Wire Fox Terrier, #156

Kenny, my CB friend, had
not always been the brightest
man. But try, and he did try,
to seem cool, to act cool too.

If he couldn’t land the role
in audition, he’d fake it
for all the jocks, all the rich
kids cruising round his hometown.

He was known for hanging out
past the ball game to hobnob
with the winners and console
the losers. For wearing school

colors and rallying folks
to cheer from the stands, making
a yappy fool of himself
the whole time for doing it.

He was known for putting up
with the cruel jokes and ugly
nicknames handed down to him
by the beautiful people.

He’d take a sweaty towel
propelled at his face as if
one of the cool guys traded
him their jersey for a coke.

But what Kenny was known most
for was tooling around town
in an old grey rust bucket,
leaning, head out the window

waving wildly to all
of the town, for sitting down
by the river Friday nights
with the other cars fogged up

windows, him with his CB
set up in his old Datsun,
the kit handed down to him
by his parents. Yes, that’s right,

in this new age, when cell phones
and blogs have trumped citizens
banded together under
low wave emissions, Kenny,

my CB friend, still set up
shop down on the riverbank
chatting with the passersby
in their boats and their semis,

the old folks who sat at home
clutching their long gone evenings
when they “got” technology,
anyone who’d catch his call.

The old silver box set up
down in the basement, Kenny’s
voice over the tin speaker,
and that’s how I first met him.

I would hear him signing on
with a different name each night,
each time something you had to
stay sharp to catch. Some called him

slow, I thought him side splitting,
cause often you would wonder
if the gag was on you, cause
sometimes he got it all right.

But all too often Kenny
would pick up and hack a phrase
the cool kids were passing round
like VD or apple juice.

The jocks would go on about
a cheerleader they proclaimed
to know biblically, saying
they split the uprights. Kenny,

my CB friend, asked the girl,
honestly, with the candor
of a friend, why she would let
a dumb boy split up her tights.

The girl would gag, and hurumph,
storm in tears to her locker,
while the locker room of jocks
would jolt around like spastic

refrigerators. Kenny
never knew, never told us
if he caught on to how rude
this Miss Prissy thought of him.

He thought she stormed off
for being called a s.l.
-ut (Kenny swore to never
use rad rirds, wad birds, bad worst).

And then Kenny got into
spelling out the jock’s phrases
using fake military
made up CB languages.

Chillin’ became Charlie Out,
On the Down Low became Old
Dotty London. All the time
with the lingo. We all had

to catch up, to spend the time
necessary to listen
to each broadcast, to keep fresh
as Kenny, my CB friend,

talked his way in and out of
whatever wordy plastic
bag, whatever grocery store
of language, aisles of shelves,

letters lined up, misaligned
into a linguistic maze,
whatever crystal diode
clear mess he had created.

One night, Kenny signed off late
from his post by the river.
All the make-out cars drove off,
but he was still chattering.

In the hours he had stayed,
a stranger rolled into town
and stopped at the mini mart,
Open Fwenty Tour Horice,

Kenny would say. He stopped in
for some Ho-Hos and soda.
When the stranger pulled a knife,
held it to the cashier’s neck,

Kenny dropped his cakes and walked
towards the crook barking, Wire
Fox Terrier, Wire Fox
Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier

(the man, at this point frozen
in the stare of cameras,
gawk of cashier). W.F.T.
do you think you’re doing?

Marching forward the whole time.
The bandit was caught off guard,
not knowing what the fuck this
strange wiry awkward boy

was doing. So when the two
got tangled and the knife blade
slipped easy between two ribs
into the mushy belly

of Kenny’s chest, none were more
surprised than the assassin,
a look of shock on his face
as Kenny slid down the blade.

The school hosted a service,
and all the people who teased
Kenny told stories of this
yappy young man who loved them

unconditionally, who
they pushed away and taunted,
who fetched and kept coming back.
One of them declared “wire

fox terrier” apropos
last words for Kenny, my friend.
That’s how they signed on and off
when they set up the CB

down by the river and held
vigil for 24 straight
hours, peeling off stories
about their fallen puppy.

The funniest, most sincere,
the genuine, the hero.
Sturdy, balanced, distinctive.
Most often, the best of breed.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

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