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dmehl808 Profile
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Not the Chicken


Not the Chicken

I must prove I am not the chicken
not the chicken
okay

white feathers white feathers flutter bare
pink flesh exposed where feathers blown
off by wind and spotty thunder drizzle tire spray.

It fixed me with its peck eye pecked
peering its eye through wire through glass the box
10's of stacked rectangles cages rest

on a rolling rectangle platform a bed flat
rolling while behind feathers float a mangle
scud a skiff tumbling on the water wave wind

road dusting snowflakes midst a rainspray wind or
shed white wing feather unseen angels molted
only wake white breadcrumbs falling behind the flatbed

on a course to the slaughterhouse—it fixed me
but its crazy that's crazy I can't be the chicken can I
and she can't be me still the bird absurd

somehow bargaining exchange—it for me in that rapt
horror look said now I'm and will be the chicken
and her me I behind wire whip of movement transaction

both rolling between its misery and my evil station
misery for good but I can't be the chicken don't be
ridiculous but peck like at the inside of an egg says yes

it can no no no but the metaphor has already exacted
the exchange captive held bound wingless bounded
the chicken is now the man and man the chicken caged

once conceived trapped empathic held through wire
a chicken bone finger deepfryer vat bound
but first the plucking anyone anywhere anything else

I read roadsigns I remember my wife my kids I recite
from the prologue of the Canterbury Tales in middle english
know nothing of dirtbaths egglaying I can't be the chicken

what magic what desperate wile
is this yet the metaphor ineluctable undeniable while I argue
this is not the natural order as we roll on in our metal cages

boxes heading the same direction and you will say
how is he now become a chicken fit to drive such
an interstate truckers are such clucks yes

but and you will say may say what nonsense
is this but I confess berock I am become chicken
heading for parboiling plucking table as are you and we

must be thankful every second
love
you disbelieve we are all that foolish chicken

think me mad—go on—you'll see
I the chicken have spoken
cock poet a prophet doodle martyr do
May/23/2009, 12:38 pm Link to this post Send Email to dmehl808   Send PM to dmehl808
 
ChrisD1 Profile
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Re: Not the Chicken


Dave,

Striking how the language dances so skittishly around the grotesque epiphany. Also appreciate the way the collage of images and fragments of internal dialog capture how we think in real time.

Something different than I've seen you do. I'm impressed. A little let down by the last three lines. Seems like it could end here:

"must be thankful every second
love"

Chris
May/24/2009, 8:51 am Link to this post Send Email to ChrisD1   Send PM to ChrisD1
 
Zakzzz5 Profile
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Re: Not the Chicken


Dmeh,

This is an interesting poem. It's about empathy, on one level. Also, it's an exercise in painting vivid pictures. I get images of the life of one of today's chickens. Then the narrator, the protagonist, seems to imagine, maybe live somehow, the chicken's life -- and somehow you mix it with the narrator's life. Well, I'd have to read it over several times, and more carefully, at that. Kind of wacky, yet there's a depth to it. Purposeful. Can't get into more detail, but wanted you to know I read it and enjoyed it, and realize this deserves more attention than I'm giving it now. Zak
May/24/2009, 7:40 pm Link to this post Send Email to Zakzzz5   Send PM to Zakzzz5
 
dmehl808 Profile
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Re: Not the Chicken


Thanks Chris and Zak. Chris, I too was suspicious about the last line or two. Some like it and others don't--I have a decision to make. Zak, glad you're reading--hope things are going okay for you, recertification and job-wise. Hang in there.
May/25/2009, 11:30 am Link to this post Send Email to dmehl808   Send PM to dmehl808
 


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