3 comments so far

  1. 1 Jared McNulty
    7:06 pm - 3-2-2010

    A Short poem from Vince

    Sweet and Heavy
    Is the Sents Full Nose.

    Warm then Cool
    Through My Bare Toes.

    My Gaze at a Glance
    With a Crash, passes.

    Portably Yours,


  2. 2 Jared McNulty
    7:07 pm - 3-2-2010

    Karen LaGrave Small January, 2010

    My Life With The Wild Dog

    In winter this dark place is cloudy and grey with nondescript openings to foggy days but that morning there was so much blue in the sky it shocked my own sense of the world. Nothing was usual that day, nothing at all.

    My plan was to keep myself warm tucked between the down comforter and the heated mattress pad or snuggled on the daybed with, The Horse’s Mouth, and a steaming hot cup of homemade ginger tea laced with cayenne. However, a large dog appeared in my back yard sniffing around the rocks and what was left of the vegetable garden. When he got to the herbs he stopped to sneeze and then as if the sneeze had heightened all his senses he turned to look at me looking at him from behind the French doors.

    “What are you doing here?” I said out loud and he began to howl. He paused to see my reaction then gave another loud and mournful howl.

    At first I thought he was calling his friends to form a pack and somehow force their way into my fortress, but between howls I noticed a sorrowful look in his eyes and I thought he was begging me for something. Was it food, shelter, companionship? Maybe it was a call to me and the universe about the deep dark secret.

    I thought about going to the backdoor and opening it but as I was thinking the dog disappeared. I edged over to see if I could get a better angle, maybe he had moved just out of my sight. I began racing to all the windows of my house but could not find even a glimpse of a furry paw.

    Had I imagined that dog? All had returned as expected for the day. The birds had begun pecking at the grain on the old stump and the blue had faded from the sky, another grey dreary day in the Northwest. I snuggled in again but the howl returned, this time much louder. I felt the earth tremble as the howl increased in physical size and volume. My body became cold and shook. Eventually it shook so hard that it dissembled my life into a million small pieces. The end of life as I knew it had come.

    I woke up after unconscious dreams of many years and heard the howl of that dog whose big head now pressed the side of my face making my neck strain to push back against the force of the dog’s life. My head elongated as I felt and exerted pressure against the dog’s head. My determination to hold my own at that moment would sustain me in the future. What was the alternative? To give in and let the dog have his way with me, licking and chewing on the side of my face with me whimpering and cowing to the force? I had too many aspirations and had lived too long to let that happen.

    I was breathing hard, panting like the dog. My tongue was twisted on the tip and burned as if I had taken a sip of a hot liquid. My heart pounded and the sweat seeped through what seemed like a heavy coat of fur. Was I the dog or was the dog me? My eyes cleared when the blue iris of the dog lying beside me stopped moving. I realized the dog’s fur was covering my arm but growing out of the dog and the thickness and the fullness heated my body. No wonder I was panting. No wonder my breath was hard to come by. Had the wild dog died on top of me? I lay staring into that still blue iris wondering, calming, beginning to collect myself when suddenly the dog sprang back to life and took off through the open door out into the yard and through the woods.

    I started to cry. My crying became hysterical. What was happening to me, to my world to my universe which I had carefully crafted? My hysteria slowed and I felt like yelping. That thought started me laughing. What was this dog thing? Where was it going? Was I a willing participant or even the perpetuator of the whole thing? I laughed so hard I began holding my sides. Me as a dog? Me with a dog? A dog with me? I wanted to yelp. I had been panting. I fought the urge to hightail it out the back door and chase after the assailant just to see where it would take me.

    I took note of my breath, regained some sanity and instructed myself to take deep yoga breaths to calm down. I couldn’t do it. I burst into laughter again as the recent events crashed through by calm yogic thoughts.

    Again I began breathing slowly, this time more forcefully and using the rescue breath pattern. As calmness approached I saw a vision of myself in a ruffled apron stirring home cooking as in a TV advertisement from the 1950s. That picture of calmness started the giggling again but this time I was not out of control. I soon calmed down, stood up and began straightening things around the house. I shut the door, smoothed out the rug and moved the dark blue velvet chair back into place. The dog must have knocked it over when he crashed into the room. I couldn’t remember how the dog got into the room but he had to have come in with quite a force to move the blue chair that far out of place.

    Soon I had the place neatened up and since the light was fading from the sky I locked up and went to bed. I turned the heated mattress pad on high and slipped under the covers with my clothes still on. Carefully I placed two phones, my Itouch and the clock radio on the bedside table. Looking over at the stuffed grizzly bear that kept me company at night I said nothing. Talking about the day even to a stuffed bear seemed a stupid thing to do. Sleep overtook me easily and immediately and my sleep was deep without a dream.

    Many, many dark days followed. It rained as if it would always rain. My mind did an accommodation to such dire weather. It was dark and deeply rainy. The darkness seeped in early in the afternoon and smothered the landscape like a dark cool cover of mud. The heaviness of the darkness seemed to oppress the spirit but I knew the spirit was only resting. My behavior began to sync to the deep mood. I was sleeping more, and eating more. The nights were long and sleep was deep and dreamful.

    I was afraid to go to my dreams during that time of long darkness. I was fearful of the dog appearing and he probably did but out of self defense I didn’t notice, I didn’t remember my dreams. When I woke in the mornings I immediately began thinking of something that angered me and then I noticed my mind dwelling there and enjoying the energy produced by the anger. Not wanting to stay that way I practiced directing my thoughts, even counting from ten to one and getting out of bed on one. My mind wanted to control me, and I wanted to control my mind. It was an uncomfortable struggle but it kept me away from the drooling fierce dog.

    The long days with short nights continued for eons. I had begun to go underground in my mind. I imagined holes in the lawn near the lake that I could slip into and fall weightlessly down a shaft to another world. In this world it was always spring. It was warm and cool at the same time. I remember having a party there. Many children and their mothers came to the party, dressed in light and bright colors and smiles on their faces. The children invented games to play with the sticks, stones and the flowers that grew wildly near the lake. It was a fun time. There were snakes in the bushes but no one was afraid of them. There were other hidden animals but the butterflies soared freely as usual. We never ate in that world we only played and we were never sad or mad.

    Breaking back into the world I knew, I found it had changed in eerie and disturbing ways. The grass grew sideways. It was as sweet a world as anyone had ever known. It was so sweet that it was hard to leave on most days but too dark during the belly of the winter.

    The wild dog was there somewhere for sure but the change in the place is what haunted me. There was nothing left of much importance, just a few rocks, the structures and some old plants, displaced by human hands. What was the chance of all returning as before? No chance, only the memory remained and it was becoming fuzzy.

    The deer, the raccoons, a possum under the porch, a few birds, and grey squirrels lived there. The animals were the consistent population. I came and went. Desolation was there and maybe the wild dog. The earth was hard with not much give and take and the grass grew sideways because of the rocks swept in from the glacier.

    It wasn’t long ago when the glacier brought the rocks. I remembered it well. The rocks rolled along with the ice and the sound was an irritating clicking grind. I hovered over the ice movement without feeling the cold although I knew it was freezing. That very place was the top of a hill, just a plain hill with nothing growing. It became cold then the glacier came bringing a moving glob of rocky ice and the lift of the hill thinned the glacier letting it spread out over this land.

    Now the hill is not so apparent. It is covered with trees. Looking through the trees you see, not the top of the hill, but further into the woods. It is a wood I’ve walked through many times. In the spring the yellow violets bloom, and the fiddle ferns grow, but now, since the dog, nothing is growing. A return to the ice seems eminent and I wonder about the possibility of searching for a new haven somewhere along the shore. Many possibilities float just beyond the horizon. My thoughts move forward but then I see the memory, the memory of the dog and memories before the dog and I wonder if I could ever leave.


    I see the land again as it was during the ice age with the rocks rolling along in the glacier, the white sky then the large insect skeleton in the shape of the helicopter. The wind is blowing and the helicopter has difficulty landing. It slides a bit after touching down. It is a long time until someone steps out and onto the land. Much like the landing on the moon their boots have cleats that grip the slow moving ice. I wonder if I’m seeing the future or the past or perhaps a combination. I watch silently. There are three of them walking around seemingly measuring the ice, taking samples, looking and pointing into the distance. What do they see? I’m looking with them, way off into the distance. It’s icy blue, it is icy white, there is a whirl in the air, with the wind, yet against it. Then I see the dogs, the pack of wild dogs running toward the three. The woman heads quickly toward the helicopter pulling herself up into the cabin. The two other follow and close the door as the dogs arrive barking madly. The last image is the helicopter leaving and the dogs running in circles barking.

    My point of view switches to that of the dogs, desperate, alarmed, hungry, muscular and ready to ravage the opportunity. We heard the sky murmur then shout as the form neared. It landed far away and then we could smell the flesh, the unmistakable flesh of animal and hunger grabbed our bellies as we ran toward the smell. We were there but the machine engulfed the beings and lifted them up into the loud sky again and they disappeared. Our barking turned to a unified howl then to individual whimpers and we moved on. Our feet slipped on the ice as we traveled one after the other in a single line. The hardness of our toe nails made a clicking sound on the ice. We became mesmerized by the whiteness of the sky meeting the whiteness of the ice covered land. Before the landing of the white form our paws had been traveling on soft earth but when we ran toward the smell of fresh, live flesh we traveled onto the ice. To find our way back we followed the trail of other creatures fleeing the ice, the coldness and the desolation of the land was all we had.

    Ahead a small animal scurrying took our attention and we increase our speed. Following our instincts, we went the way of any movement we saw, felt, or smelled. Automatically we clung to life. We formed a pack to protect ourselves. The warmth of the dog in front of me flowed over my body and kept me close to him. We were silent as we traveled. The smell of raw earth emerged from a short distance away and soon our paws were feeling the softness of the ground. We continued our pace and our formation and headed downhill toward the valley we had come from.

    Incredibly we found a single deer ahead of us. We attacked and began devouring the flesh even before life had left her. Posturing and growling we moved around until the meal was digested. The deer was large and a second meal awaited us. We slept almost on top of our prey.

  1. holes

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