“You Treat Us Like Dogs”

I can’t resist sharing this poem by my friend Bob Hay. the late Bob Hay. He bequeathed me a whole box of notebooks filled with poetry and sketches, and I’ve only read the first one. This poem is called ‘Oratory (for one actor) in four parts’ and it comes with stage directions:

At the beginning, it says “memorize actually acurately as possible and deliver as slowly, painfullly, and finally benevolently as possible…” Between the third and fourth stanzas, it says “(at this point the actor/reader is directed to act out a series of dog sounds, barkings. yelps, viscious expressions of AVID Hatred, smelly hairiness etc…)” I include these directions here at the beginning so as not to interrupt the continuity of the poem.


Mannequins from the estate of the late Bob Hay

Oratory (for one actor) in four parts

We are treated


We are pent up





Every day you make

us walk the path

and bark before

your estate


We cannot wait

to put the bite

upon you

not quite


The scraps you give

us for the win

in the races you stage

are too rotten

to bury