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I was thinking about getting a dog: a poem dedicated to Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol

September 10, 2008

I was thinking about getting a dog
(published ArtLife Limited Editions 2003)

A dog would listen for me, watch for me
wait for me. When I come home, he would
cover my face in kisses. We would go
for walks and drives in the car, camping.
I would like to have
a dog.

Instead I am walking down the aisle
of the drugstore past the Valentine’s
75 per cent off all the way
to where they keep the condoms, the tampons,
the pregancy tests.

I see I am wearing my name tag from work.
The store is empty, quiet. It is late,
rainy. I take my name tag off.
I am thinking about getting
a dog.

The drugstore brand is $3 cheaper
than the national brand. For $3 more
I can get a package with two tests.
I don’t want to need two tests. The package
is large in my left hand, my left hand bare
of a wedding ring. The sleeve of my
rain jacket doesn’t quite cover. I am
still too embarrassed to just buy tampons.
To buy condoms I have to buy something
else need to be carrying something else.
I have plenty of tampons. Condoms too.

On the long walk to the register I
stop on the Valentine’s 75
percent off aisle–pick up a heart covered
wine bag: three heart candles: BE MINE, LOVE YA
KISS ME; a red spice candle; some pink
paper cups; a heart garland. This is the
story I want the young man at the
counter to believe–one with champagne
in paper cups, candlelight, roses, kisses.
At his register, I hide my left hand.

Out of nowhere, a line forms behind me.
He is new and stumbles. Another clerk
guides him, shows him how to scan the test. There
is some confusion about the Valentine’s
and how to get the 75Z
percent off. People in line smile at the
profusion of hearts and the test kit that
go into the drugstore bag. In the car
driving to his house, I put the gifts and
the test in the wine bag, place it on his
dinner table. No more Valentine’s gifts

he says. I don’t need any more Valentine’s.
Open it, I ask after dinner. In
the morning I know I am not getting
a dog.

I dedicate this poem to Sarah Palin and her daughter Bristol. We all three had the choice of keeping a surprise pregnancy. All three of us were unmarried when we discovered we were pregnant. Sarah and I rushed to get married (she in August with an April birth barely 8 months later; me in April with a November birth). Bristol is planning her wedding now (if she needs a wedding blogger, I am available!)

There are some huge differences, however.

I was 41 when I found out I was pregnant. The Big Monkey, who was also 41, was in the process of moving in, and we were talking about marriage. We had a cake topper with a wire sculpture of a naked ecstatic man and woman holding hands, the woman with a smiling baby in her giant tummy). I had exercised my right to choice earlier in my life, and I recognize it is a choice. Sarah Palin describes Bristol as choosing to have this child yet is not a supporter of abortion rights; given the opportunity, she will deny the right to choice for others that she, her daughter, and myself currently have. Advocating abstinence absolutely doesn’t work. We all know this.

As a conceptual artist, I wrote and did art with my burgeoning belly. To see two of these broadsides and to read those poems go here. Other poetry about being a mom can be found here.

On a lighter note, actor/writer Julie Brown has been creating a series of hilarious videos. She’s spot on as Sarah Palin:

more Palin Palaver: Caribou Barbie or Malibu Barbie here and Caribou Barbie Q in a bikini and with a dead caribou here

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 11, 2008 1:10 am

    The poem is very cool, uncertain and hesitant in its rhythm which is perfect and your belly art is wonderfully magical.

  2. September 11, 2008 2:50 pm

    Thank you, Paul! Thank you for noticing the rhythm–I like reading this one aloud and may try to get a video together or at least an audio!

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