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 As April is National Poetry Month, I present to you an older piece, one that I did two years ago in a class on Poetry and Social Justice. I’ve mentioned it once or twice before. This poem, “Dog,” was published in Active For Justice back in 2010, and I’ve linked to it previously, but now I’ll present the poem in its unedited entirety. Enjoy.

“Dog”

My face is new to you today, but you say hello to me

Anyway. I’m tired as hell, feeling sick, and my feet are

Already sore. It’s not a big deal, though, not in comparison.

Anyway, we’re not even halfway through this walk.

I’m young. I can handle it.

You smiled honestly as we walked up to you, as if

You knew what we were going to say and what we

Were going to offer you. Yes, you say, it’s a byooo-

Tee-full day outside today, but it’s going to get chilly

Tonight, when the sun sets.

I don’t know what your real name is. Out here you’re

A nickname. It’s protection. No one can hurt you if

They don’t know who you are. That’s the idea, at

Any rate. But no one can help you if they don’t know

That you’re here.

It’s a little after noon. I shouldn’t be so tired, and it

Really shouldn’t be an issue, not when I’m seeing

How you and your friends live. Not when I’m seeing

How badly you might need medicine, or propane to keep

Warm, or even just a damn toothbrush.

You don’t say “fucking” in front of us. You try to maintain

Some sort of air of being a gentleman in front of the lady in

Our group. She’s touched by this, and the fact that you call
Her byooo-tee-full, Despite that you’re wearing an inside-out

Hoodie and a bandana, and rarely put down your beer.

You know why you’re here today. You know that you’ve made

Some mistakes. Trusted people you shouldn’t have. Not trusted

The ones who would’ve helped you. Doesn’t matter now. You’re

Here, among friends, fellows, living together in a canvas city

Beside the creek.

You’re glad to see us walking the trail today. My tiredness and

Physical weakness is forgotten as you shake my hand and I feel

Your strength. Strength that you long to put to use for the benefit

Of a society that has shunned you because you don’t conform to

Its standards.

I wish that I could stay to chat with you longer, but we’ve still got

A lot of trail to cover. You’ve got places to be too, now that your

Natty Light and your hand-rolled smokes are done with. Lunch time’s
Over. It’s time for you to grab your bike and move on for a few hours,

But you’ve inspired me more than you’ll ever know.

I hope I see you again, under better circumstances.

                                    -Philip Krogmeier

                                January, 2010

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. By Stray Dog Strut « The Swords of the Ancients on 12 Apr 2012 at 2:03 pm

    […] Bebop episode titles, this is Stray Dog Strut. Some influence comes from the same source as the poem I posted. It’s also set in the same universe as the other story in this series, Asteroid […]

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