Late in the night, there is a time
When silence is total, for sometime.
Traffic stops then; tramps slump
Dogs stop barking, cats stop yowling,
Breaths are bated; leaves are frozen stiff.
Later, in the stillness of the night
When I must have slipped deeper
Into a slumber that is akin to death –
My old dog let out a howl.
There is an explosion deep in the heart
Shaken up from a dreamless sleep
A sense of regret, having to return –
I shush him, snuggle deeper into the sheets.
Slowly I must have wafted back
Into the swirls of sleep once again –
This time the howl was louder and longer
For the younger one now joined his father.
My head was being blown apart –
Jerking up, I shout, “SHADDAUP YOU DOPES!!”
Dropped back like a stiff nudged down
Struggling to remember my shattered dreams.
Why should there be a third time always?
The best of three or the worst of three
Why on your mark one two three
Why in myths, boons are always three?
I just sat up, blinking my eyes, feeling numb.
Scratched my groin,
Groped for a butt,
The beginning of yet another sleepless night.
The howl did have a beauty to it.
It began on a low key, skipped a couple
Went up piercing the moonlit night
Like a shaft of sorrow splitting my heart.
It was a ghoulish, mournful howl
It went ow ow o wow as if in pain –
As if death was on its daily prowl.
Beyond the gate, under the lamp
That streetwalker bitch was hanging about
Her eyes glinted in the light of my torch –
My old dog turns, looks at me -
Humble, gentle and apologetic.
“Don’t you know, master,
That I need my bitch
Just as you do yours?
Look at my boy, he needs one
To sow his seeds, as you did.
Let me out, let me be free
For a night to run with her.
To roam the streets, rumble with the boys
Let me be me just for a night.
Early in the morn
As you very well know,
I will be home wagging my tail
Your friend and servant, faithful and true.”
The stone must have hit
Right on her teats
For she let out a yelp
And ran into the night.
“Go to sleep”, I tell my dogs.
Tails are wagged politely
Doors are barred
Windows are shut –
Though sleep doesn’t, to my lonesome side.
(Apologies to Allen Ginsberg )