Dead Chickens Everywhere

I was convinced that I never went through a “teen angst” phase.  Then I opened up an old poetry notebook and read some pretty heavy, melodramatic stuff in there.  It actually made me laugh at myself.  But I kind of like this one. (Based on an actual incident.)

Dead Chickens Everywhere

I thought they were your typical, every day, Georgia roadkill.
But as I changed lanes, my headlights revealed
tufts of white feathers speckled with crimson.
As the empty highway stretched on and on,
I realized there were dozens,
scattered as if a great hand had reached into the hen house
and tossed them to their deaths along the painted asphalt.
I don’t know what I was doing driving that far away from town.
Maybe I wanted to get lost, better than feeling down
in my usual brooding place.  Sometimes you get sick of looking
at the same spot on the wall.  You need a change of scenery
when the same thought goes through your mind for the millionth time.
So you drive until things no longer look familiar,
until you forget there was once a direction, and the only thing
that keeps you moving is half a tank of gas and the need to be
somewhere else.  Somewhere more desolate than you feel.

So much for the melodrama: the songs on the radio and your tear-stained face.
Suddenly your glazed eyes focus, the road signs come into view,
you realize you’re nowhere near home and how you got there or why
must be a matter of cognitive magic.
The moment is ruined.  There are dead chickens everywhere.
I wonder if they jumped off the poultry truck (I knew those things were torture)
like crazy people do from rooftops, after losing their fortune.
A bad day for chickens starts the day they hatch,
and every day gets worse, spent getting fat
on human greed and consumer demand.
But who would expect them to come to such an untimely end,
packed tightly together one minute and then
hurtling through the air the next.
Of course, if they jumped, it’s a different matter entirely.
I get the feeling some people would still jump
even if they could feel passion, or be moved by something
bigger than themselves.  It’s all a matter of perspective
and whether or not the things you have
are the things you wouldn’t trade for the world.

Some people can never be satisfied. They live
for the moment when they can escape. They live without dreaming
without a hope to follow. They live,
but they die in every waking moment, senseless and hollow.

Believe me when I say
it could be worse.


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