Friday, November 17, 2023

"Animals Are Passing from our Lives" by Philip Levine


It’s wonderful how I jog
on four honed-down ivory toes
my massive buttocks slipping
like oiled parts with each light step.

I’m to market. I can smell
the sour, grooved block, I can smell
the blade that opens the hole
and the pudgy white fingers

that shake out the intestines
like a hankie. In my dreams
the snouts drool on the marble,
suffering children, suffering flies,

suffering the consumers
who won’t meet their steady eyes
for fear they could see. The boy
who drives me along believes

that any moment I’ll fall
on my side and drum my toes
like a typewriter or squeal
and shit like a new housewife

discovering television,
or that I’ll turn like a beast
cleverly to hook his teeth
with my teeth. No. Not this pig.

Source of the text – Philip Levine, New Selected Poems.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1991, page 36.

TJB: No going wee wee wee all the way home. Nursery rhyme-like, its rhythm building, this poem sees through the eyes of a pig & speaks strongly in refusal.

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