by Eric Chaet

Costs more to produce
than the dairy so-called farmers can get for it:
cows don’t graze lazy in the sunny days
tall grasses blowing among weeds & dung
flies & seagulls, silos, sheds
tractors with all sorts of attachments
for plowing, planting, spraying, harvesting
bales all sizes cubic, cylindrical
from Arabia, Equatorial Guinea, & Houston
trucks haul formulated feed in
grain plus ground-up parts of animals
you won’t buy in the supermarket
you’d have to be as thoughtless & fatalistic
as a cow
huge barns huge herds huge debt burdens
debt burdens—such an elegant phrase
like it’s wearing a fine suit
& a watch advertised full page in The Economist
& scanning Dow Jones scores via Blackberry
in the back of a cab threading thru Manhattan
or no-nonsense in-it-to-win-it
lip stick tight skirt & slightly open blouse
allocating cotton slave opium & arms money
who shall live & who shall die?
no indignant Elijah furiously chopping up
the king’s 400 prophets of Ba’al
you lose money on the milk
& go out of business
or you buy & warehouse more cows
have to keep the temperature in the barn right
fans & heat, antibiotics
electricity costs keep rising
let’s say that’s because of demand from China
(leaving out investors’ profit margins
& those who enforce their will
which is nearly universally considered common sense
so as not to boggle the mind)
& when will the growth in prosperity
for the minority in China who are prosperous
reach its limit as it has recently
for the dairy so-called farmers?
some small proportion of whom
are going to do great
as soon as all their competitors fail
& the market for manure as fuel
kicks in when all the subsidized scientists
finally fine-tune the processes
they’re developing at subsidized research parks
adjacent to universities
paid for by taxes you pay or go to jail
which universities the kids
of the dairy so-called farmers
& the kids raised on the milk trucked into the city
those trucks with gleaming cylinders
not long cubes
behind the cabs
can afford to attend less & less
unless they find someone willing to fund them
there’s always someone willing to fund you
if you’re willing to assume the debt burden
then do whatever it takes to pay & pay
at whoever’s expense & til your strength runs out
exactly the same problem of every producer
& everyone with nothing to sell but labor
time attention hope effort life
& then there is the life of the cows
calf, heifer, cud, udder
the daily routine of milking & feeding
the other members of the herd
& all plants eliminated by herbicides
so that the fields can be made to yield
as close to nothing whatsoever
but hay & corn
which, plus ground-up animal parts
you won’t buy in supermarkets
& hormones & preservatives
compose the feed
& trucks full of liquid manure
too heavy for the township roads
tear those roads up
delivering fertilizer to those fields
& the township chairmen
don’t enforce the laws
unless the trucks are just passing thru
from one side of the township to the other
that manure & those stinking fields
within the township
belonging to their friends since childhood
&, especially, to themselves—
& the representatives & senators
trade votes in Washington & the state capitol
on health care & who goes to prison
& who shall be invaded, by whom
& using which corporation’s expensive weaponry
for subsidies for fewer & fewer
dairy so-called farmers—
& something similar is happening
to the workers in the paper mills around here—
& I’m a minority of exactly one
exactly as you are.


Also posted online @ UNISON Active (Scotland).


surveillance series
normal madness series

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