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I feel a slow lightning Lord
and I feel your long shaft
is set to drill deeper
Somehow I thought
this silence could be
the immense weapon
of your love
and how that is different
but the silence is concussive
you glassing the fields
you plucking the lights
from the animals
you the memory
of an illusion
that made me walk
a little funny
said head pulling means being offset from the vertical plane beneath
said carcass suspension system; hook means adapted to engage the jaw of
said carcass and
said hook means adapted to engage
said head pulling means, whereby
said carcass assumes a “bellydown” attitude,
said head is rotated to the snout up position, and
said head is substantially removed from
What else. I’ve beaten sound. hook it into its bunghole. the hipbone. the bunghole.
near the front. cheek and drag.
He took a sip of black coffee.
They’ve been shocked.
They’re of each other.
A silence came over me so I was thinking about silence.
Thoughts were there but they didn’t fit to song.
Like an enfilade &nnbsp; the silence kept coming
all over and along the length of my mouth and my
it started to feel like a deficiency
not to be able to write what I was thinking about,
write it faithfully, whatever
that means—not write rants—which was how
the thoughts weren’t fitting to song,
why fit was even what was important: Former
factory farm worker:
we pack pigs in so tight,
guts pop out their butts—
a little softball of guts
actually comes out.
(knocker shackler sticker legger skinner header neck-breaker hide-splitter
meat in this country it’s almost lyrical by itself— )
“stick ‘em and drop ‘em, stick ‘em and drop ‘em—
they don’t get shocked right they rushing so fast,
not sticking them right then dropping them in the tanks alive
that happens a lot, we take iron pipes on baby calves
cause their skull is still soft, one time the knocking gun was broke,
they were taking a knife and cutting the back of the cow’s neck
standing up, they just fall down and be ashaking
I’ve drug cows till their bones start breaking,
the cow be crying with its tongue stuck out”
“You don’t just kill it, you go in hard, push hard, blow the windpipe, make it drown in its
own blood. Split its nose. A live hog would be running around the pit. It would just be
looking up at me and I’d be sticking, and I would just take my knife and—
cut its eye out while it was just sitting there. And this hog would just scream. One time I
took my knife—it’s sharp enough—and I sliced off the end of the hog’s
nose, just like a piece of bologna. The hog went crazy for a few seconds. Then it just sat
there looking kind of stupid. So I took a handful of salt brine and ground it
into his nose. Now that hog really went nuts, pushing its nose all over the place. I still had
a bunch of salt left on my hand—I was wearing a rubber glove—and I
stuck the salt right up the hog’s ass. The poor hog didn’t know whether to shit or go blind.”
JARVIS HOG BUNG SYSTEM MODEL V-C for cutting out of hog bungs
quickly and efficiently cuts out hog bungs fast a single operator can bung
up to 1200 hogs per hour easy to use skilled labor not required lightweight
maneuverable for maximum productivity Increased yields optimal blade
size leaves more meat less casing damage than with a knife
Hardened and ground solid stainless steel blades for long life
A cold plow scallops the snow field the road has become
so it comes to look like the only road
and a long white scar
your spine like a scaffold for sunning cotton
Moose Crossing, Blind Person.
Diamond dust on distant hills
(plate crystals shifting
subzero air) smarts;
busy taking the parts apart
When my sister calls to say she has two hearts; the one
“the size of a poppy seed”; (the other one
will now not break—(three years to make that egg
twenty thousand dollars and seven specialists))
I think (but don’t say) I paid five bucks
for one of those lab-grown sea monkey kits,
which I never did open.
still thinking about sea monkeys.
Look them up.
A breed of brine shrimp
classified “new species” artemia x nyos
(New York Ocean Science labs),
trademark Transience Incorporated.
Add to water one “Instant Life” eggs
yeast, salt, borax, light soda ash.
This in absence
of a formal description
from the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature
Our calico cat I remember this secreting kittens
in the red shredded mulch beneath a boxwood hedge
I told my sister babies were made by letting a man pee on your privates
what I thought I’d been told not me she said never
me neither the cat was crying we stroked her head
picked strips of mulch off the soaked kittens
they were looking around with their eyes stuck shut
iridescent in patches where sun came through branches
I had made this note
and gone no further:
“read the headline
MISS DEAF TEXAS
KILLED BY TRAIN
and felt only thrill
at music of it”
the spam message
subject header HORNY!
18 Yr old FORCED
to AnaL!! hORsE
early this morning
Comb me from others no
speak to people where they are.
Winter acts on itself
Caw of ice
at the window
Claws called frost roses
scrolling the glass
is the argument from
A child remembers herself
who had found a deer skeleton
in the forest
and took home the jawbone
a kind of turning
it was filthy and full of teeth
but she scrubbed it with bleach
and sat in the sun with it calling it
a kind of learning from silence
or at least about it
when nothing comes.
Dialogue in part of this poem incorporates text from worker accounts documented in Slaughterhouse: The Shocking Story of Greed, Neglect, and Inhumane Treatment Inside the U.S. Meat Industry (Prometheus Books, 2006) by investigative reporter and author Gail Eisnitz; with her generous permission.
Ashley Capps is author of Mistaking the Sea for Green Fields. New poems have appeared in Black Warrier Review, Granta, Columbia Poetry Review, and are forthcoming in Blackbird and H)NGM)N.
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