Dog Days

Check out this sad dog blogging:

Brittney’s house was broken into while her Tootie was at home:

When he discovered we’d been robbed his first thought was, “I’m going to have to tell Brittney that they shot Tootie.” So we all three sat on the couch and cuddled last night until it was time for bed.

And poor Zachary is suffering, too:

About 6 weeks ago, Zachary quit using one of his back legs. He’d hop around on three until I took him to vet and found out that he may have “football knee”. I didn’t know he could operate the doorknob, let alone organize enough local dogs for a game. Zachary is 8.5 years old; no spring chicken, but not with one paw in the grave either.

Poor bloggers’ dogs.

Gambling

In a way, my grandma won my grandpa in a bet.

My grandma was the youngest child of a prosperous farmer. My grandpa was the son of a sharecropper who saved his family from poverty by taking a railroad job.

My grandma and her friends were standing at a church picnic wondering who the new guy talking to my grandma’s brothers was. They all thought he was handsome. And so they started a pool, with the first person who got a date with him winning all of the money.

So, no, I don’t think you’d call my grandma conventionally beautiful, but she was brilliant and witty and had this smile that made you feel like anything might happen. She smiled and you got french fries for dinner. She smiled and you got a beautiful dress your parents forbid you from owning.

In other words, when she smiled, you felt like you were going to get your heart’s desire.

My grandpa was born in a house that was also being used as a chicken coop. I mention that just so you can see how high the stakes were for him. For every other man my grandma knew, a girl who smiled like you were going to get your heart’s desire, was delightful, but not necessary.

But for a farm-boy just recently dirt poor? That kind of promise must have been irresistible.

So, when she walked over to him and said, “I’d love it if you picked me up at seven on Friday,” it’s not surprising that he smiled back and said, “Sure.”

Demon Days

The Butcher bought me the most recent Gorillaz album for my birthday back in May. I didn’t really like it. I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t as immediately in love with it as I was their first album, which is still my second favorite drive-around with the windows down album ever (the first being Los Grandes Exitos en Espanol by Cypress Hill–Thanks Elias!).

But recently I realized that I LOVE Demon Days. I don’t know when it happened, but it’s gone from being an album I feel kind of meh about to being an album I want in my car at all times.

Orion in the winter sky

I hate the time change. I hate walking home in the dark, but I also hate that it’s light when I take the dog out, which means no Orion in the morning sky. The poet Moya Cannon talks about driving back from Cloghane in her poem “Night,” and seeing that constellation: “So I wasn’t ready / for the dreadful glamour of Orion / as he struck out over Barr dTri gCom / in his belt of stars.”

Dreadful glamour… That’s it exactly, what I feel when, walking in the bitter cold, I look up and see him hanging over me.

Here’s how the poem ends:

I got out twice,
leaned back against the car
and stared up at our windy, untidy loft
where old people had flung up old junk
they’d thought might come in handy,
ploughs, ladles, bears, lions, a clatter of heros,
a few heroines, a path for the white cow, a swan
and, low down, almost within reach,
Venus, completely unfazed by the frost.

Where to even start? First with her beautiful reminder that those constellations are gifts left us by our ancestors, illustrations of stories they cherished and wanted us to have.

And then, in her typical fashion, that ambiguous Love, “almost within reach,” and “unfazed by the frost,” also left to us by our ancestors, something pure and true to itself–again this idea of dreadful glamour–but not quite where we can get to it.

That, my friends, is a good poem–one that articulates something you’ve not quite been able to put into words and sends you off longing for something that can’t be articulated.