The Good Word of Sprout

Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, April 30, 2010

A Shooting

A man was shot yesterday across the street from my home. He didn't die, or hasn't died, and I hope he doesn't -- at least until he gets a chance to realize some more dreams. It was a drive-by, around quarter to eleven, and the police apprehended one of the suspects and found the gun and the vehicle used, driven by the other suspect. I came home about a half hour afterwards. There was a lot of police tape and blue flashing lights, but that's not uncommon. It didn't arouse a particular curiosity, other than with the flashing lights, which is purely aesthetic.

How do I feel about this (you, the therapist, ask)? Well, it's disturbing, but I'm not alarmed. The threat of death energizes my life. Is that cold to say that in this context? (You sideways nod.) Well, it's the city -- there is violence and people get shot, and those people have families, and getting shot is probably more bad luck than life decisions. I just hope that if we can't stop shootings entirely, that no one I know gets shot.

"Do you feel you know yourself?" you ask.

"Do you?" I ask.

"Yes," you say.

"Good job," I say.

I imagine it would be different if I witnessed the man getting shot, thumping the ground and bleeding. Or even if heard the shots and the screams, which I would have through my open window if my social life wasn't intermittently active. Thank God for friends. They've preserved a certain innocence.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Eulogy for my dog

No need to offer condolences, she died a year and a half ago. There was no funeral, although there should be, at least for Golden Retrievers.

Maggie tried to be a good dog, she really did, but her tail got the best of her. A red-gold blur whipping back and forth, she'd bring me a present, her heaviest toy, a plastic-composite bone dense as stone. She'd drop it right on my bare foot. In her world, weight meant value, as with gold, no matter a broken toe.

Over my mother's protests, she'd wipe her nose on the carpet until it made her sneeze, and then she'd have to wipe it again to rid it of dog-snot. Then again a sneeze, and again a "Stop it," and again a wipe, and again a sneeze. Dogs are the best. She taught me how to defy my parents and that there's a sustainable alternative to facial tissue.

When in need of anything, she'd nudge my elbow with her snout.

"Hey, hey, hey," she said. If not acknowledged, the nudges became blows.

She was an inside dog, but she'd always try to run out the door, intoxicated by the smells of the world -- grass and shit and deer. Oh, how she hated deer. They offended her. How dare these short-tailed herbivores infringe on her turf. I will bite them, she thought, I will bite them good. I will bite them on their nose, I will bite them on their hooves. They'll taste so much better than Iams. They'll have a better chew.

She loved me unconditionally. I miss her tail, the belly rubs, her joy, our joy. I miss the gross licking and having to wash my hands and my face. I miss the fights, when she wouldn't go to her room after shredding a toilet paper roll. She would growl and snap and I would tackle her and bite her on the scruff of the neck. That was news, I suppose.

I miss the mornings. She'd leap into my bed at seven and I'd say, "Get the fuck out of here," and shove her the fuck off the bed. Fucking dog. Then we'd share a banana for breakfast, and she would catch her half unless I threw it really high.

I taught her to sit. She taught me more.

Friday, April 09, 2010


The yelling in the middle of the night alarms the neighbors and probably terrifies my lover(s). If only I could stop dream-rodents from sneaking under the sheets, if only I could stop their squeaks, their little heartbeats, excited to bite my immobilized body, with just a psychological tweak.

I dream about plane crashes too, but I'm never on the plane, and there are no snakes. I'm just watching from the ground, approximately level, give or take. And I think, "That plane is flying too low."

Then, "Oh, shit!"


The plane explodes in a blackened pit, and I run away from the flaming falling debris.

It's usually about three. See?


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Problem/Solution/Com- plication

Problem: My tax dollars are being used to fund a war machine.

Solution: Stop paying taxes, go to prison.

Complication: Fashioning an ass-chastity belt out of spoons and dental floss. And something for my mouth too.