Tom Koontz


Today's that kind of day
when I'm a dog
with hair like waves
of storm raised
all along my neck.
Bull shouldered,
nostrils flared,
my head thrust forward
and low-down, I aim
to be repulsive.

Rotting moonlight
kept me up all night.
The very thought
of "Rosy Aurora"
made me puke. Before
she dawned I raced
around the neighborhood
and woke up all the birds
and babies. Barking
barking barking barking,
barking barking barking
barking all day long. I
crack the very Crack
of Doom, split marriages,
make wrecks of sneaky
meter readers, sly thieves
and murderers disguised
as mothers pushing strollers,
cheerful invalids, night
watchmen cowering in bed,
gawky teen-age boys and
stringy girls in suntan
lotion lolling on their lawns.
They ask their boy-pets,
"Does he bite?" Circling
and circling I repel
deliverers, rush in and nip
the heels of messengers.
Do I bite?!

I cannot tolerate the whimpy
tweetle of the birds, the silly
walk of rabbits, or the dicty
way a squirrel sasses from
the limb I've chased him to. I
charge and sons of bitches
twice my size flee with tucked
tails and popping eyes. I
ambush anything on wheels. I'm
outraged if a cloud
trespasses on my sky. Do
these teeth bite? Just
watch me strut. Even
my best friend, my
so-called "master," screws me
over. Late for lunch.
No water in my dish.
He's such a pup. Who
does he think he is
to tell me to stay down?
"Sit." "Speak." "Roll
over." I jump and prance.
Lick faces. Take a whiff
of crotch. Don't try to hide
it from this nose. I can sniff
out the living and the dead,
and dig up both. What
difference does it make?
Piss on your shrubs!
And shit on sidewalks!
Do these teeth bite?

Just let me get between
two kids and I go
anywhere I want. I
shoulder right on
through the door. Clerks,
teachers, waitresses, librarians
all hesitate a sentimental second
late. I push the kids aside
and suddenly I'm Mr. Hyde
to their Go Seek. I sneak
into the john to cop
a peek. You wonder if I'll be
polite. I might.
Do these teeth bite?

I think today was planned
by a committee of geraniums,
chaired by an overgrown
zucchini. Like the one
your mama dates. Do
these teeth bite?

Do these teeth bite?!
Do snakes have bellies?
Do mules have rears?
Do asses have ears?

Tom Koontz, An Ordinary World.