"Hold on!" the soldier said.
"Enough of this!
I know we're not supposed to boo and hiss,
many examples do we need?
And where does all this ancient blather
I, for one, would like to hear a tale,
Not lectures that
insist that none can fail,
And all get what they please by wanting
"Now, now," the bartender said. "You're in a snit!
enough, we did agree to tell
Tales to pass the time, and not
And say just anything we'd like to say."
"If the soldier
doesn't like it, that's OK,"
The guru said. "I'll end right here. I've
Desire to bore you all with wisdom, so
I'll pass the torch to
someone else, who'll try
To please this stupid crowd, I don't know
"No, please, go on!" the bartender exclaimed.
not to stop you. I'm ashamed
Of what just happened here. There are
Who wait upon your words." "I don't know any,"
said. "Come on! Who's next? Let's go!"
"I'm next," the minister
said. "I need to know:
Guru, have you more you'd like to say?"
a whisper! Please, go on, I pray!"
"But this time, a tale," the
bartender put in.
"Something with a beginning, middle, end,
characters whom we can recognize,
That we might know our grace through
Something merry, if you know of one."
"You tell me,"
he answered, "when I'm done."
There was a corporation that raised
Fat and juicy, broiler finger lickin's,
only seven weeks old,
Sheltered from the heat and from the cold,
by conveyor, drinking from the tap,
With vacuums to devour all their
Packed in with only one square foot for each,
As crowded as a
Sunday at the beach,
And fed a mix of corpses, crap, and corn,
nothing to do but eat from dawn to dawn,
So big-breasted they could
This corporation owned a lot of land,
chickens, maybe more,
A vertical trust, complete from egg to
There lived in one of their barns Cock A70
Of whose dreams and fate you'll shortly hear.
Just for this
tale, let's call him Chanticleer.
Next to him was A7054
friend and more,
For though the males and females were kept
There is no way to stop an avian heart.
So these two lusty
cocks would have their pleasure,
And soon the other's love began to
Peter was the next-foot neighbor's name.
indulged their passions without shame
Until one night when Chanticleer
had a dream.
"I dreamed," he told his friend, "that I was free,
at something called dawn crowed mightily,
Awakening all that slept,
both far and near.
Oh, yes! It was magnificent to hear!
that shook the very hills!
"And then I dreamed that I had other
I flew! Yes, flew! By flapping my own wings!
And ran across
a field! And other things --
Scratching for the most delicious
You've never tasted anything so good!
It squirmed and ran
away, but I was fast
And got it in my beak -- my beak! -- at
"And then I saw a goddess, so it seems,
The kind that one
can see only in dreams,
Who, clucking, near me came and brushed my
Then turned around to give me just a peek
At something I had
never seen before.
But let me say, I never lusted more!
beside myself --" But here Pete said,
"OK! OK! I have your dream right
You've tapped into an unconscious collective
Deep in the
genes, with imagery reflective
Of how life was a long, long time
Before we came to Heaven. As you know,
Once we were wild and
roamed the evil Earth,
At risk of death from the moment of our
Wild canines ate their fill, and bears,
And raptors, who
would take us unawares.
We were food, nothing but food for
Though in your dream life seemed like such a ball,
goddesses to love and bugs to eat.
But let me tell you, friend, it was
Every moment all we felt was fear.
"Contrast this to
what we're given here:
Manna on conveyor belts, and drink
as quickly as we think
We might be thirsty; temperature just
Electric suns to banish the drear night;
No foxes to sneak up
and sink their teeth
Into our necks, or grab us from beneath
bear us off to where they might devour
Us, bones and gristle, quick,
within the hour!
"And goddesses? Yes, there were some of
But they cluck-clucked, as everybody knows.
You would be
hen-pecked for your bit of joy,
While here we take our pleasure
Without the complex differences of gender,
As neither is
a borrower or lender.
So be content and put away that dream.
days weren't good as they might seem."
"But wait!" said
Chanticleer. "The dream went on.
Somehow I was here again, and
Of the doors opened, and in came lots of men,
The kind that come
to clean here now and then.
They carried cages, began to stuff us
While terrified, we raised an awful din
And ran this way and
that, to no avail,
For soon they had us fifty in a jail
for five, so stuffed we couldn't move.
"Then onto a truck we went,
a ride that proved
Alas! too short, for then they hung us high
hooks, upside down! Oh, you would cry
To see us thus, blood rushing to
Half stunned! But then the belt moved on ahead,
brine that stunned us more, and then
Back out into blessed air
Where whirring knives cut our heads off clean --
Oh, God! To
be beheaded by machine!
And then we hung there while the blood dripped
I tell you, I awakened with a shout!
"I could stand no
more!" "Now take it easy!"
Pete said. "I can see you're getting
This also is a dream that I can read,
A simple one. Believe
me, there's no need
To fear what is but dreamwork, nothing more,
your subconscious. That vision that you saw
Of us on hooks, necks
hanging upside down,
Was just a phallic symbol. Now, don't
Think about it: What was that machine
Cutting off? You act
out in your dream
Your shame and guilt at what we do each
Making something dirty of clean play.
"It was ever thus --
One's natural desires deep inside,
Where they fester
and become obsessions,
Whereas in the light their power
Read Freud -- you'll find it there all clearly writ,
Melville, if your taste is for crit lit.
"But for God's sakes! Come
make love to me!
And then get some intensive therapy
To rid yourself
of dreams like these!" "I've heard
That dreams foretell what has not
Said Chanticleer. "The mind can know much more
we poor chickens give it credit for."
"Hogwash!" Peter said.
Science discovered long ago there's not
One shred of
truth to psychic hocus-pocus.
Now come on here and get life into
So Chanticleer put his dream out of his head,
heed of what his dear friend said.
Still, just to be sure, he found a
Between the wall and earth where he might race
In case the
dream foretold, as he suspected,
The future, rather than his guilt
And sure enough, a few days later, men
carrying stacks of cages. Then
Stuffed the chickens in like white
So much for interpreting his dreams!
As the other chickens
Chanticleer made for his hidden
"Wait!" Pete called. "Why are you running thus?
you know where they are taking us?
Perhaps we're going to a bigger
What makes you think these men will do us harm?"
The dream!" shouted Chanticleer,
Racing faster as the men came
"Fool!" Pete said, scornfully. "You'll see:
All is just as it
was meant to be."
Pete fell back and soon was in a cage,
squashed but ever-optimistic sage,
While Chanticleer soon reached his
And crawled right in, ducking his small head.
barn was empty, the men came round
To see if any stragglers might be
One saw the little hole beneath the wall
And stuck his
hand in. "Ouch!" he said. "What call
Had you to scratch my hand? I mean
To you, my friend." And then he stretched his arm
with the same result. "Ouch! Ouch!
Come on! You needn't be so mean a
I bet you have a first-rate doodle do!
No rooster crows as
beautifully as you!
Come on out now, show me, if you can,
you're the finest rooster in the land!"
Chanticleer remembered how
In the first part of his dream to really belt
cock-a-doodle-do's so mightily
The hills shook, and he longed to show
Could do. But then the second part of his dream
things might not be as they seem.
"Come on, my dear!" the man
coaxed. "Let her rip!
I bet your lusty crow is quite a pip!
How I long to hear you crow!"
So Chanticleer released one, soft and
"Oh, you can do much better, I declare!"
The man said. "But not
cramped, as you are there.
Get out and lift your neck up, spread your
And let us know the joy each morning brings!"
remembered well the kick
That he had felt, and tried another lick.
was feeble, cramped as was his chest.
"Oh, not like that! You sound
like all the rest!"
The man went on. "Now come on out of there,
let us hear you in the open air."
So Chanticleer came out to show
And when his head had surfaced just enough,
grabbed hold of him and pulled him out.
Of my tale's end, then, have no
Within the hour, Chanticleer was food --
Not to crow, but
THE EPILOGUE TO THE MINISTER'S
"That was a merry tale!" the
"With meaning and with pleasure plainly wed,
might be the better for our fun.
I never thought that you would be the
He said to the minister, "to have such lust
Between two males
Hooray for you, then! To capture in a tale
full blood of life, hearty, whole, and hale,
In caricature, that we
might see what we
Look like puffed out beyond all subtlety.
(to the doctor) "we must move on, and so
Please tell us the very best
tale that you know."