Writing with a Dog Under my Feet


“The sub-cartesian people will drive you nuts

But hooray for those who love their mutts…”

–Ogg of Ancient Schenectady


In the initial position I should admit to being depressed. I have always been depressed. I take medication for it. I work assiduously to overcome the declivities and swells of self-contempt and I ignore the little brother named exhaustion. Some mornings I climb a ladder and climb back down with nothing to show. On occasion I can scarcely leave my house.

The dog under my feet knows all this. She knows my dreams are tuned like the caffeinated mind of Stravinsky. She sees that I am dropping spoons for the music. She gives me good news: no news; nonsense; deferral; not giving a shit…

The best news is the dog’s entire disposition. She accepts you. Doesn’t care that you are merely a botched hominid.

Outside the window in a corn field the gold finches fly up like Orphic birds on Roman tombs. Agricultural dust settles on my neighbor’s glass topped garden tables and wicker chairs.  

I am lonely for my dead mother and father. I may have dreamt about them last night but I can’t remember. I hear my mother telling an irreverent story–she cursed like a longshoreman and didn’t give a rat’s ass for propriety. God how she hated poseurs. She kept a “shit list” and she never forgot who was on it. She was, of course, wildly depressed.

My dog is under my feet. I’m not wearing shoes. I rub her belly and shoulders and her long back. She snores occasionally. The warmth of her body is quick to my feet. Dogs and botched hominids warm one another. Always have.

“Anyone can talk of dying,” I tell my dog. “It’s the measure of tongue and footfall, of boats in darkness.”

My feet and my friend are simply minding their own business.



0 thoughts on “Writing with a Dog Under my Feet

  1. Hi Stephen,
    Claudia at The Bark just gave me a link to your site and I’m so impressed. You give me hope. YOU can go to my blog if you are curious about my story: http://www.murraydunlap.blogspot.com I’m trying to be a writer, so it meant quite a bit to see your work. Most people just don’t understand how difficult being handicapped is, and how frustrating. So keep up the good work!
    Murray Dunlap


  2. We don’t deserve them, but I’m so grateful that we have them! (she says, with a dog laying on her bare feet)


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