Boys sitting on sidewalks in this city,
Very still with pit bulls.
Not boys really, but young men.
The corners are dotted with sidewalk sitters
White usually, pale,
Sitting with pits,
Brindle, some sable, or fawn.
The boys, young men really,
set placards before the dogs
Help! Dog Needs
Surgery, Medicine, a Biopsy.
Only tourists believe them.
The glistening coats and clear eyes
Of the dogs belie the petitions.
The pit bulls stretch in all weathers
Alongside the young men, or mope at their feet
Looking bored, immeasurably bored.
Or maybe depressed, inheriting the depression
Of the stalled young men,
Trapped on sidewalks by their want.
Of what? Imagination, work, love?
It rubs off on me too, this pale-man/bored-dog gloom.
So I dream them something.
At moon’s night, in my dream
They rise in packs and run
Riotous through city parks, hearts pumping thumping.
Boys and ember-eyed pits,
chests forward, glint fanged, sharp nosed
Running down rats, ghosts,
Running down answers.
I dream them laughing, growling,
Barking, swearing, swaggering,
Four feet and two, four hundred and two hundred
Pounding down the midnight paths.
I say this prayer
May all the sidewalk sitters
Rise and run, warriors of a summer green.
Or circle bonfires in snowdrift winter,
Feast, drink, boast, sing while smoke curls up
Into the black limbs of trees.
I dream them, dog and youth, buck wild but never still.