taking god for a walk

And God created Dog
which you’d have to think was a little bit odd
given She was already everything and nothing
but goes to show The Girl wasn’t bluffing
when She said unto Man
I am what I am
(although: disclaimer
that mightn’t be God but Gloria Gaynor)
either way it pretty much covers all bases
how immanence works in the strangest of places
in the end, though
who knows?
maybe God just needed an independent nose
to sniff out Her mighty works with emotion
(and anoint with a sprinkle of doggy devotion)

Stanley & me in a garden on planet Earth

Stanley lies flat out on the grass
slow, not fast
while the morning’s shadows softly creep
and bees move fatly
flower to flower matter-of-factly
applying themselves to the business of existence
as I sit next to Stanley admiring their persistence

we’re just back from our walk
and if dogs could talk
this one would say
hey! WHAT a day!
if I had my way
I’d stay
like this forever
or until it’s time for dinner
or treats, or whatever

and Stan – I humbly beg your pardon
for disturbing the tranquillity of the garden
but you know one day this’ll all be gone, right?
and people and dogs will have to move on quite
because they’ve made the planet so sickly
with the hydrocarbons they’ve way too thickly
sprayed about
and after crazy years of lazing about
they suddenly start gazing about
with telescopes
making plans and copious notes
giving televised lectures
to CEOs and policy directors
about building an interplanetary Ark
while the ocean’s blaze and the skies grow dark
and lotteries are held in city parks
to see who stays and who embarks

I don’t know if you know this, Stanley
but apparently
for what it’s worth
the nearest habitable planet to Earth
is Proxima Centauri b
which I have to say is news to me
not that I follow astronomy
that closely
because – honestly?
I get lost in all the knotty specifics
of time, ships and astrophysics)

Proxima Centauri b
is a planet orbiting pretty neatly
a dwarf star that heats it nice and sweetly
supporting conditions for life completely
bees, humans, dogs called Stanley

the thing is, though
it’s a long way to go
4 point 2 light years or so
and you’d no doubt say
if you could talk
a bit too far for a dog to walk

and even if you COULD take flight
and travel at the speed of light
(which Einstein says is OUT OF ZE QVESTION!
then sneezes and pulls a crazy expression)
it would still take a while
one light year being 6 trillion miles
so … roughly 4 years
after 4 MINUTES you’d be bored to tears

but you see
there’s no need
to get worked up about time and speed
because speaking philosophically
you, me
and the bees
we’re just the same as Proxima Centauri b
made of the same stuff, atomically
born from the one, primeval womb
that birthed all existence in the cosmic boom
so I wouldn’t worry if I were you
you’re such a good boy, Stan – have another chew

the genesis of stanley

When God created Dog
He made Him in likeness of himself
being a scruffy, gruff
but lovable kinda lurcher
with a head for heights
and He named this dog Rufus

When Rufus had lived 200 years
he begat Toffee.
After Toffee was begatted
Rufus lived 800 more years
which was pretty good going
for a long-legged dog.
But then he died.

When Toffee had lived 4000 years
he begat a puppy
he did call Leon (also sometimes Sweet Nuts)
which was a minor miracle
because Toffee hadn’t thought much
about begatting since he was about 2000.
But then he died.

And when Sweet Nuts nee Leon had lived 95 years
he begat a puppy
he calleth George Michael
but not George Michael the singer
George Michael from Arrested Development
the begatting was the main thing
and it all went off nicely enough

When George Michael was 223
he begat a puppy called Fig
Fig lived a ludicrously long time
begatting as he went
the last begattee being
Rascal, short for Raskalnikov
because he always looketh
distracted and kinda shifty

Rascal lived – I don’t know,
name your figure –
until he didst begat
a puppy called Stanley
and Rascal said
this puppy shall be a boon to us
(whatever a boon is)
and though he shalt eat us out of hut and home
it shalt be totally worth it

and that was that
the end of the begat
(sadly undisputed;
Stanley came neutered)

like clockwork

you always know when it’s eight o’clock
because Stanley paces around a lot
testing your patience to the max
roaming the kitchen playing his sax
blowing with such a jazzy wheeze
howls n’trills in minor keys
toots n’squeals
whatever he feels
till you cry to heaven and serve his meals

you always know when it’s six o’clock
because Stanley stares like a dog in shock
hoping you’ll find his vacant expression
a picture of such deep depression
you’ll want to drag him from the brink
and send him to a canine shrink
for a course of therapy
(or the cheaper remedy:
an early serving of his favourite recipe)

is that fur enough

it was wet
absolutely the wettest yet
if there’s been a wetter day
I have to say
I forget
but after a lot of toing and froing
about whether or not we’d be going
walking, or maybe rowing
because the streets were overflowing
with water
and maybe we oughta
be staying indoors
with our hands and our paws
draped over the couch
waiting till the sun came out
the sensible choice without a doubt

hell no
we decided to go
and obviously
when I say ‘we’
I mean ‘me’

because Stanley
was nonplussed
looking at me with level disgust
as I optimistically thrust
the lead in his direction
(dropping ten points in his general affection)

so…WAS it wet?
buoy – you bet

in Italiano
era bagnato
in French you might say
c’était mouillé
either way
the result’s the same:
a pet gets wet and I’m to blame

despite the weather
the biblical cataracts
kids were out playing a football match
wildly splashing down then up
happy as crabs in the Crustacean Cup
Stanley grimaced
as dog was his witness
the dumbest thing
he’d ever witnessed

he was equally aghast
when we passed
a woman and her dachshund
in matching macs und
kitted out for tough pursuits
survivalists out on an expedition
all the gear for any condition

stared at me
with a look
he took
from the mean look book
(Stanley should know; he’s a connoisseur)
it meant: ‘And you drag me out in just my fur’

blockbusters lurchers

A great white lurcher
sneaks up on the sofa
I’m horrified. drop the remote
we’re gonna need a bigger boat

A lurcher travels beyond Mach 10
from the sofa to the kitchen and back again
how the hell have we ever bourne it
a dog that’s faster than a super hornet

A lu’cha from the RSPCA tribe
in a vaguely glastonbury kinda vibe
a walk in the wet is never easy
(vigorous towelling can make you queasy)

a worrying tail

it’s a delicate, dog / human stalemate
I want to sit down but I’m worried about your tail mate
look at you – sprawling
on the floor
between the desk and the door
with awful
but ignorance
is no defence in law
so if your tail gets a kink
when I sit down to think
and you howl
and growl
and kick up a stink
any attempt by you
to lawyer-up and sue
will be laughed out of court
so here’s a thought:
why make snoozing quite so fraught
tuck in your tail before it gets caught
I know you find the desk inviting
but I GOTTA sit down and do some writing

snack rabbit

Stanley was standing
off in the distance
and notwithstanding
my whistling insistence
he showed a deal of dogged resistance
stopping where he was
and I saw it was because
he was furiously snacking
on something
he’d found in the grass
and I hated to think what that something was
so I hurried over
and as I got closer
lost my composure
because what I saw was grosser
than anything you’d see on a horror film poster:
a particularly ripe and reeky rabbit
a deceased easter bunny with a belly full o’maggit
absolutely gross
an ex bugs’ bunny th-th-th-that’s all folks
one decidedly final dose
of goodnight bright eyes adios
I won’t water shit down:
this rotten ol’cottontail was pound for pound
the most hideous dinner a dog ever found
and suddenly hey presto
he’s tucking in with gusto
all fright, al fresco
doggy mind over dodgy matter

who the hell knows
why a dog with a nose
so super-sensitive
would think
such a stink
was representative
of the finest feast a dog could eat?
a canine Michelin, three star treat?

and it makes you feel a bit of a lummox
buying dog food for sensitive stomachs
when he dines like a fiend with a dirty habit
on a rotten ol’pile of rancid rabbit?

make your own stanley

what you will need:
essence of fox
zest of wolf
sloth extract
some bagpipes
a whisk
a balloon
a clock
3m of curly white carpet
a big box with nothing in it
packing tape

Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 (to heat up your dinner while you’re working)
Cut six holes in the big box – one in front, one out back, four underneath.
Place the bagpipes in the box with the four long pipes poking through the underneath holes.
Put the pipe you blow through the back hole.
Put the whisk in the front hole.
Throw in the essence, the zest and the extract.
Wind up the clock and chuck it in.
Close the box.
Seal the box with packing tape.
Blow up the balloon. Draw eyes, nose & mouth on it. Stick it on the end of the whisk.
Cover the box with the curly white carpet.
Have your dinner (sneaking Stanley some cheese when no one’s looking.)