Poetry: Selections from Tim Murphy

Architects of Oppression
The city mounts bars
across park benches
so people it forces
to the streets
as it pays through
smashed teeth
the police
can’t so much
as lie down
find any semblance 
of rest
even out in the cold.

Giant Chihuahua Energy

Sick in bed each day beside an ill-tempered creature. His name, Boris. Can be quite boorish. The size of fox. Shy, scheming trickster. Looks, lives like a coyote mixed with
a chihuahua. He’s yellow, a soft golden-brown. He just says gold.
His company comforting, if chaotic. He’s boastful, proud.
Sometimes, rude. I don’t scratch him, he claws me, jumps off my bed
digs up his own. Throws me his eyes, narrowed, stabbing.
Sensitive to rejection. Gets it from me.
In a past life, I think was a racoon. Feral, cunning. Also precise. 
A vulture maybe too. World class scavenger. When fed but a minute
late, he trembles with rage. Food, the only thing he chooses over me.
Each meal, his Super Bowl. We used to play a game.
I threw him diced carrots. He once caught 40 in a row.
We have another dog — bigger, stronger but doughy —
who he pushes around. He’s an unwieldy powerhouse of sorts. 
But he scares easily. Spends time most days hiding under my bed. 
Deathly afraid of flies. Shakes uncontrollably in their presence. 
Scans rooms for them, even once they’re gone. I try not to imagine
his neglected past where flies always buzzed around.
When I became bedbound, we had to schedule time outside my recovery room.
He wouldn’t leave. Because despite his rougher edges, when lets you into his
strange world, I see amongst many things, a fawn, always cuddling near.
His heart, not easily corrupted like ours. Gentle, loyal, wanting love.
The rest, his shield to survive. His brand which now thrives.
He contains multitudes beyond us. He is my very best friend.
Though he would be most livid to learn I wrote this
without giving him the red pen.

Tim Murphy (he/him) is a disabled attorney, environmentalist, and poet who lives in Portland, Oregon. Tim is bedbound with Long COVID and ME, and his writing primarily explores disability and the more-than-human world. His poetry appears in WordgatheringCERASUS MagazineHoneyguide Literary MagazineWriters ResistThe InsurgenceThe Long COVID Reader, and more. Tim is on Instagram and Twitter (@brokenwingpoet).