February 5, 2023

Renga Chunk 2 & 3

by Milton Dawg, Michael Morical and Philip Miller

Illustration by Philip Miller

Renga Chunk 2

the thoroughbreds come and go
talking of nothing at all

2 mutts sniffing
each other’s behinds –
intelligent design

rotation of canine bodies:
nose to tail/nose to tail

she doesn’t
sniff me anymore
the trees are bare

tracking her scent–
in the branches   half moon

under my paws
racket in the snow

I race into the wind
each whisker stuffed with ice

dog stew
warming a cold night –
shiver me timbers!

licking Master’s salty fingers–
the flavor of red meat

welsh rarebit
congeals in my bowl –
where’s the gravy train?

set into frozen ground–
rabbit tracks

can’t tell
the snow from the birches –
tracking a hound

on the pure white earth
still a trail of yellow spots

lifting his leg
to pee on master’s –
spots in the snow

kicking the zero air–
old man on the ice

the walk
I didn’t shovel
rings my bell

trotting through the snow
dog tags a jingle

dancing in a cellphone —
twinkle of the tree

master’s big pine—
too bright to sleep under

ribbon around
my neck under the tree —
a sore tail

my stinky wool coat itches–
still I can’t stop wagging!

trying on
a parka —
how does my tail look?

following her bright brush
“for her pretty sake”

in the bed of a pickup —
wag my tail

picked up a bit of tail in a bed–
now ain’t that sumpin’?

frost filling
the holes in our rust
where did you go?

the old truck I chase
shrinks to a dusty speck

I turn, and it’s gone–
the cur’s long shadow
dogging my steps

bouncing off the walls alone —
dog breath

though my wire cage
in my country kennel
good smell of the pack

through bars
her haunches out of reach

alone in the middle
of his fancy footwork–
chasing the rooster

squirrel in a tree
watches him spin and bark

how did the moon
get on top of the house?
I give it a long howl

mongrel curs chime in
feeding the answer

whiff of a stranger
raises my hackles
then the door bell

cock crowing
could be me.  and is!

winter sunrise
a crow in its tree
offers a glittering eye

licking the bones clean
shade creeps away

Renga Chunk 3

science diet
in my bowl
I bare my teeth

they cage my hunting instincts—
school for dogs

at the end of my chain
I dig up
another dog’s bone

today I’ll stay in my box

at each thunder clap
I curl tighter
around myself

sound of raindrops
on the roof above my roof

thunder puts my head
between my paws
August penetrates

dog days again
I sleep on my back

silence with water
in the shade by the doghouse
fetch what?

master rambles on—
more rain

my buddy bull-dog
gone missing under a bridge
oh home on the mange

a dog’s faint scent
bullfrog croaking

the sun beats
hard in empty bowls
I dig for bones

this evening’s moon
white as a mole’s skull

layers of clouds
blocking harvest moon
monster in the lake

I drink still water
a dog shows me his teeth
no matter
how deep I dig
it’s all dogfood

the cat’s bones I uncover
sharp and white in the sunshine

I lick
the moon off my teeth
leaving the bones

I wake to slivers of dawn
clicking through the branches

waking up hungry
she feeds
her virtual dog

I sniff the robot cur
and must sniff again

extracting the fake
dog from my gut
the heat of its love

science diet cannot fill
my bowl of emptiness

under the table
I open an eye
another day gone

trotting home late
I wink at the moon


Renga: Japanese linked poetry in the form of a tanka (or series of tanka), with the first three lines composed by one person and the second two by another. A typical renga sequence is comprised of 100 stanzas composed by about three poets in a single sitting.