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April 27th JP Poem Pick

Today’s poem was chosen by Gretchen Schulz and was written by the famous San Francisco poet, one of my personal favorites, Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Dog

The dog trots freely in the street

and sees reality

and the things he sees

are bigger than himself

and the things he sees

are his reality

Drunks in doorways

Moons on trees

The dog trots freely thru the street

and the things he sees

are smaller than himself

Fish on newsprint

Ants in holes

Chickens in Chinatown windows

their heads a block away

The dog trots freely in the street

and the things he smells

smell something like himself

The dog trots freely in the street

past puddles and babies

cats and cigars

poolrooms and policemen

He doesn’t hate cops

He merely has no use for them

and he goes past them

and past the dead cows hung up whole

in front of the San Francisco Meat Market

He would rather eat a tender cow

than a tough policeman

though either might do

And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory

and past Coit’s Tower

and past Congressman Doyle of the Unamerican Committee

He’s afraid of Coit’s Tower

but he’s not afraid of Congressman Doyle

although what he hears is very discouraging

very depressing

very absurd

to a sad young dog like himself

to a serious dog like himself

But he has his own free world to live in

His own fleas to eat

He will not be muzzled

Congressman Doyle is just another

fire hydrant

to him

The dog trots freely in the street

and has his own dog’s life to live

and to think about

and to reflect upon

touching and tasting and testing everything

investigating everything

without benefit of perjury

a real realist

with a real tale to tell

and a real tail to tell it with

a real live

      barking

          democratic dog

engaged in real

        free enterprise

with something to say

            about ontology

something to say

        about reality

                and how to see it

                  and how to hear it

with his head cocked sideways

            at streetcorners

as if he is just about to have

        his picture taken

            for Victor Records

      listening for

          His Master’s Voice

    and looking

        like a living questionmark

              into the

            great gramophone

          of puzzling existence

      with its wondrous hollow horn

        which always seems

just about to spout forth

      some Victorious answer

        to everything

 

So, for today’s prompt, let’s write a cultural poem. Obviously, this is open to innumerable interpretations. But, for some reason, whenever I read Ferlinghetti, I am proud to live in America–proud to inform and be informed by its many musings…

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