Saturday, January 3, 2015

Obedience training 

I was walking my gang of white terriers down 
a long pine-lined street when far away down 
at it’s vanishing point 
there was a loud, burly man walking his
He was yelling HEEL! and STAY
and other sounds that reminded me of 
the military or high school football.

When he got closer he did look like 
the high school football coach who cut 
me from the team, thank god, for drinking 
6 or 7 7-Eleven (or maybe 12) beers before practice. 

HEEL! and STAY! he kept yelling,
red in the face, walking his dogs
their eyes 
like kids eyes 
below a Christmas family argument. 

I wasn’t yelling any of that
so my little white dogs were walking happy, 
like spring-loaded cotton balls!

“You oughta try some commands,” 
he commanded, father figure 
or dutch uncle or football coach-style. 

“What for?” I said. 

He was surprised by this question. You could hear 
the wind through the tops of the pine trees, 
like water. 

Discipline. They expect it. They're wired for it.” 

He looked me over, up and down,
my winter ensemble, a bit raggedy, my
Keith Richards for President t-shirt. 

I said, “Do any of us really know that, for sure? 
I don’t want to scare the shit out of my dogs, 
upset their serenity and their spirit, just so 
I can feel like The Man! In control!”

“You wanna step outside, young man?”

(Young man? After all, I was 58. Or 7. Or maybe 12.)

A postal jeep going by, kept going by.

“We are outside,” I said. 
It went on like that. 

But my dogs were still running around like French Revolutionaries!  

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