the balance of stanley

as far as I can see
doesn’t have a Plan B
in facts I don’t think plans
feature anywhere on Stan’s
and I couldn’t recommend a
sweeter way of proceeding
spiritually speaking
Stanley just IS
and anything UnStanley
is frankly none of his biz

take me, today, Monday
slumping down to breakfast, grumpily
shaking out a bowl of cheerios
sighing, putting on the radio
and the next thing I know….

we need to prepare for a land war in Russia
… media moguls, political corruption
… billionaire boys’ clubs, international recession
…underfunded infrastructure, major disruption
… shrinking glaciers, dying seas
…catastrophic climate emergencies

I mean – please

it’s SUCH a distressing, doom-laden chorus
It puts me off oats in the shape of a torus
(sceptical about these definitions I read to ya?
go ahead and look ‘em up on Wikipedia)

too much info
can get you down, I know
especially if you’re naturally inclined
to psychically combine
bad news into the general feeling
you’re the joker in a pack another joker’s dealing

for balance I look to Stanley
sprawled on the floor behind me
happily gangly
paws over his eyes
and there he lies
and that’s it
and there’s nothing to be done or said about it

so what’s your point? you say
you want us to live like dogs today?
well – not exactly
I think you’re taking this too matter of factly
dogs are dogs, humans human
except on full moons I’m assumin’
but one thing shouldn’t be up for discussion
a lurcher never started a land war in Russia

rap stanley

uh uh
uh uh
a tisket a tasket
we gonna need a bigger basket
if you gotta question why’nt you ask it
the times they are a changin’
an’ it may seem strange
but I ain’t complainin’
all you gotta do is hang on n’ wait
it gives us time to set a few things straight
these paws are sore n’this tail ain’t great
an’ if you a rescue too I’m sure you relate
I served my time in the county pound
on the ground
while all around
the lost n’found
jump up n’down
barkin’ on about
the shit they shot
the christmas ribbon that time forgot
some poor lil’ street pooch
stuck in a handbag by an insta douche
hey – you want some a’this tripe stick?
I use it a lot, man – it’s pretty good shit
uh uh
what can I say?
it’s like eminem and dr dre
in a note they wrote to the RSPCA
it say
yo Stanley
you and me man we’re family
we gonna bust you out outstandingly
you hearing me?
while the pugs go woof
and the power chihuahuas all lift the roof
but me I lie low an’ I suck a bad toof
cos’ I’m sick n’tired of feelin’ the truth
it’s like that ol’ poodle say
damned right tomorrow’s another dog day
they’s only so much kibble
a street dog can nibble
‘fore he barks his trouble
out across the land
out of paw n’ out of hand
so whaddya say about that?
uh uh uh
at the risk of soundin’ sloppy
I ‘ain’t no lil’ puppy
I cut my teeth on the streets
I lost my bark in san francisco
that ‘ain’t how this sorry lil’ rescue goes
in my line o’ work it’s paws not toes
it’s winter through the bars and yer claws half froze
full disclosure:
I’m not the lurcher gonna hurcher
so come rub these ribs
you’ll see why I’m always lickin’ yoghurt lids
so c’mon – take me down
I’ll follow you round town
‘cos you saved my tail from the city pound
hell – I’m your biggest fan
I’ll be the baddest boy in the Clay-Ton Clan
uh huh
thas’ right
I wanna sleep safe on yo sofa tonight
I wanna eat nuff kibble
to stay outta trouble
and keep my limbs nice n’supple
wi’ the Omega 3
you gotta fork that bad boy in for me
to make my fur pure luxury
so yo’ – go ahead – take a picture
this lurcher’ll let ya
I’ll never forget ya
I’m Stanley – yo – how d’you do
now fetch me a tripe stick ‘fore I gnaw YOU

the return of the tripe stick kid

when I rattle the harness Stanley knows
it’s walkin’ time for the two amigos
amblin’ easy heading west
on the bluebell trail we love the best
but jes’ hang on a gosh darn second now
being as how they’s a mess a’cows
haulin’ hoof in yonder field
so I keep ‘em peeled
keep Stanley on the lead
sure not wantin’ me no stampede

I stay focused
and one thing I notice
thems ‘ain’t the usual friesian
thems a whole other other dairy demon
a couple dozen ‘ornery ayrshires
tho’ could be herefords to be fair t’ya
they look this way with a mean complexion
we head off quick in the other direction

maybe they think I’m the gosh darn’ farmer
or some other kinda cowboy charmer
either way I guess it mighty politic
to dodge into the other field double quick

‘course – they up hoof n’follow us
swing round suddenly and corrall us
between a hedge and a fallen tree
and lawsakes I think it’s the end o’me
hell – I’m no expert but even I know
if you’re cornered by cows you let yer dog go
so I unclip his lead and he dives thru’ a gap
to save himself and get help perhaps
then I turn to address the advancing beasts
and per’pare myself the good lor’ to meet

the next thing I know Stanley’s galloping back
shooting his gums at the dairy pack
like a gosh durn sheriff riding to my assistance
and the herd hauls off to the lush green distance

‘mighty obliged to you, pardner – that was neat’
as I hand him a plug from my bag of treats
and I straighten my hat, and I scraggle his head
‘I’m thru with cows; let’s see bluebells instead’

Stanley the Lurcher shares a few comforting lines on Death

Isaac Newton, Cleopatra, Shakespeare – all died
No wonder I’m reluctant to go outside

Dying is as natural as scratching your ears
it just goes on a few more years

Death is the undiscovered country from whose bourn no lurcher returns
just a few less treats and a few more worms

I think I speak for most dogs
when I say there’s no such thing as ghost dogs

Verily did’st I meet Death waiting in the market
and ventur’d most bravely to tug its cloak and task it
What is Death? And lo! it did blow a wormy gasket
so loudly did it laugh-eth
and ghastly did gaspeth
embarrassed was I the joke not to graspeth
tempted to say forget my question – sorry I ask’d it
for I woulds’t feel bad if Death suddenly cark’d it
but Death doing its best its corpsing to mask it
sayeth Why! Death be but a snooze in an underground basket!
(and I came from that place thinking Death may be sick
but jes’ ‘cos you’re eternal why be a dick)

Stanley the Stoic

If you would wish to improve,
seek not to move
from the sofa and such
but be content
to be thought ignorant

Happiness consists
in being able to resist
the worming tablets
they hide in your dish

No lurcher is truly free
until they are unclipped from the lead 

Lurchers are not disturbed by things
excepting children with violins

There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease
worrying about treats
that are unavailable to eat
beyond the power of our will
in a tupperware box on the windowsill

The key is to keep company
only with dogs who uplift you, 
whose presence calls forth your best
(I’m not great with collies, but I’m okay with the rest) 

We have two ears and one mouth
so we can listen twice as much as we speak
(also a tail
which is useful as well) 

It’s not what happens to you
but how you react to it that matters
(it wasn’t me that left the sofa in tatters)

The 2022 Lurcholympics

And it’s a very warm welcome to the 2022 Lurcholympics
Let me walk you through a few characteristics:
We’ve got 100, 200 and 1500 minute Snoozing
The Squeakathon with Annoying Toy of their choosing
We’ve got Questionable Slumping
Table Thumping
Head Bumping
Lead Grumping
We’ve got Chewdo
Rope Wrestling
We’ve got Shallow Water Paddling
Snack Haggling
Artistic Scrabbling
Freestyle Limping
We’ve got Find Ball, Treat Lifting, Basketpaw
We’ve got Sprint Door
And the latest competition draw:
The What The Hell’s She Barking For
We’ve got Synchronised Sniffing
Athletic Rug Writhing
Moaning & Mithering
Sofa Sliding
And of course, the five events of the modern Petathlon:
The Sixty Metre Horribles
The Sly Jump, Try Jump, Why Jump
The Treat Put and the Eight Hungry Minutes
And new this year to test your pet’s limits?
Barktastic Gymnastics!
I do hope you enjoy our extensive programme
Ready for the day’s events? Hell – I know I am!

dog heaven

So… mum dies and goes to dog heaven
gets met at the gates by an Airedale called Kevin
who takes her coat, asks how she is
(laughs… says DEAD!…apologises)
then with a strum of his bone-shaped harp
the poodle-themed gates tremble and part
Kevin clips a silver collar on Mum
and leads her into the Canine Kingdom

basically all the clouds are fluffy white baskets
and all the bowls shaped like golden caskets
and all the waiters Bichon Frise pups
and the maitre D a Dobermann in a tux
and the angels are Pointers, Lurchers and Spaniels
with clip-on wings and golden sandals
and Sky TV plays Scooby-Doo on a loop
and there’s a doggy angel self-help group
sitting on clouds in respectful circles
while a Viszla sobs and talks about squirrels

‘This way,’ says Kevin, ‘No tour’s complete
without you getting a chance to meet
the owner of this awesome squad…’
and so he leads her into the sight of Dog

stanley or ralph

Stanley has such a vocal range
you’d think it strange
a dog with no formal training
can find such sounds without straining
an appalling range of oral gimmicks
he conjures through his larynx
then stops and stares and blinks
inscrutable as the sphinx
and your heart sinks
as you struggle to think
what the SHIT can be happening
it’s mournful and maddening
in equal measure
the polar opposite of pleasure
like a tuxedoed lurcher
disguised as a tenor
loped onstage at the MET
to deliver their worst performance yet
and the crowd sit silently stunned
because they’ve just seen the depths of performance plumbed
and programmes are rudely and rapidly thumbed
and a queue backs-up in the foyer for a refund

all I mean to say
is that Stanley often likes to display
in a most emphatic & idiosyncratic way
whether or not he’s okay
and it’s truly a thing to behold
so wild, yet so controlled
like a wolf enrolled
in primal scream therapy
forgetting it was a wolf
thinking instead it was a middle-aged guy called Ralph
suffering a crisis of mental health
and the group says Ralph – man – just let it out
till he stands, takes a breath, and opens his mouth

mutiny on the Stanley

I put it to you, sir
that you are one galumphing great hound, sir
d’ye understand me, sir?
a hirsute, uncouth cur, sir
a sybaritic, rule-breaking saboteur, sir
a chaos connoisseur, sir
with poorly coiffured fur, sir
d’ye concur, sir?
it is most unfortunate, sir
that you are cursed with an importunate manner, sir
and I have scrutinised, sir
how you have utilised, sir
those unfeasibly & unwieldy paws, sir
to cause havoc in every hammock, sir

d’ye demur, sir?
Damn yer gorgeous & appealing eyes, sir!