(With apologies to Allen Ginsberg but not to Philip Larkin)
By Kenneth Francis (October 2018)
Black Haired Woman Holding Hankerchief with Crying Dog, Arthur Boyd, 1983
I saw the best dogs of my neighbourhood destroyed by worms, distemper and chicken-wing bones, starving hysterical mongrels and thoroughbreds,
dragging themselves through Fido-fumed streets at dawn looking for lampposts and fire hydrants to relieve themselves on,
pointy-headed Dobermans burning for the heavenly scent to the butchers and grocer’s laneway in the dead of night,
where juicy steak bones, cookies and peanut butter lie scattered in supernatural darkness of inner-city flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating chew toys, tennis balls and other doggy treats,
who bared their snouts to Heaven under flea-ridden kennels and saw miniature poodles staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,
who passed through empty pet cemeteries with radiant, runny eyes hallucinating Lassie and Old Shep among other breeds of yore,
who were expelled from their shelters for trashing and pooping their kennel floor
Who saw Golden Retrievers torn and in tatters, savaged by packs of Black Labs Matters
who cowered in straw-filled rooms listening to the meowing of felines through the animal-rescue walls, while moggy lovers chanted: Out with the mongrels, bring back the cat, euthanasia for pitbulls—how ’bout that!
Kenneth Francis is a Contributing Editor at New English Review. For the past 20 years, he has worked as an editor in various publications, as well as a university lecturer in journalism. He also holds an MA in Theology and is the author of The Little Book of God, Mind, Cosmos and Truth (St Pauls Publishing).
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