the street
When a black and white blur catches my eye to the right
A sizable mutt paces a low roof above two pickups
As if a sentry on the parapet of a military outpost
Defense starts with patrolling the perimeter, being aware.
At home, in the city, sturdy fences, locks, basic alarm systems
Usually suffice. Dogs yapping are a common touch, but this is no lap dog
proclaiming its distaste for all things large. Atop the dingy house,
torso quivering with energy, paws dancing, fangs bared
The dog seems to call out in his canine tenor
Hey, I’m looking at you, mailman! Step off!
I will snap your leg bone, I will eat your heart!
Barks with exclamation marks
When I pause, questions drop from the trees
Where is the owner? Why is the dog on the roof?
Is this the norm, and what must the neighbors think?
Does he love his owners that much
Or hate the world that much?
Is something in the home worth defending with ferocity?
Days later, I return with a parcel to deliver
And have to walk directly below the sentry dog.
His eyes are ice blue and malevolent.
His musculature twitches, nails scrabbling on shingles
seemingly primed for a flying tackle.
I grit my teeth, scan the barcode, drop the package, and bail.
The time for questions is long past.
There is a wisdom in honoring certain fears
I respect sharp teeth, continue rolling east