Bruce Bond

Dream Vision from the Book of Dogs
[first published in the North American Review]
[collected in The Throats of Narcissus]

The Drowning
[first published in The Iowa Review]
[collected in The Throats of Narcissus]

          Dream Vision from the Book of Dogs

          A man was talking to a dog
          in a voice that threatened to consume
          them both: but this is a metaphysical poem,
          he said, not an erotic one,
          at which the dog cocked its head
          with a look of bewildered worship,
          as if the words were all one high whistle
          out of the sky, when finally
          I could no longer contain myself
          and said, but wait, what of the poetry
          of Israel and Persia—though in truth
          I hardly knew what I was saying,
          and it felt a little selfish,
          interrupting like that—what
          of the tradition of poems for dogs
          whose erotic fantasies are all about food,
          like the one where god appears
          as a hamburger and sayeth unto the hounds,
          come, come closer my little ones
          and repeat after me . . . no, wait,
          ouch, please don't eat me, not here,
          not now, there's more, I promise . . .


          The Drowning

          And when they reached the ocean shore,
                     the woman turned
                     to her girl and said,
          see there, that is the territory between
                     you and your better
                     self, and the child
          said, what? and the mother said, that is
                     the place of all
                     the buried limbs,
          at which the child said, I don't understand,
                     I can't quite figure . . .
                     and the mother cut
          the child's speech at the shoulder, saying,
                     the place of your foul
                     and painful birth,
          and the meager waves breathed like a massive
                     iron lung, once,
                     the mother said,
          once there was a way out of my loneliness,
                     my mound of broken
                     shells I called "not
          yet" or "almost home" or "come back, dear one,"
                     and the child said, look,
                     the gulls are crying
          with wonderful terror at the blue above them
                     and below, like meat
                     in a blue sandwich,
          and the mother said, no, no, you can do so much
                     better, see here,
                     give me your leg,
          and the child did, and off it came, waves
                     raked the pebbles
                     with their claws,
          their foam, their pleasure, and the mother said,
                     look at the blue
                     wound of being so far,
          so cast out of your bluer, your better self,
                     look at the filth
                     of the sea on fire
          with day's final word, no, no, you are not
                     looking, give me
                     your eyeballs,
          and out they came, which is when the child turned up
                     to the mother, gazing
                     through the graves
          of her missing eyes, and a pleasure-foam skimmed
                     fearlessly over
                     the polished sand,
          shackling the child's ankle, drawing back
                     through the bubbles
                     of the burrowing sandcrabs.


Bruce Bond's collections of poetry include Blind Rain (LSU, forthcoming), Cinder (Etruscan, 2003), The Throats of Narcissus (U. of Arkansas, 2001), Radiography (BOA, 1997), The Anteroom of Paradise (QRL, 1991), and Independence Days (Woodley, 1990). His poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry, The Yale Review, The Georgia Review, and other journals, and he has received numerous honors including fellowships from the NEA, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and other organizations. Presently he is Professor of English at the University of North Texas and Poetry Editor for American Literary Review.

content Copyright 2006, Bruce Bond—All Rights Reserved