by Jason Ryberg
Through a mad dog’s eyes,
the right subtle shift in perception,
like the tumble and click
of a secret code or complex equation,
suddenly fathomed at 3 or 4AM, maybe,
can bring you to your bended knees
on the cold flower-patterned linoleum
of God’s dungeon floor.
Soon you find yourself there, nightly,
supplicant and luridly genuflected
before the smooth, round ass
of Lady Death, of which, it is rumored,
tastes faintly of French Vanilla, Mimosa
and black powder.
Looking through a mad dog’s eyes,
one can even come to admire
the legendary phantom sniper
(your long-lost evil twin, perhaps)
who has suddenly begun to appear, everywhere;
on rooftops and overpasses and grassy knolls,
in the backseats of unmarked cars,
in the cruxes of the tallest trees
and ‘round every other corner
in the corners of your eyes.
It is whispered
among the elders of the tribe
that he’s put many a mad dog into a shallow grave,
and lately, the tiny mosquito frequency
of his cross hairs has been tickling your ears
and purring around your sweaty furrowed brow.
just outside of town,
all the bloodshot TV-eyes
are turning away from the senator’s aide
and the half-naked cheerleader
who are being pulled from the lake
and the cops are all out raking the cornfield
with hounds teeth and itchy trigger fingers,
Hoping to find a trace
of the raggedy, rangy scarecrow of a man
with the nail in his foot
and a bullet in his side.
But, we all know it’s YOU.
You’re the one.
And you’re just kickin’ it,
sittin’ inside your naugahyde booth
in the diner by the side of the road,
takin’ it all in from the big-screen picture window.
And they’re comin’, boy,
they’re comin’ for you.
They’re lookin’ for somebody’s crazy uncle,
somebody’s low-down, good-for-nothin’ son,
somebody’s shit-head brother-in-law,
written off for dead ten years ago;
one more dirty white boy
that no one but his mama could ever love.
But she died.
Yeah, that’s right, it’s just another sad cowboy song
about one more unwanted offspring of God,
who got tired after all the years
of tellin’ the old man what he wanted to hear,
tired of tryin’ to do the right thing
and always getting’ it thrown back
in your face all wrong,
tired of tryin’ so damn hard to be good
when the world just begs you to be bad.
And there he is, boys,
just sittin’ there,
beamin’ out a wounded tiger’s smile,
pickin’ the last little bits of his last meal
from his fearsome teeth with a thorn.