Dogs 2007

LOUDER THAN THEY THINK
(6/17/07)


"he was such
a beautiful
child"

"a bit
of a little
wild animal
though
wasn't he?"

"he had
these glowing
blue eyes"

"all that
unruly hair
right
from the
start!"

"he was such
a little
gentleman"

"his mother
gave him
a crew cut
when he was only
weeks old...

all that hair!"

I was
half
a room away
with my back turned
but the great aunts
had a fairly
great range

"he was
a good student
too"

"but he didn't
really
study anything
that practical
did he?"

"they thought
that he might
become a doctor
or a lawyer"

"instead
he turned into
a drunk
and a drug
addict"

"I thought
that he just
drank"

"drugs
and alcohol
hand in hand
the younger generations
mix 'em
and match
'em"

"but
he's sober now
I don't think
that he's had
a drink
in some time"

"it took
his poor mother dying
to finally
straighten him out"

my cousin's
in front of me
seemed oblivious
to the reputation
dismemberment
by the old ones
much as was I
when their names
were being mangled
in the babuska blender

"look at him now
though
so thoughtful
and pleasant"

"if he's
so much better
why isn't he
married"

"wasn't he?"

"nope
he's almost 50
and never
been married"

"is he
a homosexual?"

"do you
mean gay"

"does he
like
other men?"

"I don't know
for sure
he's brought
women with him
in the past"

"they didn't seem
like happy women
to me"

"maybe he brought them
just for show"

"a movie?"

"no
you old bat
maybe he just wanted
to put on the appearance
of having
a girlfriend"

"he should have
found
better actresses
then"

their laughter
stopped everyone
in mid-gesture
as the cackling
reverberated
about
the large
crowded room

I turned
and waved
at them
smiling
and saying
in a normal
tone of voice

"mind
your own business
you hateful
old bitches"

one cousin
grabbed at my arm
to turn me
back around

"what did he say?"

"I don't know
but it was probably
something catty...

you know
how those people
are"

"yes
it probably was
something catty...

he needs
a good
boyfriend"

their laughter
screeched across
my blackboard back
as I left
the room

the party
was over

for me