Walking the Dog

juuso-salminen-zA50EwhSCgg-unsplashWith thanks to Juuso Salminen for the header image. As is often the case with the image used, it’s chosen for its own merits as much as its relationship with the words. When first seeing, I thought it digital, a black on white image, not a photograph. Apparently much hanging around on a freezing cold lake was needed to get it.

Like the photo, the following is also true. Though it took place in the early 90s during a summer when I lived on a council estate in London. Numerous flats in different buildings of various sizes and ages looked onto a communal area with grass and also a high-walled brick area with benches built in. Meant as an outdoor meeting area, local kids used it to play football as the high wall at one end made a great goal where the ball bounced back instead of flying off into the distance anytime someone scored or missed (I often joined in while Ed—a Rottie named after Eddie Cochran—did his business).

Being out there pretty much the same time every day meant getting to know people in the community. Strange faces walking by become familiar, are soon stopping for a chat, names known.

Never forgotten.

I was down by the grass
Walking the dog
She came down from her flat
Especially to speak to me
Knowing to look out the window
As I was always there
Around that time of day
S–––’s dead she said
Dead? I questioned in reply
Murdered she confirmed
Murdered . . .
The result of some crazy kid’s
Heavy metal fantasy
Like how you hear
But never really believe
Which I couldn’t
As I’d only seen him alive and full
Of life just a few days before
Murdered she confirmed again
Then added
D––– (who was his best friend;
I never saw them apart)
Got away
The bastard tried to get him too
But D––– knows karate
Christ . . .
He was what . . .
Always tried to bum smokes
Off me when
I was down by the grass
Walking the dog

Thanks for reading

N. P. Ryan