Feral Dogs of Riogordo
It's three a.m and I need a pee which I have been delaying
since it takes but the slightest movement to rouse the feral dogs of Riogordo. The dog who sleeps behind the house likes to conduct proceedings.
In my half sleep I see him with a baton which he raises and with two sharp yelps has the rapt attention of all dogs within a five mile radius. They quickly reach frenzy pitch to become a canine
cacophony of sound echoing across the countryside and down into the pueblo.
Pleased with tonight's turnout the conductor discards his baton and after a perfunctory nibble on his testicles, curls into a ball and sleeps.
The choir note his absence and become sotto voce until they too
abandon the proceedings to await the next tap of the conductor's baton.
Hilary has been writing for many years and has been published by Templar Press, Bristol PoetryCan, Leaf, Velvet, The Exeter Broadsheet, Obsessed with Pipework and Mr Garnham himself. She lives close to the river in the south west of England, with her partner and a small pack of dogs.
I knew he wanted a walk
when he brought in his lead,
pointed at the watch on my wrist
and started to bark.
He wasn’t particularly choosy
which route we took,
once we passed the bejazzled poodle
in number 14. They had history,
not all of it good, and even now,
she re-buffed his advances,
sitting inside the gate, checking
her nails and preening
her latest coiffure. The park,
a treasure trove of loose dogs,
was likely to offer more success,
and here he could afford to be picky,
turning up his nose at mongrels
and bull terriers, finding a shih tzu pretty
but superficial and setting his heart
on a cocker spaniel, come-to-bed eyes
and floppy ears. Coy at first,
the barriers quickly dropped and
what passed between them
was both romantic and breathless.
I’m not even sure if he caught
her name, although when we went
home, he scribbled something
on the wall above his bed,
then settled into a chair, happy to have
the rest of the day to himself.
In 2016, Maurice Devitt was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series and shortlisted for the Listowel Poetry Collection Competition. Winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland Competition in 2015, he has been placed or shortlisted in many competitions including the Patrick Kavanagh Award, Over the Edge New Writer Competition, Cuirt New Writing Award and the Doire Press International Chapbook Competition. A guest poet at the ‘Poets in Transylvania’ festival in 2015, he has had poems published in various journals in Ireland, England, Scotland, the US, Mexico, Romania, India and Australia, is curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site and a founder member of the Hibernian Writers’ Group.
The dog is doing his little dance. The little dance he always does whenever he wants more biscuits. He has a limited repertoire. He’s never been to dog training and we were too poor to send him to stage school.
As if, I say, I’m giving you any more biscuits when you’ve just turned up your nose at your dinner. A dinner of well-balanced tasty morsels that a team of canine nutritionists spent the best years of their lives perfecting. You, the same picky pooch who, given half a chance will happily snarf down six-month old roadkill.
Then I realise I’m being sarcastic – to a dog. My dog doesn’t understand English. Even if he could, he’s old and deaf now.
I begin to feel guilty, like maybe I’ve hurt his feelings. So I give him some more biscuits and explain that… I wasn’t laughing at him but with him.
My dog doesn’t do sarcasm but he appreciates irony.
(previously published in Not Expecting Fish anthology, Gatehouse Press, 2007)
Charles Christian is a former barrister and Reuters correspondent who now writes about tech, geek stuff, folklore, pop culture, medieval history, the just plain weird, and anything else he thinks you’ll enjoy.
My dog nearly ate my homework, Miss – I know what you are thinking
This isn’t some old tired excuse, his teeth were really sinking…
But luckily I grabbed my book and tugged it from his jaws
And as I tossed it in my bag he caught it with his paws
We wrestled with that maths book, an hour went by – or two!
Then suddenly he dropped down dead, I promise, Miss, it’s true
I loved that dog with all my heart – there was no one else you see
My mum and dad are missing, it’s a tragic loss for me
So I put my maths book by my bed and began my evening prayer
When a sudden bolt of lightning struck, it hit my CD player
And that of course burst into flames – it did, Miss, I’m no liar
And half my room was all ablaze as I hosed out the fire
I somehow saved my maths book though it got a little moist
Having worked so hard to do it all I really had no choice
I tried to remain collected, Miss, I made my bedtime drink
But after the traumas of that night I hardly slept a wink
I must have napped an hour or two and I’ll tell you how I know
Because at some point I was burgled by some lousy so and so
There was no sign of forced entry, no damage to my place
And that’s why I am positive he came from outer space
He didn’t steal my money or poor mum’s engagement ring
That alien took my maths book and that was everything
I’m not sure why he needed it – I can’t explain his actions
Perhaps he’s got behind in maths and was stuck with cosmic fractions
Don’t raise your eyebrows like that, Miss – I’m simply being candid
An alien stole my homework – that’s why I’m empty handed
(previously published in a Thynks Publications anthology)
James Woolf is a writer of short stories, scripts and adverts and occasional poems. ‘R V Sieger – additional documents disclosed by the Crown Prosecution Service’ was highly commended in the 2015 London Short Story Prize and will be published this month. Ambit magazine will be publishing another story later this year. He was shortlisted in the most recent Fish Flash Fiction competition. Prior to this, his plays have been produced in various off-West End venues including The King’s Head Theatre, the Arcola and the Theatre Royal Margate. Two radio plays have been broadcast including ‘Kerton’s Story’ with Bill Nighy, Lesley Sharp and Stephen Moore. He also write adverts for Black and Decker.