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Three Dogfish Poems

2009 May 4
by J. Scott Mosel

                         dsc_0028for Joe Bastow

My soul cries out for every undiscovered dog
who still crawls toward birth
in the sexual water
in which we swim, breathe, dream.

Kay Nina (b. 1939) Soul Dog Soul Fish

                          1.

Dogfish in the shade of the stream,
tails and scales: here
in this dream of water,
water ladled under the body
like a puddle of memory
we swim through to return
to our lives.

But we are afraid to return
to this swamp of graves.

We are afraid to remember
the crawling dog-spirit
at rest with its nose
on the edge of the sea
after eons of gill-song.

How easy it must be
to feed the dog, feed the fish,
move your hand over the water
or drop your donation
in the basket.

You can nibble and bark,
tow the line guard the house:

Hallelujah brother dogfish!

                          2.

Dogfish has his mind on simpler things
this evening, enough
of all the lawn mowers
and sprinklers
, he thinks,
this suburb needs a paint job.

It’s time to go caving.

Look at dogfish!!
He’s in the caves, brother!!
Dogfish is in the caves!!

Neolithic drawings of fat
wounded animals graze
through his hungry mind,
and Jesus bides his time
next to a fire only heaven
can put out. Dogfish thinks,

Brother, this fire is too warm.
I need to get wet
and chew bones.

Still hungry, Dogfish jumps
in his ’63 MG convertible
only to catch Jesus and Santa Claus
in the rear-view mirror
directing a chorus of tight-lipped
sea monkeys through the gospel
Take a Lap around Mt. Sinai.

And just when you think
this crazy gill brother’s done it all,
Dogfish goes back home
with his tail between his fins

and has a beer and a smoke.

 

                          3.

He’s trying to sort it all out:
charcoal grill, baseball, Buddhism.

The Olympics come and go
and Dogfish loves the synchronized
swimming — underwater breath
barks. What intrigues him

is the image of Buddha
at the bottom of his favorite
aquarium, head bobbing open
and closed,
letting out air. Dogfish thinks,

Buddha should have a gold medal.
He’s been down there longer
than anybody I know.

He leans over the aquarium
and hears each bubble-bark
as it pops: yah-blup, yah-blup.

There is an unmistakable
gill glory on this muzzle
as he barks this song
he knows too well:

scales on the doghouse wall.

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