Reading Harper's

I walked with a house strapped to my back, a big house, creaking and everything inside it tumbling around, reading about, what, chickens? The chickenification of pigs, Muslims at KFC and the mutant chicken with teeth, the masturbation of American pigs (it's all about the artificial insemination, man, and first you gotta squeeze the urine out). Last night this is what was said: My name is Rupert Murdoch and I rape midgets who then give birth to retarded horse babies. (How did that work, exactly?) Nothing to see here or say, except this magazine unrolls me. They developed a language based entirely on the sound of birds falling from trees, then you have chickens gnawing on pig penis, this guy wearing a shirt with a chicken on it, friend of mine can't stop talking up Robot Chicken (the show) and there's too much acid in the pork, they say. We've gone too far. I just met a girl feel like I've known for centuries, what a great thing around her neck and what deep, deep eyes. Named her "pretty." Wonder what all she thinks about chickens... We bury our pets and fasten tombstones to their tiny graves, fasten epitaphs: Here Lies Dale, My Pet Chicken, a Mutant, a Robot, a Distant Galaxy Encased in Delicate Silicate Crystals. A didgeridoo sings the innermost design of your soul, your chicken soul, and recalls to us Haiti's sweltering equatorial reality. (Why don't they play baseball? For the love of God why???) They're black because of the sun, you know, and blonde proliferates not due to any particular evolutionary advantage except it's fuckable, oh so fuckable, not unlike these genetically enhanced super pigs are made more fleshy but acidic. (The average American Science Pig renders one additional pork chop these days lately.) Wait - wait: Are the pigs fuckable? Why then the manual manipulation, the coaxing of pig cock required for insemination? Why don't they get randy and make love to each other? Sweet muddy pig love? Maybe because they recognize in each other the prodding hand of the Scientist of America, America's dialectic of "audible silence." ("We don't say flatworms love each other.") My chicken, Dale, I turned him into a sandwich, ate him with a side of ape (recommended by a friend) and a platter piled high with pork loin. (Why SHOULDN'T I make out with Bolivian girls? They are very pretty and appear to have nice lips, lips with give, with play in them...) Meanwhile, on page 80, it's Philip Roth positively furious over death - why we die, why we have to. You will know us, I say, by our teeth, our antennae, and the way our eyebrows arch with lascivious glee when presented with fine erotica. Some of us eat our own placentas. Others raise chickens and jack off pigs. Still more dream of Christian empire, making of the world a dominion of fire, tinkering with utmost gumption with that tax code, diddling their librarian wives in President-sized beds. (Can you imagine the look on George Bush's face? Screwing his Laura? Do you think he goes down on her?) Herr Doktor Viktor Frankenstein is among us, people, inventing a superior chicken. Be advised, be warned. This rascal will plague him, wild, an assault on him like words are the assault of thought on the unthinking (page 16, maybe 17), its mutant chicken teeth goring, dripping with the blood of his loved ones... We discussed books, you and I, and I mentioned philosophy is too tough for me, too bendy. My brain - not yours, for yours is my other brain - my brain is one of those new-fangled remote control sharks, robot insects dispatched by Don Rumsfeld (D-Rum, a friend called him) to fly-on-the-wall America's dedicated foes, who are legion. They are legion, these foes, and some of them speak in the quick screams of cats falling from trees. TREES ARE THE ANSWER, the bumper sticker read. Well yes, that's all fine and good, but what's the question? Is it: "What the fuck are all these big green things?" The one with white flowers, he said his girlfriend would dance in their petals when the wind made a raining of them. "Amanda, we don't have time." Picture her in the summer, all her big ideas evaporated in that moment while she dances... I eat chicken fried rice, contemplate chicken tortilla soup, chicken cordon bleu, chicken fingers, chicken wings - wait wait wait, do they even have fingers? Where does it end? I once made a gift to some gay friends (I have those, see, I'm not a goddamn homophobe) of Chick Filet coupons. Even queers like chicken. To suggest otherwise would be, well, it would be just silly to suggest otherwise. Jews, too. A couple professors are taking me out to beer and grub next month. We will eat chicken pizza and drink chicken beer. (What did the man call it? The carnivore's morality?) Anyway it's gonna be fucking great. I will tell them what I said to Pretty - whose real name is Heather - which is this: "Is it possible you've been a character in a story I wrote? Did I maybe meet you in one of your dreams? Do you have a sister named Rachel? Walk home with me, Heather. Let's fall in love today." Don't be chicken. The sun ain't yella, it's chicken. And good deeds - yes, Walter - good deeds really do become the eyes of birds.

About the author:

Devin Walsh is an undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He is the creator and editor in chief of a literary arts journal there called Metabolism, and the creator and producing director of a theatre company called Metabolism Productions. His work has appeared in Switchback, Edifice Wrecked, Verbsap and Flasheville.