Mere turtle, why should I become so upset?
Day spent near swamp, I take dips, stare at minnows,
once saw Susan Smith’s car hit John D. Long Lake bottom,
and not very observant, figured,
what’s worse ever ‘gonna happen around here?
A bottom-feeder am I… Napoleon made fun –
I floundered around sod, rolled upon back,
returned to Animal Farm, slow, pondering,
I emitted obscene sounds, dogs didn’t seem to mind,
I raised my right claw, saluted uptown wolves, sieg heil,
those really in-charge ’round here.
Backside, staring at cloud,
it was not first-time I saw old Boxer out behind
circular hay-bales, where he thought no one dared look,
enjoyed “inappropriate relations” with all those little boy-blues,
“Bah, bah, bahhhh…” they bleeped,
and there weren’t any nasty black sheep around to help.
Bad-seed planted, Boxer got done, lambs were relieved,
“happy as they never conceived it possible to be.”
Boxer, defensive-genius, he cared so much for little bleeps,
was never satisfied with being Snowball’s go-to-guy,
got extra sugar-bites, operated threshing-machine –
how can a unmotivated turtle ever understand?
In Animal Farm‘s aqueduct, running from devil, Boxer
used to ask Farmer Jones, “Is it my turn to pick-up soap?”
Everybody shirked, animals saw nothing,
“I know nothing, nothing…”
or almost everybody that is, except Orwell’s Tame Raven.
Very peculiar, she shirked work, appeared at bird-bath,
pecked at “trickle-down”seed, and the Tame Raven vanished
when trouble and Pilkington start making rounds –
she flew upon elm tree branch, alone, recited from memory:
“From childhood ‘s hour I have not been as others were –
I have not seen as others saw — I could not bring my passions
from a common spring – from the same source, I have not taken my sorrow.”1
King of the Pond – I mind my own business,2
“surely none of us want to see Farmer G. W. Jones back?”
I eat what swamp serves, expired Access-cards, a mosquito here,
horse-fly there, I could retire on praying mantis.
NCAA Bowl Games and O.J.’s Heisman mean nothing,
I shrug romantic passes off my shell in a jiffy,
and never once thought Tame Raven had ½ ounce
wiki-whistleblower in her gut.
Nevermore? Atlas did not shrug this time.
Happy Valley breeze shattered all lying scents,
whispered like old Geppeto into Tame Raven’s ear,
‘Sing-Sing, raven, Al Capone’s in pinstriped-farmer jeans,
not to worry, no worries,
neither Monsanto-seed nor celebrex hurt you now.”
300 breast-plated and billable hornets stung Sandusky,
Sardis moles with scrolls followed Joe Pa home,
a pack of Nittany Lions keep watch on Trustees, track a missing A.G. –
a bottom-feeder, why should I be upset?
Locker-room key in beak, the Raven flies 2nd Mile home to Ecuador,
black eyes cast shadows on me.
- From Edgar Allan Poe, “Alone.” [↩]
- “In Chinese Matters,” the late-poet Leonard Cirino found companionship with turtles. Leonard’s animals are not found on golf courses and South Beach, and maybe not always created equal, but given a chance, one can listen to Cirino’s turtles croak with beauty and knowledge in “The Rainforest.” [↩]