Tag Archives: poem

Questions (or: how my 1999 self felt about school shootings)

After the massacre at Columbine High School on 20 April 1999 – which should have been our last school shooting – I spent the next two days holed up in my dorm room, watching the 24-hour news channels rather than sleeping or going to classes. At the end of that time, as my body’s need for sleep was finally overcoming the shock, I poured all of my feelings out onto the page.

Even with 30 years of practice, I have never claimed to be more than a mediocre poet. But this particular poem is only a first draft, and also the only freeform poem I am ever likely to write, so it’s especially rough. It’s also the raw, unedited original, exactly as I wrote it nearly two decades ago. The only changes I made were to style the title, and add the copyright and note at the bottom.

Since we just had yet another school shooting, this seems like a good time to share this with the world – as well as the haiku I started after the previous school shooting, and finally finished this evening and posted to Twitter:

(Please forgive the giant image. The limitations of HTML make it impossible to share this poem as anything other than a PDF or image.)


Dog Haiku

The first thing Lura and I did after getting home from our honeymoon 15 years ago next week was adopt an adorable stray mutt we named Meekay. Wednesday afternoon he breathed his last breath. I have of course started a tribute poem, but in the meantime here are some hilarious dog haiku to serve as a memorial.

Meekay, our small, black terrier mix dog at the age of 7

Note: The authorship of these is matter of some debate. If you know who actually wrote them please let know so I can give due credit.

Love my master;
Thus I perfume myself with
This long-rotten mouse.

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You ever will be

Today I sniffed
Many dog behinds—I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paper boy—come to kill us all—
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I lift my leg and
Whiz on each bush.
Hello, Spot—Sniff this and weep

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man—come to kill us all—
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

How do I love thee?
The ways are numberless as
My hairs on the rug.

I sound the alarm!
Mail carrier—come to kill us all—
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I have
Made a puddle

I sound the alarm!
Gardener—come to kill us all—
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I Hate my choke chain—
Look, world, they strangle me!
Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!

Sleeping here, my chin
On your foot—no greater bliss—well,
Maybe catching mice

Look in my eyes and
Deny it. No human could
Love you as much I do

The cat is not all
Bad—she dots the neighborhood
With Tootsie Rolls

Dig under fence—why?
Because it’s there. Because it’s
There. Because it’s there.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

My owners’ mood is
Romantic—I lie near their
Feet. I fart a big one.