I told Alli I really wanted
to write a poem called “Dog Park.”

In bed she’s like you could make it
a New Yorker poem, where you
go to a dog park and then have some
huge epiphany. And then we
have a soft debate as to whether
a poem called “Dog Park”
needs a dog park in it or
not, or even a dog. I dunno.

But I do I know I don’t want
to get up out of bed, not now,
five milligrams of warm indica
coaxing me into its native land
of sleep, to write down Alli’s
idea for my poem “Dog Park”
and I tell her so and she says
get up, you’re a poet, and it’s
true, so I shuffle off this
warm, magnificent mattress,
firm as the back of a Golden
Retriever in the prime of life.

The blinds in the bedroom
are shut tight against the mean
lights of the Pacific East Mall
that moan all night and make
the nearby bedrooms bright.
But I get up, ugh, to write
down what might be the
beginning of a poem called
“Dog Park,” with or without a
dog park or even a dog. And
obviously you’d rather be
a cloud than a poet, Jesus.
Or the plastic tip of a vape pen
or the floating lint in the store
where they sell beds and sheets
and pillows and duvets or even
a grody hunk of sand on the
ground of a dog park, my
nightmare. But it will just
take a minute or two, and then
I can pee one last time with
impunity, double check the
door is locked, go back to bed,
wait for the next one.

Related Poems

Always on the Train

Writing poems about writing poems
is like rolling bales of hay in Texas.
Nothing but the horizon to stop you.

But consider the railroad's edge of metal trash;
bird perches, miles of telephone wires.
What is so innocent as grazing cattle?
If you think about it, it turns into words.

Trash is so cheerful; flying up
like grasshoppers in front of the reaper.
The dust devil whirls it aloft; bronze candy wrappers,
squares of clear plastic—windows on a house of air.

Below the weedy edge in last year's mat,
red and silver beer cans.
In bits blown equally everywhere,
the gaiety of flying paper
and the black high flung patterns of flocking birds.

The Prestige

the poem begins not where the knife enters
but where the blade twists.
Some wounds cannot be hushed
no matter the way one writes of blood
& what reflection arrives in its pooling.
The poem begins with pain as a mirror
inside of which I adjust a tie the way my father taught me
before my first funeral & so the poem begins
with old grief again at my neck. On the radio,
a singer born in a place where children watch the sky
for bombs is trying to sell me on love
as something akin to war.
I have no lie to offer as treacherous as this one.
I was most like the bullet when I viewed the body as a door.
I’m past that now. No one will bury their kin
when desire becomes a fugitive
between us. There will be no folded flag
at the doorstep. A person only gets to be called a widow once,
and then they are simply lonely. The bluest period.
Gratitude, not for love itself, but for the way it can end
without a house on fire.
This is how I plan to leave next.
Unceremonious as birth in a country overrun
by the ungrateful living. The poem begins with a chain
of well-meaning liars walking one by one
off the earth’s edge. That’s who died
and made me king. Who died and made you.

This Poem is Asking For Your Love

This poem is not usually like this
I don’t know what came over it
It’s mostly violet under the sun
with a large yellow parasol and a pond
with a center that never freezes
I swear I had no idea
I’m so used to trees of hearts and
cherries within its branches
I can’t imagine
what woke this poem up
with a truth I never wanted
It called out the tower window and said
I was alone
That in itself is a morbid lie
I have long shadows in Autumn and clouds
anytime there is a sky
In fact everything was going so well until
this poem wanted to undress me
and bring back my love
and hold me close and rub
my forehead when I had fever
It had no idea what trouble could come
from this so I wrote it
then I ran from it
now I can erase it
to show I never needed it after all
because don’t you know, Poem,
if you have to ask for something
it’s no gift.