There are love dogs
no one knows the names of,
give your life to be one of them!
We're a scruffy pack, brothers and sisters howling to one another across mountains, rivers, deserts, forests and canyons, ice floes and corn fields. We are a land of immigrants and so our poetry is as diverse as there are cultures within our culture. What do we have in common? We share a love of our language, American English, and our language is as mongrel as we are, with wild eyes and strong hind legs it will eat anything and make it a feast. We feed it our lives, our insomniac musings and querulous questions. We sing in the music of our language, with barks and yips, low growls and whimpers. We are antic and romantic, we will fetch the ball until we collapse, we believe our muse will always come back. We bite, we beg, we brandish our teeth, we lie down near the fire and dream. We are Whitman's leaves of grass, and Dickenson's formal feeling come. We are Ginsberg's beard and O'Hara's top hat. We are Sexton's pale legs and lit cigarette. We are Plath's gold bees and hospital tulips. We are Langston Hughes's weary blues and Bukowski's brawling, sprawling drawling let's go to the races and see all the faces and bet on the horse with the ugliest name. We are Roethke's sister crying into the leaves and Levertov's sad brothers gone to war. We are Ammons's garbage, glittering in the sun, stinking to high heaven. We are dogs on the run and we don't like the leash. We don't trust the cops. We prowl, we yowl, we foul the floor. But give us a bowl of water, a bone, touch our rain-darkened fur, and we will croon you an American song.