Travelin' Dog Blues

Can you smell that wind a-blowin'?                                                                                                                                             Smell my fur standin’ all up on end?                                                                                                                                         Lucky for him he filled that bowl with chicken                                                                                                                     Before I poked a coupla holes                                                                                                                                                            In whatever                                                                                                                                                                                        His name might be.

I’m a traveling’ dog,                                                                                                                                                                       Dirtiest dog you’ll ever see.                                                                                                                                                            Just a traveling’ dog…                                                                                                                                                                      But never show your mouse to me.                                                                                                                                        Cause a travelin’ dog will squeeze that mouse                                                                                                                       Until he’s in whatever the past tense is of “be.”

— This puerile verse was found on a random page in Roo's journal, dating from her days in Louisiana. The attached photo was paperclipped to the page, the margins of which contain several clumsy caricatures of rodents in subterranean tunnel systems and rudimentary trigonometric calculations — almost all of them, it should be pointed out, incorrect — attempting to predict their potential vectors. Ominously, two of the rodents have been scrawled over in furious red crayon slashes. From what can be made out by sneaking peeks at the folio while Roo sleeps (and then trying to remember how she tied the ribbon that holds it together), this work appears to be part of a longer epic poem she's been struggling with, modeled on Homer's Odyssey, titled Travelin' Dog Blues, by Howlin' Rooki Lou the Bayou Kahoo, a name most likely inspired by the Delta Blues she so loves to sing in graveyards or when she reads Eudora Welty stories. While the task of pointing anyone’s plagiarism out is never pleasant, the wistful description she includes near the end of the text, in which she describes going home after many years of trials and wandering only to find that she is unrecognizable to everyone but her old and ailing dog, is more than I can stomach.

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