Monday, May 15, 2017

Dog Ran at Them Barking, or: Sixty-Nine Today


Carol Potter

It's quiet like that. Bucolic.
Looks like nothing's going wrong anywhere at all.
Bare trees rocking back and forth. Three crows
chasing an owl across the field into the woods.
Yesterday, men appeared at the top of the drive—
rifles, orange vests, big boots, at the same moment
dog ran at them barking and a 350 ton C-5 Air Force
cargo plane grazed us all. Its 200 foot wingspan at tree top,
the noise of it making each of us hold his or her
breath for a moment. Dog didn't bite the men.
Men didn't shoot dog; plane didn't crash.
Of course they were puzzled by the woman shouting
from the doorway of the house.

I wasn't shouting. I was swearing. At dog. At men
with rifles. Cargo planes. Forest. One week after
San Bernardino. The inexplicable mother and father.
It gets confusing. Which was which. When and where.
We heard the shots. Saw someone fall. The plane.
Boots on the ground. Dog barking.
One thing blending to another. Linkage disequilibrium, yes.
Something vestigial in us all. You might be the enemy
you were fighting from the air. What you know
might be useful information if you could shake your own self
down. Could remember what country you came from. What
language you were taught to speak. If you were the men
in the plane or the men the plane had come to take.
If you were the plane or if you were the bolts
on that plane or simply a passenger. What feeds us. What
we feed on. The men faded back into the woods. The plane
disappeared. Dog came back into the house.


  1. 1)the title of the review/essay "parliament of owls" at nyrb is an homage to chaucer's

    2)in carol potter's poem, i tried, without success, to understand what the phrase "linkage equilibrium" was doing in it

    it's a term from population genetics, and the population genetics of owls is discussed in the nyrb essay/review previously mentioned - but i feel no closer to understanding what potter might have been referring to

    3)owls eat mice - and serendipitously, while looking at fitzgerald's translation of attar's bird parliament, i came across the following quaint passage

    A Fellow all his life lived hoarding Gold,
    And, dying, hoarded left it. And behold,
    One Night his Son saw peering through the House
    A Man, with yet the semblance of a Mouse,
    Watching a crevice in the Wall—and cried
    'My Father?'—'Yes,' the Musulman replied,
    'Thy Father!'—'But why watching thus?'—'For fear
    Lest any smell my Treasure buried here.'
    'But wherefore, Sir, so metamousified?'
    'Because, my Son, such is the true outside
    Of the inner Soul by which I lived and died.'

  2. Bark Bark Bark Bark Bark. Eno's use of music as emotive and communicative art is genius. I put him in the same category as Frank Zappa, if that's not too odd a juxtaposition. Will fire up Music For Films tonight: "Patrolling Wire Borders" is a good, jangly Dog-In-The-Fog track, "Events In --" nonwithstanding.