Poem: Led to Slaughter, Chicago Style

By: Keith Moul

gallows-hill-3

“Modern travel: convenient speed”:
Railroad Promotion latter 19th century.

Amid squeals cattle came along as well.
Destined to the center of stink, ever rising,
to be butchered, rendered down to hooves.

Miasma grew inland from Lake Michigan,
emitted constantly from the slaughterhouse,
miring to inertia even prophylactic minds–
miring still more more quietly still, miring
moving ones to reckless speed—and more,
miring the lost to assume stink in themselves.

Often westerly, winds whistle off whitecaps
on track to open prairie, whether rime-laden
stink or the hot, humid malefaction on me.

Streets toss waste paper and cans; low chants
rise; drums beat to accelerating hearts, pedals
down start incessant whines; lips kiss ground
as necks bend in passion to revive the dead.

Piety gains no right with indifferent winds:
faith staunches not blood’s vengeful essence.

Chance the passionless, takes no chance at all.
Its prehistoric, Chicago rituals do not surprise;
its olfactory mysteries (solved by nasal plugs);
its mastery of peoples’ wills that lead like lambs
to slaughter: chance, the stubborn, noisome sow;
chance, mother to serendipitous causes, father
of obnoxious effects moves today’s wind easterly.

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