Sunday, July 29, 2012

MagpieTales: Black Dog

Zelko Nedic (via Magpie Tales)

There is always one hair that hides in the moustache of my beard, waiting until the trimming is done before poking its head out to see what is happening. I play with it between tongue and lip as I sit on the porch, feet on the rail as pistons, pushing the chair in a gentle rhythmic glide.

Stars still hold the stage, having yet slipped to back up behind our sun. Night creatures prickle at the edges, on leaves, over mulch, along sharp blades of grass. No cars on the streets yet, no one has anywhere to be but in bed---dreaming.

I disagree with Aristotle, it's not just dreams that blur the lines between good & bad people.

A disembodied pinprick of orange winds the road, its soft glow capturing the man's lips and chin before lowering by his leg. His dog's eyes glimmer in the moonlight, the rest of him in shadow. The click of his claws on the asphalt send Morse code messages to stray cats or squirrels---clear the road.

Every morning they walk this way. He smokes. The dog periodically stops to mark a bush. It is cooler than what the day will bring when they retreat in the house. Unseen again until morning. Click. click. click.

All the secrets of the universe may reside inside him, his mind turning them round as he surveys all in the night---I don't know, he never speaks. They never alter their course, down and back in the quiet. Maybe he's our guardian, or---

He cleans this throat of the previous day and spits, the dog pays no notice. Click. click. click.

There is a soft rattle of keys as he steps into the pool of light by the door to his house, back to me, dog obedient by his feet. Their door opens into darkness and they disappear within. The door closes, light goes out.

In a pregnant moment of silence, stars fade, as our sun sends its first rays across the mountains.

I cross the porch, deck boards creaking and enter my own home, to find scissors, the hair having lost my interest.

written for Magpie Tales.

84 comments:

Mama Zen said...

Beautiful moment, Brian. Well told.

Susan said...

Again, the winning pattern--setting the scene and then the focus and then the action in the scene. POW!

"All the secrets of the universe may reside inside him, his mind turning them round as he surveys all in the night---I don't know, he never speaks. They never alter their course, down and back in the quiet. Maybe he's our guardian, or---"

As the speaker swirls and turns that one uncut hair (secrets of the universe), which--like the walking pair--will be gone in a moment.

Jinksy said...

Good move to 'invent' a door in that dead end wall...means the story carries on...

DCW said...

Neat capture of one of those recurring experiences that set the context for many of our thoughts.

Laurie Kolp said...

Such a lovely capture... we don't really know people, do we? The real person hidden under all the gunk. I especially like:


I disagree with Aristotle, it's not just dreams that blur the lines between good & bad people.

Mrsupole said...

I hate when that one hair gets by me and then I have to keep feeling it until I tweeze it. And maybe the man thinks the same thoughts about you and that you never say a word, but you sit and watch him every day and he goes into the house and turns out the lights so he can watch you go inside without you seeing him. Maybe you should say howdy and see what happens.

Really great suspense here.

God bless.

Daydreamertoo said...

Another lovely capture of life's special moments. These snippets of life are what most of us in our rush to get from morning to night, always miss. I love the description of the dog :) (Being a little dog owner myself, of course I did)
Hope you got that hair ;)

Tabor said...

Ships that pass in the night, or in your case, the early morning.

farmlady said...

It's wonderful and amazing to me what you find in a painting or photo.
This painting is an exceptionally good one. A lot is being said... there is something poignant about the relationship of this man with this dog.It's so visually there.
So is your story.

Monkey Man said...

I often wonder as I walk my dog on the same route we have walked for years, what those people on the porches think as we pass....you have captured the moment to perfection my friend.

and dang, I hate those stray hairs ;)

Magpie said...

I'm sure there were deep thoughts accompanying you on your early morning vigil. Hang tough.

Mimi Foxmorton said...

They come to know us by our dogs........ ;)

Bee's Blog said...

I wonder how many of us, deep in thought ritually walk our dogs never once giving a thought to what passers by may think of us.

Grace said...

I like details of the road, the man and his dog and the early morning. I am wondering what you will do with the scissors :-)

Happy Sunday ~

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...

Thanks, for sharing a [very] well-written, [very]captivating, and [very visual] poem...Which is the middle and...

leading from:
"There is always one hair that hides in the moustache of my beard, waiting until the trimming is done before poking its head out to see what is happening..."

and leading to:

"In a pregnant moment of silence, stars fade, as our sun sends its first rays across the mountains.

I cross the porch, deck boards creaking and enter my own home, to find scissors, the hair having lost my interest."


[a]nd for sharing the Magpie image Zelko Nedic (via Magpie Tales) too!]
deedee :)

Myrna R. said...

Like G-Man, I wonder what thoughts go through people's minds as they see me daily walking my dogs. I guess there's a little mystique to those we don't know. There's a vacuum for us to fill with our imaginations.

Nice write about the moment.

Raven said...

I love this. Well, first I went out on my deck last night (it was a bit cooler for a change). I sat back and watched the moon.

There is comfort and familiarity here ... warmth. That is what I like.

Paula Wooters said...

Ah, the secret lives of dog walkers. Funny how I know the names of all the dogs we meet at the dog park, yet I don't catch the names of their human companions.

Annie said...

Overhead opening shedding light on our subjects and showing them the way out. The mood is dreamy and enchanting.

Lolamouse said...

Another wonderful slice of life story, Brian. I love how seamlessly you weave the inner and outer lives of your characters. The mundane and the mysterious intermingle and do an intricate dance. Just great.

Linda said...

Spectacular imagery down to the last hair, on the closing of a day in the life. Thank you for sharing your talent here, Brian. =D

Brandee Shafer said...

I disagree with Aristotle, too. It's not just dreams. I was right with you on that there porch.

Betsy Brock said...

I wonder if your cats know the dog. :)

Mary said...

One can only guess what goes on inside the mind of a person who never speaks. A fascinating study of man and dog, Brian.

Dana Dampier said...

Maybe one morning you should say hi... they might not be such a mystery after.He could be wondering the same of you on your porch.

Adura Ojo said...

I'd say the silence tells more than anyone would ever know, Brian:)

Kathe W. said...

your story pulled me onto sitting on your porch watching this little slice of life before dawn.

Pat Hatt said...

Hmm thoughts surley bound
As one sees the same hound
Not sure what the cat would think
But surely want the dog to sink haha

kaykuala said...

It's mesmerizing to observe the walkers. They have their own way of doing things that duplicates the previous day's. It's a fun thing!

Hank

lifeisaroadtrip said...

You are obviously a very thoughtful guy,. Take that as you wish. :-) But I do love how you describe even the most mundane events.

Annmarie Pipa said...

yes..lifes moments...comforting in the routines.

Gloria said...

ah so nice Brian!:)

hedgewitch said...

Life is a mystery, and all of us in it, mysteries to each other. Great capture of that feeling, bri.

J Cosmo Newbery said...

An amazing kaleidoscope of images that come together as a whole.

Leovi said...

That's an excellent approach, full of imagination.

manicddaily said...

Subtle, vivid; one feels very present in this piece. k .

Daniel said...

Hope your mind is at peace as you sit in your sanctuary and ponder all of the happenings in your life.

Kutamun said...

Great shapeshifting tale, Brian , reminds me if the Daemons in "The Golden Compass" . I would be lost without my various creatures

KB said...

Lovely wee tale.

izzy said...

Something about those porches, dogs-
day or night... I do love spying on others "people watching" I think they call it! Have a good week-

sheila said...

minute observations told in such a soothing way. No plot, just a morning moment - very nice.

Helen said...

I love watching people with their dogs ... continually amazed at how much they resemble each other. Bet that black dog has a stray hair too, and it's gray.

SueAnn Lommler said...

I love the glimpse into his life...and the dog...ever faithful..eager to please! Yes you captured this well.
Hugs
SueAnn

Wander said...

Nice piece Brian...sounds a bit like something that would happen when I stay up too late.
Had to go to the er tonight, still not breathing well

Sue J said...

A lovely vignette.

Catfish Tales said...

Lovely, Brian - sheer poetry of movement and imagery....

"I disagree with Aristotle, it's not just dreams that blur the lines between good & bad people"

Gosh, that says it all - clear the way...woof, woof!

Valerie said...

The private life of the dog walker....

Excellent.

You knew I would love this, I'm sure, but did you know I would read and reread a couple more times?

Lorraine said...

I love how you see and perceive other people, most don't bother

Dave King said...

All the secrets of the universe may reside inside him, his mind turning them round as he surveys all in the night---I don't know, he never speaks.

Love the thought of this.
Fine telling, not quite in your usual style, I think.

Lyn said...

I like that the hero is both himself and the companion. The dog is always only himself...a good universe, indeed...

Help! Mama Remote... said...

The details and picture painted is always superb! The click of his claws on the asphalt send Morse code messages to stray cats or squirrels---clear the road.

Doctor FTSE said...

Another fine piece of writing, evoking both scene and character as the dog takes his Man for his regular walk.

Hilary said...

You sure do know how to recreate a moment or several. Sometimes I think that all the secrets of the universe may reside inside of YOU.

Oh and that stray moustache hair.. Frank has them, too. And they always appear at the wrong time. ;)

Claudia said...

nice..love the atmosphere in this...the mysterious man, the early morning mood, was almost feeling a bit sad when you cut that hair..smiles

ladyfi said...

wonderfully lyrical and descriptive.

Helena said...

You know - my hubby's got these particular scissors that he keeps past for one annoying hair in his 'tache that grows back quicker and thicker than the rest of them! Is there something I should know...?!lol

I loved the relative descriptions of man and dog here, Brian. As always, you never fail to deliver.

ninotaziz said...

Moments in people's lives. They unfold before us and leave an excellent story.

ninotaziz said...

Moments in people's lives. They unfold before us and leave an excellent story.

Karen S. said...

I so love the places you lead me with your words!

hyperCRYPTICal said...

This is truly beautiful writing Brian, worthy of some great prize.

Not your usual style I think and one I would welcome reading often.

Anna :o]

She Writes Here Now said...

I really like the way you did this. The juxtaposition between the narrator and the protagonist is very effective here.

"A disembodied pinprick of orange winds the road, its soft glow capturing the man's lips and chin before lowering by his leg."

Some great lines as the one above. The piece has texture for all the senses. Nicely done!

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell said...

I like the image (minus the hocking). That visual I could live without. ;)

JANU said...

The mundane, daily occurrences become magical with your words.

Alice Audrey said...

I can feel the cool and the quiet of the morning, even thought I'm not a morning person and would hardly have much experience to refer to.

Tara Miller said...

I like the descriptions of the early morning and the peacefulness it brings but then when you start describing the man there's a eerieness that creeps in.

Sharp Little Pencil said...

This portrait reveals so much that the speaker is only guessing at... I love the mystery of the journey and the ultimate end of this, Brian. Amy

Tumblewords: said...

Intriguing thoughts brought together by an unruly hair. Amazing piece!

flipside records said...

"All the secrets of the universe may reside inside him, his mind turning them round as he surveys all in the night" ... This may well be true. But knowledge in the mind of solitude and silence may find its way across the line onto the bad side.

I love this short story. It's too good in its entirety to draw out favorite lines. It's wonderful as a whole. Excellent insight and weaving from the personal details to the existential.

Tess Kincaid said...

I loved the opening and closing with the earthiness of the random whisker...

sage said...

I've been wondering what my dog has been thinking! Well done!

RMP said...

at that hour of the day, I would most definitely be dreaming. a shame though, seeing as how I miss the stars fade into light...miss trying to decipher the Morse code...miss the peaceful ponderings of watching what lurks in the darkness of early morning (and the recess of my early morning mind).

Wayne Pitchko said...

another nice one Brian.....thanks for sharing

adan said...

aristotle to mustache hair ;-)

"In a pregnant moment of silence" -

a snippet with a lot of unanswered questions, a good thing, because i want to know more...

the narrative carries me!

thanks so much brian, an interesting read ;-)

moondustwriter said...

simplicity is a great distraction
some times we need it...

cheers my friend
thanks for your visit and always gracious words

Moonie

moondustwriter said...

simplicity is a great distraction
some times we need it...

cheers my friend
thanks for your visit and always gracious words

Moonie

Nancy said...

Wonderfully written, Brian. (That dog looks like our dog.)

Sreeja said...

Casual things bringing out deep thoughts....woww.... it's not just dreams that blur the lines between good & bad people....well said...

Lydia said...

Wow. This piece has just everything going for it. I love your writing so much, Brian.

"The click of his claws on the asphalt send Morse code messages to stray cats or squirrels---clear the road." -- Perfection!

Zuzana said...

I think what I like best about your writing is how you turn every day observations into a poignant potpourri of reflections.;)
I so wonder how it feels to have a mustache.;))
xoxo

Sue said...

Maybe he's our guardian, or---

gulp

Lots of mystique here. Well done.

=)

turtlememoir said...

i love the moustache hair poking its head out to see what's happening... :) & the way you fall so naturally into the black dog story & then back again, into yours (the observer's)...

Carrie Burtt said...

This is an amazing write Brian.....a beautiful capturing of the mysteries of lives that cross our paths! :-)

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

when are you gonna put all of this posts into a book Sir Brian? another awesome write...

JJRod'z

poeticlicensee said...

Was walking with you & dog on this one. The secrets to the universe lay in nature. More people need to pay the same close attention you & many other artists do...