Saturday, May 21, 2005

Northside Dogs

This world, she has a dark side.
She also has a memory.
That dead dog over there has shiny teeth.
Just like diamonds they shine.

Al Capone use to own that house on the corner.
Almost every year someone new buys it.
They say no dog will go down into the basement.
Something is down there.

Charlie's dog, a big airdale, got run over.
It happened right there,
on Jackson Street.

Duke, the Reverend's mutt would try to mate
with all the human legs.
Ladies from the church.
Kids from the neighborhood.
To Duke, any leg would do.
The Reverend did not seem to care.
Just took it in stride.
Duke was just part of God's plan
and a lesson for us all.

Everybody knew Major.
He was a big Saint Bernard
White and brown.
Walked real slow.
Back then all the dogs roamed free.
All the kids knew all the dogs.
Major would let the little kids ride on his back.
Just like a horse.

During that big flood in '54,
Jingles, a white and brown rat terrier,
would chase the rats.
They had been driven by the rising water,
up the hill and out of the sewers.
Kids with rocks and bb guns
and Jingles
chasing the rats.
Now my landlady, has a dog
that looks and acts like
a reincarnated Jingles.
He even answers to Jingles
when I call him.

There was a strange white German Shepherd.
We called him Ghost.
We would only see him after dusk.
One night, I was sleeping in a tent,
in Charlie's backyard.
I woke up and Ghost's hot wet tongue
was licking my face.
On warm summer nights,
Ghost still passes thru my dreams.

I never had a dog of my own.

Tom, who use to live up the street,
died last week while I was out of town.
Heart attack they say.
He was trying to get on disability,
but the government kept turning him down.
Tom and his brothers had lots of dogs.
I don't remember their names.


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