UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
ALAN BRITT

The Dog Hours

The dog hours
of morning.

Hours panting on kitchen tiles,
hours curled beside air-conditioner vents.

But these hours check things out, too,
the bookcase with its pine shelves jaguar-ringed
by a propane torch,
and Christmas shopping bags
losing their balance
between June and July.

Although these hours resemble hungry jackals,
a harmonica is commissioned
to guide us
through salvation.

Do you think salvation really exists?

Or is it all just a ruse
designed to sell records?

The dog hours
think I'm crazy.

From their perspective
maybe I am.

But at least I have a marginal sense
of who I'm supposed to be,
which is more than I can say
for these dog hours
sniffing scraps of solitude
from a white, kitchen garbage bag.


The Old Poet

He's one helluva poet.

You should see his awards
lining crystal cabinets
in the guest bedroom.

He has framed atta-boys
adorning his hallway.

And piles of award-winning books
fueling his make-shift library.

But, ultimately, when that Peruvian anaconda
with her cinnamon scales
and hazy gaze of lust
tightens her hips
around his archaic adjectives and hollow verbs,
the old poet won't stand a chance.


Old Poets

So, you haven't made it
into all the bookstores, yet?

Fate's a dictator.

Get used to it.

Remember, there's always tomorrow,
or the next day,
or the next.

But it's impossible
to predict
if fate
like a prized pig
will ever snuffle
your gorgeous poems
beneath the Black Forest floor,
or embrace your exquisite,
white-throated verbs
warbling
in the branches
of old age.


Alan Britt's recent books: Greatest Hits (2009),
Vegetable Love (2009), Vermilion (2006),
Infinite Days (2003), Amnesia Tango (1998) and
Bodies of Lightning (1995). Poems recently in
American Poets Against the War, Metropolitan
Arts Press, Chicago/Athens/Dublin (2009) and
The Bitter Oleander, Coe Review, Confrontation,
English Journal, Magyar Naplo (Hungary), Midwest
Quarterly, Square Lake. Had considered changing
his name officially to Colonel Angus but fears
the legal fees would bury him. He lives in
Reisterstown, MD with his wife, daughter and two
Bouvier des Flandres, one Bichon Friese and two
formerly feral cats.







2004 - 2009 Underground Voices