Tonight, my friends, we are visited by Philip Larkin. No, not the puppy I’m still dreaming about, but work from the late poet himself. It’s a day for poems and “Days” is one of Larkin’s best, if you can choose bests from a body of work like that.
As for Philip Larkin (aka “Philip Barkin”) the mini-Maltipoo puppy, I sent an email today to a breeder. Don’t get wag your tail just yet, though; there’s still miles to go before I’ll be typing up the ol’ PG while a puppy licks my toe.
I’ve had the chance to revisit my research lately, though, that is true, and I just watched 20 minutes of puppy videos on YouTube. If my desire for Philip is like, a flare-up of some kind, I have officially left remission. I want my puppieeeee.
Anyway, here’s “Days,” as exquisite as the face of a 4-week-old puppy, just in a different, more existential, melancholy way.
by Philip Larkin
What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?
I spent a good deal of the day recuperating, which was smart. Then, late in the afternoon, motivated by a number of deep-seated needs, I put on my sandals and my favorite blue- and white-striped shirt and ventured north to a pet store. A tiny puppy pet store.
I’ve been researching. A lot. I’ve been emailing breeders across the state, breeders all the way into Iowa, looking for people who are handling these lil’ pups right. I have been combing the Midwest for highly-rated, respectable breeders who safely and humanely breed Teacup Maltipoos. Because Philip Larkin is my dream dog. I dream of Philip Larkin a lot right now. I even have a YouTube playlist with videos of the kind of puppy I love. I watched those videos last night! It’s getting intense.
Please know that I understand why some may raise an eyebrow at my “designer dog” desires. Some good people will surely press me to consider a rescue animal instead of what’s considered a “boutique” dog. I get it, absolutely. I’ve been thinking about a dog for some time, now, as you may know. Those who support and participate in rescue animal adoption are people I respect very much and admire very much. The rescue pet owners I know — including Sophie and my sister Rebecca and Dave, my older sister’s roommate (aka, my “brother-from-another-mother” who is a legit Broadway star!) are people I respect and admire for their animal rescue efforts and rescue animal success stories. I love them and I have loved/currently love their pets.
For me, though, there’s a specific breed that will work for my life right now. It has to do with health needs, work, my travel demands, and my living space, all of which impact the animal’s quality of life and the owner’s life, too. The way I figure, whether it’s an adoption or a purchase, a person who really, really wants a lil’ pup really, really wants to give that pup a loving home, an not everyone’s path is the same. If I sound defensive it’s because I am: There are dogs that need homes but who I can’t adopt right now for a lot of real reasons. Just because that’s true doesn’t mean I don’t feel bad about it. I looked at the sweetest dogs today and they cost money to take home; rescue animals would give anything to be taken home tonight. I don’t know what to do with those emotions. I don’t.
What I know is that when Sophie walked into the place, I had been petting this particular puppy for about 10 minutes and had started to cry because I loved that little creature so much. Soph walked up to the petting area and when she said, “Mary! Hi!”, I looked up and my face was all wet. (Can you tell in the picture? It’s a little like this one, in which I am also crying and also Sophie took it so what’s up with that, Sophie??) Everyone in the puppy-petting area looked at me, a crying weirdo, and I felt silly but also not silly at all. The place was basically women petting puppies; I think they got it.
There’s a lot more prep to do if I want to really have a doggie; there’s a lot more research to do and money put aside. But the venture out today, the move from video to real-life puppy was a big deal. I petted three puppies. They all broke my heart in the best way.
There should be a new Broadway musical called Thrift Score: The Musical!
Here’s the pitch: a wanderin’ wastrel tries to furnish her apartment (in the nation’s capital! what an interesting and unexpected setting!!) without depleting her bank account. She’s racing the clock because… Well, because she needs things! It’s a universal story! And if this musical existed, this would be the beginning of the climactic song:
“I’m just a kid / dreamin’ big / lookin’ for love / lookin’ for things —
A sofa / a table / a little dog too;
Nothin’ is better than nothin’, it’s true;
But with the right dresser / I’d leap over the moooooooon!”
And then there would be this moment of discovery when I find the red dresser you see above. The music would get bananas and there would be a lot of lighting effects and strings.
So this thing was tucked into a corner in a resale shop in upper Dupont Circle. Here are the facts:
1. Crimson red is my favorite color.
2. Philip is among my favorite names, as Philip Larkin is my favorite poet and one becomes attached/sentimental.
3. I desperately need a dresser.
4. I dig weird.
The name on the dresser was “Philip” originally, but the other letters have dropped off. My love of this piece of furniture knows no bounds. Which is perfect. Because do you know what the Greek root phil- means?