The Dogs of Athens

More than a city
a cluster of cities stretch
onward through space,
one sprawling into the next;
so many areas
I’ve never set foot in
and west of the electric line’s
a foreign country.
You see names of neighbourhoods
on yellow buses passing
this evening square
where, instead of Nokia,
the street dogs are connected
by a different network
and as the night descends
some distant hound pipes up
then others howl back.
They roam around
in crazy, noisy packs
these canine delinquents
hysterical and after blood,
tear pieces from clothes.
It’s how my battered old guitar
became a weapon
that still bears a mark.

John Short