Boys Sitting on Sidewalks, Very Still with Pit Bulls










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.


RRC 2017