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.


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.
Tyler sighed.
And went back inside.

Senor Negativo Jul 2012

If the first few lines were really true
you wouldn't have posted the rest.
Misery loves company.

Bull Shit
Miceal Kearney Aug 2010

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.

Miceal Kearney Dec 2010

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.
No pressure.

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 !

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

Barton D Smock Jun 2013

places where I worship

from the dark green church of my fascination with heavy frogs comes the nude body of a boy wearing the head of a heifer.  his legs are not entirely under as of yet but he is let stumble.  from the same dark an excessively wormed fishhook flies on a line and knocks the boy’s scrotum behind like a bell.  I scratch my fake arm from shoulder to elbow and believe the sound is not coming from the hook scraping back into the dark.  even in dream I hallelujah lip synch.        

places where I am discontent

in an abandoned dog’s house, I am, shoeless, with a slipper, in my mouth, a spotlight, caresses, dry grass, my mind, I mistake my mind, for the brain, cinerea, for cinema, my thoughts are meat, are herded, whipped at by a whipping tool, I fear nothing more than I fear, my penis, what it thinks of me, or that it thought, me, first, and lastly

beneath that whip, at the end of which, some interrogator’s, bulb.

Lee Janes Dec 2012

Again, hello my smooth tender Suffolk maid,
What do you have there in your woven basket?
Would you like to listen to a dainty rhyme I made?
If with a lovin' pinch of salt I ask it?

I know you know, of course you know,
That I would walk with you where ever,
Plough through wind and rain even deep slushy snow,
My heart with warmth gives in any quite such weather.

To hold your gaze with sweet subtle words,
For you to answer with your so kind voice,
To walk your figure passed heifer own'd herds,
Talking together brings into being sunbeam rejoice.

To grasp your arm mild, to clench your hips tight,
Begging gentle kiss of mine to dazzle your cheeks rosy glow,
Never could scholars ink descript such a devout sight,
As to my song express'd could never, your beauty, show.

Little thinks, in the field, yon red-cloaked clown,
Of thee, from the hill-top looking down;
And the heifer, that lows in the upland farm,
Far-heard, lows not thine ear to charm;
The sexton tolling the bell at noon,
Dreams not that great Napoleon
Stops his horse, and lists with delight,
Whilst his files sweep round yon Alpine height;
Nor knowest thou what argument
Thy life to thy neighbor's creed has lent:
All are needed by each one,
Nothing is fair or good alone.

I thought the sparrow's note from heaven,
Singing at dawn on the alder bough;
I brought him home in his nest at even;—
He sings the song, but it pleases not now;
For I did not bring home the river and sky;
He sang to my ear; they sang to my eye.

The delicate shells lay on the shore;
The bubbles of the latest wave
Fresh pearls to their enamel gave;
And the bellowing of the savage sea
Greeted their safe escape to me;
I wiped away the weeds and foam,
And fetched my sea-born treasures home;
But the poor, unsightly, noisome things
Had left their beauty on the shore
With the sun, and the sand, and the wild uproar.

The lover watched his graceful maid
As 'mid the virgin train she strayed,
Nor knew her beauty's best attire
Was woven still by the snow-white quire;
At last she came to his hermitage,
Like the bird from the woodlands to the cage,—
The gay enchantment was undone,
A gentle wife, but fairy none.

Then I said, "I covet Truth;
Beauty is unripe childhood's cheat,—
I leave it behind with the games of youth."
As I spoke, beneath my feet
The ground-pine curled its pretty wreath,
Running over the club-moss burrs;
I inhaled the violet's breath;
Around me stood the oaks and firs;
Pine cones and acorns lay on the ground;
Above me soared the eternal sky,
Full of light and deity;
Again I saw, again I heard,
The rolling river, the morning bird;—
Beauty through my senses stole,
I yielded myself to the perfect whole.

Carla Marie May 2013

In a past life… I’m sure of it… I was exceedingly


And as grand as myself… each entrance-

Pausing in doorways

To give each and every head the privilege

To turn and peruse the

Magnificence that was me…

And with each exit

Shatter champagne glass… and

Slowly… hip swayingly….

Drag full length mink along the floor….

But not this time around… No…

This phenomenal, prosaic, and unpretentious time around

If I drag full length mink…

Some heifer would accidentally… or purposely

Be guaranteed to step on it.. making me hafta

Step to her…

(get off’a mah coat!)

And no good can ever come

From two grown women…

Rolling in gutter gum

And miscellaneous sidewalk debris

‘til the cops show… and I catch a case…  

With footprints on my coat…  

gum in my hair… and

My spirit of woe…

Cuz it wasn’t s’posed to go

Down like that… not the way I saw my

Grand Exit at all…


I’ve concluded … evidently… by the way it seems like i should roll…

Not this time around… but in a past life…

Surely… I was exceedingly


vircapio gale Sep 2012

wakefulness demands a certain clearness when asleep . . .
it doesn't come as planned
"tat tvam asi"
LaBerge says to me in dream of me
"this world you are, withstanding even torments thou art never seen."
and that's enough to suffer aching, opaque psyche summit, forward
heart to rise an interspecies knell when danceless fades the bee in droves...
aimless whales who singing deep in love are cut from evolution's murky chain...
fungal blight of hibernaculum, in deafened sonar sending sudden drop of death;
to horror fragment melt, the ocean swill from ancient caps to sunken polar paw
diverse in massacre of tropic forest fertile mists, lives dispersed
and balance tipped from blindness not unlike the sterile statue's, there
                                                          i­n dusty courthouse corner, shadow-lined with infamy...
what imagined cartoon causal Captain Planet              
                            villainy to blare across oneiromantic globe? and (dreaming?) civil strife,                  
       eradication's alter triumph pose to measure blame in inner life?
of empiric meditation's top, in bondage
churning out abuse in deeper,
                                                         ­   younger hidden traffics yet to terrorize the net...                                  
                                             the scraping of the sky had punctured through                                
                         ­                                      from metaphor to fact
                                       the sooty barbs
                            in radiance rebound    
and irony affected 'green'
                  folds crisis and solution into one                            we hope
                like what we say we are, becoming change                      in wartime summer fling    
say we can in world of 'me'                                      
in guilt-assuaging verve
                                  the heifer-gift to village fief
    but then to rest against organic pillow-conscience gray                                                             ­       
                                                               soundly snoring smokestacks fill from ground to sky
still for sly investment windfall   fog  billow, shake...                             
transcontinental scape of dream imbued anew:
i am the genie of my ownmost inner lamp
in dreamtime-being spacious constellational of reach distilled
in contemplation's tratak zoom mInute
   with jet black finger trace
    i net                                                              ­                                        from out the inter-earthen air                
                                             ­                                              the lump on lump of coal
                massaging from                                                             ­      as if an ivory atmospheric                  
lift                   of      weight  
                           the sculpture of our past condensed in elephantine thrust
                                                 miasmic fossil shower-haze of sporogenic fear,
mneumonic nail-tusk night of carbon-spirit back into its hold -- originary dark,
Dark light from burning black                                                 once again contained                                                      in elemental subterrain                                                       ­                                                       
         ­                                        --now it underlies the ground inside for triple shielding outshine
--outer-- light to cool us breathing once again . , ,    
false convenience in abeyance in a human time!                                
i am right now of inward self my soul supernal carbon imprint copy                             
for accounting every speciesistic mind to open wide enough and quell the "all-too human plagues--                                                                           ­       cheering all penultimates, in beams reflecting ante-truth          
                                                 down halls of mirror-minds that lightly discourse
on the ingress of a centaur saving power
channeling the leylines of inception,
ecstatic dreamworld of apotheosic glee:
parting the eidetic clouds,
commune an avatar intentionality . . .
ensorcelling the foodstuffs of the world to feed a dozen million refugees,
insectile diet pride attends in homes of affluence,
the abstract mass of media, become eupeptic cud of understanding bats and even bees--
for biospheres a Goodall stewardship arrives
(her perfect chimp call too resounds across the earth!)
and dwindled frogs their former ponds (unknown, destroyed without a sound)
return to chirping vibrant green symphonic swooning life
the glacial march of tears to halt . . .
all ecosystems rife withall
the panegyric of marshlands globally reborn  
along with shining waters, algaeic sun alive at play
in double-helix breath of dolphin families' bubble art
a sudden resurrect from bloody harvest cove arise cascading joyous leap
on final absence of the metal herding knock of trapping pods
no longer hacked in waves of pink, mere preparations for a restaurant sink--
they are free to swim the depth of worldheart dreaming unknown dream entire real again
marine apsaras dip in spectra (flicker eyelid) rays, reintroduce the dawn
her fine apparel calling forth transhuman destinies
unsplicing brilliant minds from tawdry task of splicing GMOs
recycled randomness accepting death before we die
mycelium in runs of spilling-- all undone --
migrational attuned our resource use
and CSAs to thrive in eco-city scapes
no solopsistic somniac pretends
--the dream imbued in final hue
a momentary lapse, creationary flux--
the bombs defused in flick of wrist
indentured and enslaved, imprisoned innocents, oppressed and even self-deprived released
through selfhood's metaviral claim
ground of each dependent intertwining
whatness will to be
a place in which to hum in tune or out of tune
to heal and in a another dream aside from this perhaps with me partake
in true oneiric panoply of conflict held
--with permeating rigpa geogaze--
colliding ideologies transmuted into trust
in panharmonium of varied vision
and what the ever present boons of real, imagined symbol-real
create awake


Stanley Zgrodek Sep 2015

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
being hung.

Pun intended.
Robert Ronnow Aug 2015

Numerous number systems beyond the real:
complex numbers, octonions, omnions which can eat whole black
It's axiomatic that your personal history, preferences, how you feel
account for nothing at all.

$30 buys a flock of chickens for a needy family (International Rescue
$29 gets a girl a school uniform (CARE), for $300 you can stock a fish
      pond (Heifer International)
$69 can start a female entrepreneur in the sewing business (Mercy
$5 will buy a bed net that protects a family from mosquitoes (Against

20th century experiments demonstrated that electrical charge is
      quantized; that is, it comes in
multiples of individual small units called the elementary charge, e,
      approximately equal to 1.602
x 10-19 coulombs (except for particles called quarks which have
      charges that are multiples of

Why has the experimentalism of the avant-garde, which has failed in
      the novel, succeeded in
poetry? Because poetry is always experimental; while the novel, on
      the contrary, by its nature,
cannot be . . . which is to say that experimentalism is synonymous
      with poetry, and that applied
to the novel, it leads simply to the substitution of the novel with
      poetry. --Alberto Moravia

Man made the town, Fibonacci inflated zero to be the wheel
around which the universe turns and language is the soul
walking and talking quietly or going angrily to war.
"Counting is in its very essence magical, if any human practice is at all.
      For numbers are things no one has ever seen or heard or touched."
      As are words.

Joan Didion thought the scariest stanza in all of poetry
begins Row, row, row your boat gently
down the stream. The elements, the material penumbra,
irresolvable for the mortal, readily dissolve in words and numbers.

--Kristof, Nicholas, "Gifts That Say You Care", New York Times, December 3, 2011.
--Moravia, Alberto, "Poetry and the Novel", Threepenny Review, Summer, 1987
--Harris, Roy, The Origin of Writing, Open Court Publishing Co., 1986
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