UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY - 08/2012

STEVE YOUNG

Ghetto AZ

Chickens
being processed for food are
electrocuted through their assholes
Whenever I hear the uproar about something like this
from you and the likes of you
I canít help but become
a little peeved

Iíve seen marches
celebrity advertisements and
internet campaigns
for the chickens

While children
being raised in your own town go
unnoticed in shabby clothes
Walking to the grocery store with
food stamps hidden shamefully
in their only pair of jeans
to buy the products made from
these chickens
for their dinners

Pamela Anderson and the likes of her
never said a word

We are born fat and full of joy
We are 4 and teaching ourselves to read
under the coffee table
We are 7 the first time we get beat up
on our way home
from another new school
We are 12 when we suddenly realize
you and the likes of you are embarrassed
by how poor we are
We are 15 and drinking stolen Jack
from a rinsed out cottage cheese container
We are a 16 year old drop-out
We are registered with the Selective Service
selling crystal-meth from a Waffle House graveyard
We are nineteen year old fathers
We are too late when we try to be good fathers
We are 21 with dead family and a drug problem
We are 24 with dead friends and a drug problem
We are 27 with a hard-on and a crooked grin
We stood the same chance as
those chickens

Yet we never heard a shred of encouragement
advice
or sympathy
All we heard about was
the poor chickens

A whole generation of fatherless
children learning life lessons
from the unsupervised streets of
Ghetto, Arizona

Millions of dollars burnt down the drain
telling nobody who gives a shit
about the terrible plight of
these chickens
while millions of children in your towns are
hungry
cold
ashamed and
terrified
Where are the campaigns for us?
Forgotten in the middle
between new electronics
and electrocuted chickens?

We grow like that tree in Brooklyn
If there werenít so many of us
you would think we were beautiful
and important
We grow like the goldfish in a tiny bowl
Our environment keeps us small
as we die predictably and often
We grow just strong enough
to know we are not strong enough to change
anything

You are the absent parents
You are the disillusioned teachers
You are the so-called environmentalists
putting bumper stickers on your clean car
promoting world peace
while the environment in your backyard burns
and we choke and die on the filthy fumes of our own
unguided souls

We are the fatherless boys
who become sub-men
Schooled on the streets of
Ghetto, Arizona
to degrade and manipulate
your daughter
your sister and your mother
We are the truly base
We are the literal motherfuckers
We are the problem
that is even more important than
the chickens

No one has demanded the end of our slaughter
No one stood up and cheered for us
We are the trees falling in the forest and yes
we are making sounds


Steve lives in Phoenix, AZ. He's been published in numerous online and print magazines, but so have a lot of other people who are not nearly as good. He can be reached at renaissancejones@yahoo.com. Unless you are a hot, Asian newscaster named Tram Mai, he probably will not respond.







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