Where the Tough Guy Lives


by Grant Chemidlin


The sign outside the house reads:

 

          Warning: Guard Dogs

 

but the license plate on the dirt-caked Jeep
parked in the driveway says

 

          Poodler

 

as in one who poodles, a poodle
canoodler,

 

as in the jig’s up guy. You’re
a liar.

 

          Warning: Guard Clouds

 

          Warning: Pillows Will Attack Upon
          Trespassing

 

Sleep so hard you’ll want to break in
every weekend.

 

I laugh
& two pit bulls come tumbling

 

like Grecian beasts,
their short horse bodies, jaws like lions.

 

I gazelle out of there faster
than a heartbeat, all the way home

 

to my metaphorical
mommy.

 

Poodler must be a nickname, I think,
a surname, the name

 

of some secret society of men learning
to protect

 

          their softness.


 

Grant Chemidlin is a queer poet living in Los Angeles. He is the author of two collections of poetry, He Felt Unwell (So He Wrote This) and Things We Lost In The Swamp. He’s been a finalist for the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award, the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, and is currently pursuing an MFA at Antioch University-Los Angeles. Recent work has been published or forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly ReviewArlington Literary Journal, and Eunoia Review.