Ron Androla

The Alley & the Cat

The dog pulls me. A black leash is wrapped around my wrist, connected to his neck. We walk up & down our alley at designated times of a day. Spots of familiar urinated aromas in weedy edges tug us along to a neighbor’s parked & battered little boat. Named “Purple Haze,” it’s docked on a rusted crib & flats, broken, a thing of the past, useless. The neighbor hoards things. He can’t let things go. He’s even older than I am. I understand. His yard is a disarray of fog rain, tumultuous Erie winters, & weathered clunky sections of automobiles. I peer thru half-dead scrawny pine-branches & the fence’s toothless slats. I see how he lives, alone & insane. Ragweed bends & waves its dispersing, molecular, allergic, yellow fingers. Bangles is too old & arthritic to lift his back leg, so he pisses as he stretches like a black greyhound in the tall brown grass that surrounds the ancient, surely-once-psychedelic, boat. Then we turn around. The other side of the alley where the dog sniffs, contorts, & shits, is all grass. Browned vines weave around chain-link fences of other insane neighbors whose ass-end homes face our back door. Nobody talks to nobody in our neighborhood. We live in heaven.

We cross the alley. “Sit,” the dog instructs.

I sit on an outside chair & smoke. Bangles drops his weight, & pants on some gravel & weeds. Overhead, triangles of electricity section a blue sky. The crows are furious, ear-shattering. Gulls rise as they fly north for Lake Erie.

With my neck rolled onto the back of the chair, I feel a force wake me. I check Raspberry Street left & right for other owners & dogs, as we emerge to the front of our house. Under the wide yew bush, the scent of a black cat. We know that cat well. A real tease.

Bangles looks up at me & declares, “I hate that fucking cat.”


Before Becoming a Member

of the Police Force


Kill. Kill. Kill. Kick the door

in, kill everybody. Spray bullets

around the dusty room. Kill them

twice, 3 times. They booby-trap

the women & bottles of wine.

Never feel ashamed. The battlefield

forgives all insane rage. Look, they

have been known to actually EAT

Amerikan infants! They chop our

babies into hot-dog chunks!

Kill them all. They booby-trap the

elderly. They aren’t

us. Kill them. Kill them &

feel good about it. Feel heroic.



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