Richard Scarsbrook

Team Alpha Male T-Shirts

throw your meat to the dogs that snarl

who bare their teeth to bite, but

never really do

for they are purebreds of the highest class

there are documents that prove it
stroke their egoistic coats

compliment their sleek black suits

reward their barks

their greedy whines

their territorial pissings                       and to the dog that licks your hand

                                                            the one trained to obey, say:

                                                                            good dog

                                                                            faithful dog

                                                                            you’ll get your reward soon


feed the snapping purebloods

from your double-mortgaged cabinets

toss them treats

stroke their chins

tease them with your toys
(their “Team Alpha Male” t-shirts

will ensure you recognize

their right to feed

upon your insecurities)
tear open your bags of dry dalliances

unseal your tins of wet rewards     and to the dog that licks your hand

                                                                            wag your finger, say again:

                                                                            good dog

                                                                            faithful dog

                                                                            you’ll get your reward soon






but the dog that licks

is hungry now

he leaps the fence

escapes the cage


to run


to hunt


to eat



                                                             wring your hands, throw back  your head

                                                                            and cry and cry and cry:

                                                                            bad dog

                                                                            unfaithful dog

                                                                            another cage will be your end

                                                                            come back to me right now

                                                                            obey me, mutt








and barking, snarling, pissing

the pack moves on

for now the bags are hollow, and

the empty tins roll on the floor


Richard Scarsbrook is the prize-winning author of the books Cheeseburger Subversive, Featherless Bipeds, Destiny’s Telescope, The Monkeyface Chronicles, Nothing Man and The Purple Zero, and Six Weeks. His next novel, The Indifference League, will be published this September.

Richard has won many prizes for his writing; recently, his poem ‘Fortune’ was a finalist for the Descant/Winston Collins Prize for Best Canadian Poem , and his short story ‘The Statistician’ was short listed for the 2012 Exile/Vanderbilt Short Story Prize

You can find out more at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: