Friday, July 10, 2015

barking dog

Barking dog. It sounds like the name of a so-called craft beer, and might be, for all I know. It's been the name of more than one restaurant. (One wonders why.) Last night, for me, "barking dog" was an actual sound in the actual night. I wasn't dreaming. I heard the actual barking dog before I was gifted with actual sleep, in the small hours of 1 or 2 a.m. I stood by first one window and then another, in an attempt to discover the location of the barking dog. It was either a back yard of a house on Avery Avenue or the back yard of a house on Chemung Street, Syracuse. I had a proposal to write, so I did that, listening to some Phil Ochs, with the hope that I'd not hear the barking dog. Not unlike the phenomenon in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart," the sound still haunted me. In some ways, it bothered me more when I couldn't hear it. (The other day, not in the night, I heard what might have been the same dog barking while I meditated. I concentrated on "barking dog" as a mere notion, a sound among an infinity of sounds, neither good nor bad. It evoked a wry smile in me, or the notion of a wry smile. But it was actual daytime, and I waltzed out of the actual house soon afterward.) After a while last night, I called the nonemergency police number to report the barking dog. I had had enough of the sound of the barking dog. The dispatcher or call-receiver said he'd already received one call about the same dog. Police policy prevented the police from sending an officer out there. I raised the spectre of animal cruelty, but upon being questioned, I admitted the dog was probably not in dire danger, though he or she lapsed into whimpering and crying at times. I half-jokingly threatened to take matters into my own hands, unleashing my frustration. The police gave me the number of Animal Control, which was to open at 8 a.m. I wrote the number down. I put a fan on in my room, blowing away from me, to provide some so-called white noise (why is it white noise, and not black noise or yellow noise or purple noise or rainbow noise?). I am not sure that it helped. In the night, the dog would seem to drift off, after a spasm of plaintive barking. Or maybe I was the one who drifted off, without plaintive barking. I was angry at the owner or owners of the barking dog. How could they allow that? It still angers me. But in the morning, when I awoke, groggy from a night of poor or fragmented, bark-laden sleep, I suggested to myself I did not know the facts. Maybe the owner or owners took ill and were in the hospital. Or the owner or owners died in the night. Maybe the owner or owners of the barking dog worked at night and got called on an emergency, to prevent a nuclear power plant from exploding, for example. I say those things, I type those words, but I do not believe them. I believe the barking dog was a victim of malign neglect, and we the neighbors were victims of callous disregard. My evidence is scant. I may be barking up the wrong tree, but I will stop before sundown.

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