The bully pulpit of a dog

Do you ever remember dogs who have done you wrong?

I remember one such mongrel who would chase me as if I had just stepped out of the butcher’s shop. Another mutt would hound me for days only to at last drop his master’s hand in my lap. And yet another, a poodle, would wait for me to get comfortable in my aunt’s musty chair, a tiny bite from my salmon and cucumber sandwich still moist on my tongue, before humping my leg. And then there was the terrier who bared its yellowing teeth and peed on my Sunday School trousers with a unholy smirk on its chops.

I won’t now go into pussies. There’s too much to tell and I’m superstitious about the felines in my past.

I wish I was making jam. Strawberry and raspberry and gooseberry and pear. I could see myself buying a feral apple orchard and I’d roll up in an old black Mercedes in autumn, harvest the apples, make sauce, and roll off to distant places selling my elixir.

There’s got to be more to life than a constant ache followed by a yearning that stretches like bubble gum from the schoolhouse desk to the coffin.

Have you ever been correct about a number of things but wrong about what matters?

I sometimes think I’m a bore to myself and that’s why I make things up for other people so that I’m not alone.

I found this in one of my retainer’s freshly laundered pair of trousers:

Confessions of a footman:

“Not only do I titillate the chamber maids, but I have been known, from time immortal, to swing in the mews and recite my chapel prayers from the Valley into the valet’s buttoned jacket. What gave me the most concern, however, was the pantry maid. She kept feeding me the devil’s cake, petite fours, and dewberry tarts. I had to upset her milk and lick her pussy. But then that’s what butlers do best, make things shine and present an order.”

Dogs leave me alone now, of course, because I’ve learnt to smell them out with my alpha tongue and pack them off as if I was the lone wolf of their sires.

The closest I come to my manliness is in my writing and when I have to pee. Although I can make a lovely fondue and can at the drop of a hat swagger and whisk and down a jug of ale. If I could carry anything, it wouldn’t be a gun but a notebook.

Gooseberries are a delight. Tart and sour and they would grow at the bottom of my grandmother’s garden on a rusted fence that somehow separated her place from the neighbours but in fact was there to support the wild spread of the gooseberry. I would go with colander and twist them free, their green skins horripilating under my fingertips. The they were washed and baked in a pie. And to this day I can get poetical at the smell of a gooseberry sweltering on the vine, dripping its vital energy into the weeds.

What patrols my perimeter are firs. And they are sexy in their way, and do at times remind me of the female genitalia. But that’s only because I am looking at them with a craving. Most of the time they sway and are silent and dark except when I turn on my outside light and then they grow menacing and become the hirsute mouth of a crazed god who devours mortal flesh.

If I could have anything patrolling my perimeter I’d opt for a bosky or a natural wall of roses or the reclining sensuous forms of nymphs and the erect and bestial forms of satyrs. Because it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

The same thing applies for topiary, too.

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