E.T. Stanley

Stanley was recently abducted by aliens
skimming the forest for homo sapiens
but their tractor beam missed in the spooky fog
and they ended up with an annoying dog

as they closed the glowing cargo doors
and saw the size of Stanley’s paws
they probably thought they’d bagged a yeti
and screamed as he jumped up on the settee

they tempted him off with alien treats
then buckled up snug in their saucery seats
as the spaceship wobbled and sped away
about a million feet per second I’d say

but half way back to the Outer Nebula
Stanley started to whine quite regular
until they snapped and shot straight back
and beamed him down to the forest track

and how do I know this? well – luckily
I could see the whole thing from behind a tree
I mean – aliens are smart and pretty advanced
but handling Stanley? No. Not a chance

the build up

Oh what is that awful, mournful wailing
super-sorrowfully assailing
my trembling ears while I sit here waiting?
THE WARNINGS OF A TERRIBLE BANSHEE?
No – just our Stanley
Please ignore him
If you feed him early you’ll just reward him

For the love of God what’s that lamentation?
That woeful whimper-and-whine combination
disturbing my telephone conversation?
SOME TORTURED SUBTERRANEAN MONSTER?
No – just our lurcher
Don’t make eye contact
If he sees you looking he’ll think you’ve cracked

Holy Mary Mother of Jesus!
What is that keening so thin and grievous?
Merciful heaven won’t someone relieve us?
THE TEARS OF AN ARISTOCRAT OFF IN A TUMBRIL?
No – just our mongrel
It couldn’t be grimmer
There’s still at least an hour before dinner

rap stanley

one two / one two
uh, uh

yeah

c’mon all you people an’ listen to me
while I tell you the news ‘bout dog stanley
his tail super-fail, his ears all tangly
long n’gangly
as big dogs go not exactly
manly
y’understan’ me?

that’s rap stanley
yeah

stanley by name, stanley by nature
stanley at the back gate lookin’ straight at ya
gassy n’flatulent
postures extravagant
an actual
contractual
who-gives-a-shit hound
king o’not much but lounging around
or lying flat out like a rug on the ground
making noises that sound
grammatically incompatible
with yer average hound
enough dog love to make the world go round

are ya gettin’ it clearly?
do you see him sincerely?

rap stanley
yeah

it’s stanley with an S T jes’ like a saint
but trust me when I tell ya a saint he ‘ain’t
his breath bad enough to bubble up paint
or make the rudest, roughest street vet faint

that’s stanley not stan lee
a man who apparently
came up with the whole goddamn marvel family
personal favourite? bony stark
yeah? he built this suit that flies and barks
and rescues squirrels over the park

yeah / uh / yeah

he eats at speed
he’s a leader on the lead
leg-lifting, super-grifting guaranteed
the gap-tooth guru of a canine cult
where you pay in bags of treats to consult
on all kindsa mystical matters occult
and give yer undying love as a result

man that stan can whine and bluff
all sneezy with dust and chesty with huffs
the kinda mutt the judges at crufts
recommend you end and maybe have stuffed
tie up his raggy ol’ hair in tufts
put his paws on wheels
so you can drag him round fields
or wherever you feel
dog shows, promos
who knows
a stanley stand with cute dog logos
five pound a pop for personal photos

‘cos he’s a bona fide
every day’s a friday
jump up on the sofa and kiss your blues goodbye day
a genuine, goddamn wolverine hero
stanley 10, all the others zero
sweeter than sweet n’low, madder than nero
trickier than the riddler
sings like mariah, maybe bette midler
so if you think you hate dogs woncha reconsider
‘cos as rescues go this mutt’s a winner

that’s rap stanley
yeah
yeah
uh

allow it

saturated stanley

we set off together
it rained – a LOT
I had an umbrella
Stanley did not

he shook his paws
he got so wet
I’m not even sure
he’s forgiven me yet

his fur went all curly
it was quite a thing
he looked pretty surly
about the whole thing

next time I promise
if it looks like a storm
I’ll take off your harness
and we’ll stay in the warm

zzztanley

Stanley
is certainly
workmanly
when it comes
to slumbering
naps without numbering
all through the day
twenty or thirty at least I’d say
bonelessly stretched out on the floor in the way
or sprawled
in the hall
apparently comfortable on nothing at all
or semi-recumbent
snoozily redundant
on throws and cushions superabundant
busy
with the Zs
as floppy as you please
but then who needs balance
when inertia’s one of your primary talents?
then rising like he’s doped
and rolling through the house slack as a rope
to drop like a mop on the kitchen floor
four paws flat against the door
to be dreamily re-born
with a sneeze and a yawn
activity forsworn
snoring
adoringly
his head inevitably lower than his arse
(I know – don’t ask
I’m no famous sleep professor
maybe it makes his dreams flow better)

pronged

I could see a guy with a border terrier
on the path that leads to the woods
as walkers go they looked superior
an ad from a site for survival goods

the dog had a swagger that made me doubt him
the man wore a khaki cap
like they both went in for venture scouting
knotting badges, stuff like that

the two of them strode ahead to Valhalla
in fluorescent harness & Gore Tex boots
and discretion being the better part of valour
me n’Stan took a different route

I quickly realised my mistake
the path led off into thickets
Stan trailed sulkily back in my wake
every dog has its limits

I felt like a prince in a fairy tale
a brave and dauntless searcher
with shorts instead of a suit of mail
and instead of a horse a lurcher

we fell out onto open ground
an unexpected area
and there were the two of them up on a mound
monument to man and terrier

we took the wrong turn I said and laughed
feeling a little rattled
ah yes he said the fork in the path
you took the prong less travelled

international dog day

wave your paws in the air
like you don’t care
from the sofa to the park
to the top of the stairs
come stop and talk to us
clip on a lead and walk with us
or get down on the carpet
I’m ready to play jes’ start it
do hide the octopus, man, I heart it
octopus! octopus!
he’s one leg down get the doctopus
it ain’t no shock to us
all that tossin’ and shakin’
there ain’t no mistakin’
the daily damage he’s takin’
what I’m sayin’
is that sweet, SWEET lil’ octopus
he totally rattles & rocks with us
he makes my life complete
from his googly eyes to his seven cute feet
his squeak so sweet
when I chews him he speaks
ain’t no toy can compete
I give him my paw
he’s an honorary claw
for DAMN sure
so c’mon
we’re done
go get me a treat
toss a biscuit in the basket
or some cheese to eat
it’s international dog day
man
and so far, anyway
if you gave me a damn survey
you wouldn’t see too many stars, let’s say

amazing grazer

I could just see
Stanley
off in the distance
tugging on grass
with the persistence
of a hungry cow or calf

why, I don’t know
maybe he just chose
to get some roughage
to stimulate retches
(or fancied a rummage
in the grasses and sedges)

he ignored my whistle
so I thought this’ll
definitely need
a different tack
so took out the lead
and walked straight back

I’m not embellishing
when I say he was relishing
every last blade
in that clump
like he was somewhat afraid
he wouldn’t eat in a month

why he does this I don’t know
so I Googled it when I got home
it could be PICA
which sounds close enough
it’s when you get hyper
and eat weird stuff

I clipped the lead on snappily
but Stanley came happily
like a sated alligator
or an unrepentant diner
led off by the waiter
for something really minor

the trouble with grass is
when the thing passes
and you feel insane
dismay without measure
birthing a skein
like a vet with a heifer