Poetry: Mike Teevee

This poem is about my eldest son, Bennett, and a morning in which he witnessed the slaughtering of his grandfather’s cows.  I was both sickeningly proud and curiously appalled by his lack of fear toward the carcasses.  The poem is also about Mike Teevee, the cowboy kid from them Willy Wonker movies.


Mike Teevee

Perhaps this is the end of the broadcast day.

They were shot and killed, beheaded even,

before we awoke.

The splayed bodies of the newly christened dead

spewed a mockingly pallid rivulet of steam,

a remembrance for the once-was,

the way you can still hear a set is on

even with the volume muted.

Dissipating

somewhere around our heads

while the cavalier fog was trying its damnedest

to add a touch of low-hanging profundity

to the lurid proceedings.

And it was a palatial masquerade

but we simply sat back in our recliners.

The bloated white stomachs

mimicked weather balloons

and threatened to lift

the carcasses skyward.

“Boy, what a good show.”

He held its tongue and such verdant

word play was rendered in those moments.

But I kept it to myself,

for he was suddenly discovering

the quotient of the stars,

that all was dissolving,

the universe,

with its million halo-headed

clusters and clouds,

was breathing.

And with every exaltant push,

a red wagon on a yellow day,

comes the pull,

an oxen, divine and laden,

marbleized on a proud wall.

The cow was created to be killed, I told him.

It was a magnanimous tragedy

and the ache of it never touched

that calloused way he stood over them.

So proud of his humanness in that instant.

So proud to be on the side of the butcher

with his sharpened knives blackened

by a dense iron-enriched patina.

Why are you standing over it?

Smiling and dancing with voracious glee?

It couldn’t be possible you sensed

how lucky we were and how unlucky

we would eventually become

and in the end

before the end

the most human of our actions

is the slow subtle tapping

of some vibrato laced flamenco.

Dance that fiery dance that holds

the heavens aloft.

Eat the flesh of others

and resist the urge to recant

when your flesh is eaten in turn.

 

And the deadpan reporter asks,

What do you think of all the killings?

His cowboy hat, his dial rung back, says,

What do you think life’s all about?

 

 

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