“No Bad Dogs”

 

A while ago, maybe

In the eighteen-eighties

(Sorry, I’m tired),

There was a dog-

Trainer named Barbara

Woodhouse

 

Who reasoned that

Dogs were fine—it was

Their humans who

Screwed up

 

I can see that; here,

There is an understanding

That when dogs go

Outside, treats are given

On returning

 

One dog, two dogs, no

Difference—all dogs get

Treats

 

Apparently, timelessness

Is a contract point as

Well

 

And so here I am,

Sitting with dogs in the

Middle of the night,

Not midnight but the

Middle, which means

Later

 

They bark (bad for

The neighborhood),

Claiming the need

To retreat to the yard,

One canine or the

Other (there is a

Tendency, a strategy,

To tag-team it)

 

Many times with

Treats each time, as

Earlier negotiated

 

So here’s what I

Learn: on TV at three

And four a.m., ninjas

Make coffee while

Dragons sell blades

(Presumably katanas,

Too)

 

The Twilight Zone

Prevails (I like that show),

Until we’re told that

Inductive cooking’s best

 

No virtue in deductive

Cooking?  Cooking with

Pre-Socratics or with

Sherlock Holmes?

 

There’s news, but it’s

Recycled every hour;

Local news takes over

Pre-dawn time

 

So, after scant hours

When we all agree

That sleep is good,

We wake up to start

A new round of table

Talk and trips for

Treats (maybe I’ll

End up hating

Hallowe’en—nah, I

Don’t think so)

 

(But) who let my sister

And her spouse out of

The country?  With

Such intransigent

Dissident doggies

Still stateside with me?

 

At least, when today

In just-dawn light I

Open the paper (that I

Don’t take at home)

 

I read that the

Pakistani student union

At the university

Is painting henna

Designs on children

And others to raise

Peaceful awareness

 

That’s good news

 

And, besides, “Who let

The dogs out?”

 

That is me

 

 

No Bad Dogs, Barbara Woodhouse, Touchstone, 1984

“Who Let the Dogs Out?” performed by Baha Men, 2000

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