Poem written in under five minutes, unrevised and not workshopped

So much depends upon the chicken
or rooster, that is to say
when you have a Death Row visit to Angola
on a winter day, the first of a thaw
and you are riding on the Angola bus with a young man who
has ridden from Dallas to see his father
whom he only knows from Death Row visits
and he is 20 and has ridden 8 hours from Dallas on a bus
for the visit, and is about to ride 8 hours back
and the chicken, or rooster
because this is plantation country and rich land
is running from another chicken, that is to say rooster
because he does not want to share his fat worm
that only comes out like this in a real thaw
and you, and the guard, and the 20 year old visitor can laugh
at the chicken or rooster
and you are glad because next time
it may be you who sit alone on your side of the death chamber
(the viewer’s gallery, that is)
mouthing the words of the 23d psalm because
that is what the man on the guerney wants to see you say
(he will be looking at you because on the other side they will be cheering)
and you, and the guard, and the 20 year old all know that this
is how it may be the next time
and you will each be alone.
And I submit to you that in form and content
and in syntax, and gender and number, and all elements of grammar
this poem surpasses those contained in the book I have just so carefully
and diplomatically reviewed
and that so much depends upon the chicken,
or rooster.

Axé.

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2 Comments

Filed under Poetry

2 responses to “Poem written in under five minutes, unrevised and not workshopped

  1. Hattie

    Excellent. Submit it somewhere. Is the plural you intentional?

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