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Walter Bargen: Dogs of Beauty

Somewhere in some other place

their kind are wild, meant for

the verdant and exotic, and on

the west slopes of the coastal

range, near Palos Verdes, where

the foothills run down and are lost

in a salty desert of blue waves,

they are wild again, having wandered

from watered lawns, crossed over

tennis courts, followed paved drives

back into the bleached foothills.


The cry of peacocks is the cry of

those denied, of those who leave

and come back offering a handful

of seeds and an upraised arm,

and perhaps that’s why, after luring

a gaudy male to perch near him,

he caught it, grabbing its spurred,

scaly legs, and held it for his friend

hiding in the bushes, to come running

with the dog, and while waiting

he was careful not to stare into

its glossy black eyes, heeding his mother’s

warning that it’d peck his eyeballs out,

and then he’d be dumb a as bird, if not blind.


He set the peacock free,

if that’s what it is to be chased by

the dog; its awkward wings beat

the ground, and in defense, its emerald

tail fanned wide above its outstretched

head, an iridescent forest filled with

unblinking stares, each eye lined

with a delicate fluttering mascara.


Within the feather of fear that

tickled their laughter, in the flight

they didn’t fully understand but

would be their’s soon enough,

in the growing distance between

who they were and the untouchable

thing they were becoming, there was

this irresistable slavering beauty.


Copyright 2018 Walter Bargen

Walter Bargen has published 21 books of poetry. Recent books include: Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems (BkMk Press, 2009), Trouble Behind Glass Doors (BkMk Press, 2013), Perishable Kingdoms (Grito del Lobo Press, 2017), and Too Quick for the Living (Moon City Press, 2017). His awards include: a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the William Rockhill Nelson Award. He was appointed the first poet laureate of Missouri (2008-2009).


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This entry was posted on August 9, 2018 by in Environmentalism, Poetry and tagged , , , , , , .

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