Photo by PoPville flickr user AWard Tour
Ed. Note: Reuben Jackson shares poems and other commentary with us from time to time. Today he writes, “I began playing with this variation on Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird” and decided to use the pit bull as a (ahem, ahem) metaphor for the yin and yang of urban existence.”
Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Pit Bull
I. Among twenty sleeping houses, The only restless thing Was the voice of the pit bull. II. I was of three headaches Like a neighborhood In which there are three pit bulls. III. The pit bull paced in the dealer’s yard. It was but a small part …of my anxiety. IV. A man and a dog Are one. A hustler and his stash and a pit bull Are frightening. V. I do know which to prefer, The disdain of neighbors Or the disdain of neighbors, The pit bull breeding Or the policeman rolling his eyes. VI. Raindrops filled the long window With a posse of teardrops. The ghosts of battered pit bulls Crossed it, to and fro. The mood Traced in the shadow Followed me into sleep. VII. O portly brothers of Brightwood, Why do you secretly long for Chocolate Labs? Do you not see how the pit bull Sits at the feet Of the hustlers around you? VIII. I know quieter cities, And black men with unconquered livers; But I know, too, That the pit bull is involved In what I wish I didn’t know. IX. When the pit bull strode into the shadows, It turned the asphalt Into a pungent river. X. At the sight of pit bulls Galloping down Madison, Even the most ardent dog lover Would cry out sharply. XI. He rode over the District of Columbia In a crowded subway. Once, a fear pierced him, In that he mistook A red-headed sister’s ringtone For a pit bull. XII. The block is silent. The pit bull and his owner must be away. XIII. It was evening all afternoon. It was raining And it was going to rain. The forlorn pit bull sat In his dog house.
Reuben Jackson 5/1/11