Tuesday, April 10, 2012


I attended the first Indy WordLab meeting last night, something I recommend to any Indianapolis writers who want to meet others of their ilk. What came out of it was the following poem. I'll share the poem first; commentary will follow.


We were just pups when we met,
your tail tracing quick arcs behind you,
And me,
wishing I had my own tail to wag,
becoming the middle child.

We grew together,
playing, panting, running, wrestling,
and growling in that familiar way,
telling each other our secrets.

We gave you too much freedom
(if there is such a thing)
and you freely became my first worry,
disappearing for a day, then two, then three.
Mom always said you knew what you were doing,
knew where you were going and how to get back.

And you always did,
covered in mud and burrs and fleas,
a sopping mess of tangled hair,
your tongue bouncing out,
ready to go back to playing, panting, running, wrestling,
and growling in that familiar way.

And we would clean you up —
though you hated bathtime even more than I —
and fill your bowl, and scratch your head,
just happy to have you back home.
Because you always came back home.

Except when you didn't.

I wondered then as I wonder now
where you hobbled off to,
your arthritic legs being wagged by your tail,
your cotton fur faded by fun
and stained by time.
Where did you wander off
to begin your last adventure?

Sometimes I roll through the old hometown
and I hear you speak
and see your ears flop behind fences,
and I smile at your outlaw progeny,
playing, panting, running, wrestling
with some other blond-haired boy,
and growling in that familiar way.

I know exactly dick about nonrhyming poetry. I used to try it, back in my melancholy teens and self-destructive early twenties, and I got so sick of it. Mostly because it was masochistic ego-stroking.

In fact, not long after I started blogging, which took the place of years of journaling, I realized how tired I had grown of writing about myself. So I stopped. Not writing, but writing about myself. For the most part.

So what grew out of the "writing experiment" at last night's meeting took me back to a place I haven't been in a while. I didn't even start out to write a poem...it just came out that way. And I rather like it.

Any Indianapolis writers who are interested in this writing workshop/meetup/rip-roaring good time, the group meets on the first Monday of every month. Check it out at Meetup.com.