all winter housed in the yard. Fed
the freshest silage, the cleanest water.
All the nuts they could eat.
But they’d hang their heads by the gate,
longed for earth between their hooves.
Hard to run giddy on concrete
between confining walls.
Eventually beaten with hurlies
and a black pipe
onto the back of a truck.
5 heifer hang from hooks.
The sleet had piled high up on the side of the road, spraying the brownish gray over the pedestrians. Sharlesburg was far out on the Pennsylvania country side, and the town was choked by trucks hauling by and the smells of dairy farms. No one really stayed there long, aside from the clerks in the little stores, maybe a few waitresses, and none of them wanted to stay around. No, the waitresses all wanted to move to the city and get their big time jobs, and the clerks wanted to move down somewhere warmer to retire. Maybe to the lake, but that was too rough in the winters. Well, the Summers were gorgeous, and so maybe that would work. The only ones who wanted to hang around were the farmers.
Life was slow, and the farmers knew the land. Time there plodded away slower than the cows grazing on the moors. As one year grew into two and two into six, not much ever really changed for them. The land would go from muddy and torn to green and sparkling, gold and cracked, and again to the mud, smeared with the white from the snow. And all the while, the animals paced, and so did the farmers, wandering deeper and deeper into the rut.
Tyler sat by the window, watching the cattle huddle together out in the mud, her tea and her breath fogging the window. Her father was out at town for the weekend, though she never really asked why. Monday he would probably stagger home reeking of a medicine cabinet. Another cow might die this winter, she was sure, because she had never learned how to deal with a cow in labor, and the vet didn't like to come by any more. That Tyler wasn't sure of why, but her father was almost certainly the blame for that.
Her mother wasn't around anymore; she left with a furniture salesman to live on the lake.
The television glowered in the corner, the same four channels playing the same four things. Tyler switched them off, but wanted the noise, and turned on the radio.
"REPENT SINNERS REPENT SINNERS! FOR THE FIERY HELL AWAITS YOU! I MEAN YOU, YOU WITH YOUR SEXUAL MUSIC AND YOU JEAN SHORTS! HAVE YOU SEEN THE TV? THOSE GIRLS, WITH THEIR EXPOSED CHESTS AND GOING TO WORK-,"
Tyler switched it off again.
Something had fluttered outside. What really caught her eye was that it wasn't white, like the sky, it wasn't the snow, it wasn't the mud or a black back of a cow. It was something red and shiny.
The snow was falling pretty hard though. She couldn't be sure.
In the quiet, Tyler could discern the mooing yelps of one of the cows. She pulled on her yellow winter coat and scrambled outside. The air was cold and sharp against her nose, ripping away the smells of manure and filth. Even the tobacco from the ashtray was blank; the landscape was nothing but sound and snow and the god damn cold.
The cows stood in a brace, black bodies radiating heat in the January snow. Tyler shoved them aside, though they hardly budged. Saliva dripped onto her shoulders and onto the ground, little pits in the mud. One cow groaned again, and as she got closer, she saw it was laying on its side in the middle of the brace. A pregnant cow, heaving under the pain of labor.
She guffawed, trying again to shove the onlookers aside, but it seemed as though they merely packed closer together, and she could hardly get an arm through. As Tyler watched, the cow shrieked in pain. Cows clamored tighter in the bunch and their eyes swallowed the sight as dully as cud.
"Please, move! get out of the way!"
Of course, the beasts, they paid no mind. The heifer shrieked again as blood began to spout heavily fourth. The Cows did not even step back. They did not budge as Tyler beat on their rumps, not a flinch. The cries of pain grew weaker and weaker and the legs went from their horrible flailing to the slow movements of a dying moth.
When the scene ended, the cows were no longer amused, and passed on. The heifer was dead. Tyler scrambled forward in hopes of saving maybe the calf.
It was only a bloody rag , hanging sadly from the mother's bowels. no life had touched the wretched thing.
And went back inside.
Jimbo rode the tri-county circuit
Holdin' on to the seat of his pants
(They gotta lotta nice gullza)
Ax slung way down low so he could feel it
Bumpin' the hardcore grind
Feels so good when the wood rubs against the 501 metal buttons
Scratchin' up the back o' dat Fender P Bass
High on the stage
In front of crowds or in a cage
There's a kinda woman who'll dance all night
Same kinda woman lookin' good in the spotlight
That kind of woman show her breasts if the price is right
For Jimbo and the band it's free
Three sets in and she's just now ready to party
What most will call a party
Somebody yells "Play 'Free bird'" 10 times
Jimbo can't let that go on
He takes his sexy ass bass from his sexier shoulders and he walks all the way to a dead end drunk soldier
"Listen man, like you listen to the band, we don't much like playing 'Free Bird'.
It's too damn long and
It's a Skynyrd song and if we was gonna play we'd wait until the encore
When everybody's drunk and shoutin' for more, too wasted to care how bad we screw it up"
Well that drunk got the gist and he might have been pissed but there weren't no denying the logic
"Free Bird"'alright for the end of the night
Third sets just too damn early
Jimbo kept his promise, he played that song and it damned sure sounded like shit
But he'd been right cuz all the night they drank whiskey and rye and nobody recognized it
They put it to rest, packed their gear up as best they could
They went lookin for marijuana and women
Jim couldn't tell you what the other boys found but he bought some Zig Zags and he lay right down with a
Heifer who had her eyes for the guitar player
Who wasn't interested in heifers
She was gonna show Jimbo what this heifer could do
Then ask him to tell Mel the Guitar Man what was in store for him if only he'd change that red light to green
This is what the tri county circuits all about
Yours for the asking if you've got a
Shred of talent
Jimbo thought that heifer was fine
Thanked the little lady for a mighty good times
She said, baby tell that git picker I got a surprise
Jim told her, sorry sweetcheekers, Mel only likes guys
At which point she seemed defeated
Maybe she'd been a little too conceited
Jimbo turned and stormed right out of the place
He went lookin' for that girl who'd flashed her titties in his face
But he didn't find her
Here's a would you rather
straight from the slaughter house.
Would you rather be hung
from a rope,
and have your throat slit,
or would you rather
have a drill pierce your skull?
We are human, not heifer,
but the fact still remains
would you rather a quick death,
or be left to suffer?
Personally I would choose hung.
I really wouldn't mind
Extending my sleeves past my frozen fingers,
it is -3 and handles of anything
get extremely bitter this time of year.
I fork in splinters of silage
#235 pokes her head out through the feeder.
I have plans for you Missy Moo —
well: our progeny.
Provided you’re in calf;
provided you stay in calf;
provided you calf down successfully;
provided it lives long enough to be killed.
If not, I’ll probably sell you
and buy an in-calf heifer instead.
RED barns and red heifers spot the green
grass circles around Omaha-the farmers
haul tanks of cream and wagon loads of cheese.
Shale hogbacks across the river at Council
Bluffs-and shanties hang by an eyelash to
the hill slants back around Omaha.
A span of steel ties up the kin of Iowa and
Nebraska across the yellow, big-hoofed Missouri River.
Omaha, the roughneck, feeds armies,
Eats and swears from a dirty face.
Omaha works to get the world a breakfast.
Lording over...my estate...striding--a parasol
of death spreads overhead.
Bones buckle, breath labors...an idiotic sky
broken a china doll blue.
Spiritual masteries whistle...sutra their wind...
there's nowhere to go--an attending red goes
black...a soul-rending idleness...my subjects
shall remain heifers.
Dotting my regal garden...dotting my regal
garden--with their fruitlessness.
Lording over... my estate...striding--a parasol
of death spreads overhead--pronounced
gloriously...the involuntary ratiocination of
my being in the minds of others...how dear...
how fitting am I...today I shall end my life.
Bo Goodin Reddy was a friend o' mine
Gargled in the morning with turpentine !
Ate catfish and drank moonshine ,
Worked like a mule on the old rail line !
Bo yanked a heifer 'outta Whitewash Creek ,
He could whup a black bear with a hickory switch !
Played five card stud till the cows came home ,
Shot a pine cone off a tree at a hundred yards Man could grab a rattler before the snake could blink ,
Bo was more man than a man could think !