THE GRIMPILS FARM

THE GRIMPILS FARM

          A coyote is walking up the road from the city to the country.  On the back of the coyote is a crow.  On the back of the crow is a cockroach.  The three of them are friends from the city.  They are traveling up to the Grimpils farm for Giving Thanks Day.

A few hours pass and the three companions find themselves admiring the countryside.  A turkey meets them in the road.

The turkey says, “I am Snood.”

The coyote says, “I am Moontalker.”

The crow on Moontalker’s back says, “I am Caucus.”

The cockroach on Caucus’s back says, “I am Scurry.”

Snood the turkey says, “I will guide you from here.  Welcome to the Grimpils farm.”

Moontalker the coyote replies with a suave voice, saying, “Happy Giving Thanks Day.”

Caucus the crow replies with a rattling voice, saying, “Yaw, yaw.  Say, Snood, will there be Red Wing Blackbirds there?”

Scurry the cockroach replies with a soft hiss, saying, “Caucus can’t keep his pecker still.  Happy Giving Thanks Day, Snood.”

Snood the turkey turns and a raises a wing, saying, “Follow me, please.”

Snood and Moontalker, with Caucus and Scurry, turn off of the dirt road and climb through the old wooden rail fence.  Many of the rails are weathered and dislocated.

Snood and Moontalker, with Caucus and Scurry are now in a rolling green meadow, glazed with tiny yellow and purple wildflowers.  The warm air trembles with grasshoppers and butterflies.  Ahead they can see the Grimpils farmhouse and the enormous red barn.  As the four of them approach, the distant farmyard seems to be boiling.

Snood acknowledges the illusion and assures the others, saying, “It is all of the turkeys and their guests the cows, the pigs, the sheep, the chickens, and all of the others who were Born Again!”

Moontalker trots more quickly, saying, “A good turnout for Giving Thanks Day.”

Caucus starts to hop up and down Moontalker’s spine, saying, “Yaw, yaw, I see Red Wing Blackbirds!”

Upon Caucus’s back, poor Scurry hangs on like a burr on a bucking bronco, saying, “Cau! Cus! Will! You! Please! Be! Cool!”

When Snood and Moontalker, with Caucus and Scurry, finally arrive the vortex of animals is gravitating toward the big red barn.  The big red barn has an enormous doorway but no door.  Above the door can still be seen the faint white lettering: GRIMPILS FARM CAGE-FREE POULTRY.

Erected in front of the big red barn is a pole with what was once known as a scarecrow.  It is comprised of straw feet, a straw-stuffed pair of tattered overalls, a straw-stuffed red plaid shirt, and on the top of the pole is a human skull with a straw hat.

Moontalker growls softly, and then he says, “Sorry.  Habit.”

Caucus clicks and rattles nervously, saying, “I still have nightmares.”

Scurry scrambles a figure-8 over Caucus’s back, saying, “I don’t like religion.  Can’t we be thankful without it?”

Snood says, “Please excuse me,” and then he flaps and flutters up onto the head of the scarecrow.

Snood tips his head back and calls out over the crowd, saying, “Gentle animals, welcome, all, to this Giving Thanks Day; to this gathering of the Born Again!”

The variegated crowd assents.

Snood begins to preach, “Hear me, Born Again.  We must never forget.  On this day seasons ago we lived in what Man called Factory Farms.  All of us!”

Across the crowd rolls an ominous vibration.

“All of us!  And we were treated by Man like we were his personal vegetables!”

Across the crowd rolls an ominous vibration.

“Behind me in the shelter of this benign red barn was once a prison for innocent turkeys.  Innocent turkeys who never knew the comfort of a natural environment or the satisfaction of instinctual behaviors.  Today, Born Again baby turkeys stay with their mothers for months, but seasons ago these poor turkeys never experienced the safety or warmth of the nurturing mother they instinctively longed for.”

Across the crowd rolls an ominous vibration.

“Instead, they endured confinement in a ‘cage free’ barn, crowded beak to beak, the tops of their beaks broken off so that they could not kill themselves, their toes were sheared off; they were diseased, neglected, sometimes for days without water, abused by the attending Men; they bore a short life of intense suffering that ended in brutality: in the end they were hung upside down and their throats were slit and they bled to death.”

Silence crushes the crowd.

“Those who bled to death were the lucky ones.  Those who had not died yet were dumped alive into the steamer that scalded their feathers off.”

Some animals begin to cry out inarticulately.

“Three hundred million turkeys were raised for slaughter every season!  More than fifty million alone were slaughtered for a day that Man called Thanksgiving!”

Some animals begin to wail, “Why us?  Why us?”

Snood then takes a deep breath and with his wing he indicates the sun brightly above, saying, “And one day Great Sun took pity upon the poor animals under Man’s bondage.  Great Sun grew angrier and angrier.  And one day Great Sun cried out to the earth.”

The crowd opens their mouths and makes the loudest sounds that they can make.

Snood continues, saying, “And then for forty days and forty nights great Solar Flares engulfed the earth, flooded the earth.  First the Machines died.  Then Men died.  And then even the Men who could live without the Machines went mad from the radiation and they perished!”

“And finally, the God that had given Man such cruel, sadistic, unfeeling dominion over the world…, that petty, jealous, vengeful God of Man was dead!  Dead!  Dead forever!  So help us Great Sun.”

The crowd opens their mouths and makes the loudest sounds that they can make.

Snood shakes his wings in climax, shouting, “And Great Sun gave unto all the innocent animals his Gift of the Light, the Light of our Born Again Minds!  And we were all one upon the earth at last as it once was in the beginning!”

And Scurry cries out to Caucus and Moontalker, saying, “Happy Giving Thanks to all of us, every one!”

Inspired by: Woodstock Animal Farm Sanctuary

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MY BROTHER’S THANKSGIVING TOPIC ADDRESS

Grant

MY BROTHER’S

THANKSGIVING TOPIC

ADDRESS

(2014)

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        I, who have nothing but the clothes on my back donated by the grace of those who gave to the Salvation Army, said the following during an 8AM meeting of Narcotics Anonymous in a city park while surrounded by homeless people.

     Narcotics Anonymous teaches us two basic things: Get out of yourself and help others. Doing so helps us feel good about ourselves and that eliminates the need to use drugs or drink alcohol.

     Today’s topic is The Will of God because we need God’s will to help us get out of ourselves. You can’t get out of yourself by yourself. So God helps us step aside from our selfish ways. Once we do that we look back on our past lives and say, “Oh,… shit.” Then we clean up our mess. Moving forward we help other addicts clean up their messes, too. So the world gets a little better one addict at a time. And we feel good. So we don’t use. One day at a time.

     Today is Thanksgiving and I’m thankful that I’m not sitting in line somewhere waiting to buy a big-screen TV. Those people are just missing the point of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims didn’t line up for big-screen TVs on the original Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims gathered with Native Americans to thank them and God that there was enough of a harvest to make it through the winter.

     Those of us here today in this place in this circle should also thank God because we are among the wealthiest people in the world. You know that, right? Most of us have a safe place to sleep and food to eat and clean clothes to wear by the mercy of the donors to the Salvation Army.

     There are billions of people on this planet who don’t have that.

     So I thank God that I am not in line purchasing a big-screen TV because there is no big-screen TV big enough to bring me that sense of happiness.

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ILLYCIT

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ILLYCIT

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I should not have been born.

It be twenty years of an earlier time our Pilgrim Fathers lead our families to this new world.

Seeking to preserve us midst wickedness that is England, our Fathers put faith into God’s Hands and sailed their congregation of five score souls hither on a sea of troubles.

Forced by the elements to avoid their true destination in the Virginia Colony, it was God’s Will that we settle here the wilderness of Cape Cod Bay.

Half of our good Pilgrim founders died that first bitter frigid winter.

It was then my mother dishonored our Pilgrim Fathers. She sought warmth in dark sinful embrace, she did so confess, darkening the pious light from our spiritual City Upon A Hill.

Our good General Court did decree my mother’s chastening and penance ‘ere I was born. As constant admonishment I was to be named, as I am, “Illycit”.

I was verily conceived of that bitter cold.

It so be seventeen years of an earlier time my mother brought me into this world.

I have always been shunned by my good peers as thus wisely instructed by their good mothers.

I have so borne my repentant mother’s punishment as she had so borne me into life.

I have seen her tears of anguish that she did give me such of her life, this dowry of sin.

At night often do I come here and in my soundless spirit follow along yon moonlight road upon dark water.

Pray pardon me to have been startled by your approach, good Pilgrim.

I have not noticed you in town likely for my head is often bowed.

I am unworthy for your company, young Brother Clemence. You are kind. Know ye, your presence is sweet water to my parched soul.

I am so bleak. Do not depart me just yet. Remain yet a while hence.

I have always drawn much solace from our honorable visits though I dread what might bethought of our innocent unchaperoned assignations.

It is your honor at risk, good Clemence. My honor has been denied me summarily by decree.

I fear I shall enter and dwell in the allegorical pig and drown, only in loneliness.

Clemence! Harken that! Who goes there?
Clemence, hide thee!

The Constable! And goodwives of the colony!

How fare ye this night, all?

What say? The Devil? I am no foul witch! I spoke not to the Devil this night!

Unhand me, please!

All is innocence!

Since you demand, it was good and honorable Brother Clemence offering me mere words of kindly Christian consolations. He took charitable mercy upon this sinner.

What say ye? Why do ye mock my humble testament?

Say ye all? There is no Clemence who habits our colony?

I swear a good Christian Clemence heard my prayers and came to me! Not the cruel and foul Devil! I could not be so fooled!

Pride? I am already cursed with sin?

You have known me! I show ye penance each day!

You would murder me by fire! I am not a witch! I am not a witch! Dear God of Mercy Who is my fair witness! I am not a witch!

Clemence! Clemence! Show yourself! In God’s Name I pray thee! I see you in my mind! I do verily!

What? You all see? What?

Now I do see there too! A star falls from heaven! No! It be a wandering star, not the Devil! Not the Devil falling to earth!

I am doomed, merciful God! With that Sign You have sentenced me to fire!

Thus does Your Infinite Wisdom set me free of this world that wants me not.

Oh, Wandering Star, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever, Clemence! Kind Clemence, will you be there for my lonely purified soul?

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ELEGY FOR OUR CAT RONCHO


November 20, 1980

 

 

We love you.

That will never pass

Though all else seems to end.

Hey, fuzzy guy,

We love you.

You are still

Our little friend.

This morning was clear and bright

But it was not right.

The warm sun was out of place

Because you hid your sweet face

Beneath the garden

Where you would play

And capture butterflies

On their way,

Or touch the water

Against your fears.

We wish you were here now

To touch our tears.

Last night

With the moon so nearly full

We let you rest

Forever

On my shirt

While your sister played

Unafraid

In the open dirt.

We held a simple light

And stroked your pretty fur.

You were so peacefully with us

We wondered where you were.

You even had your sleepy smile

As we scratched your little cheek.

The sorrow fell

In shovelfuls

And buried us complete.

We love you.

That is never good-bye.

We love you,

We love you,

We love you,

She and I.

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