Today's poem is by Christopher Kempf

Poem for the Giraffe Marius
        upon his execution by bolt gun at the Copenhagen Zoo

Because, they said, genetics. Et
                                                                    cetera. Said
                                        inbreeding. Because
    when the steel bolt retracts, the giraffe's
                                                  skull crumpling
in on itself like a cup, blood
                                        from the heart circulates 'still
            in the edible flesh. He felt,

                                we are told, nothing. Not
            the bolt's cold lobotomy. Not
                Not his slack body hauled
                        to the stage. The Danes
—babies in the arms of their mothers, in one
                photograph a dad with his son—have come
                                    hungry to the zoo's cruel—
    they call it—lesson. The lions

                            beside the stage circle. A saw
rattles in the hands of a man
            in a HazMat suit. Slowly
                                    the work begins.
                                            There is,

                            Artaud tells us, an element
of cruelty rooted in every spectacle. At the end
                      of Hamlet for instance, Denmark beset

    on all sides by Fortinbras, we watch
with no small delight the pile
                                                  of dead deepen. We,
                        Horatio says, are something
as yet more Roman
                                  than modern.
it means. Or Mars. God
                    of our thousand casual slaughters. God
of us always. The toll

                        of our two wars last week reached, one
                                estimate hazards, half
    a million people & I feel,
        as he does now, nothing. Suffering,
like sentiment, is never a question
                                                of scale. The stage

slick with blood, they cut
                        one matchstick leg then
    another & chuck it
                      for the waiting beasts. They peel
                    his skin from the lopped body. The saw

Copyright © 2015 Christopher Kempf All rights reserved
from Crazyhorse
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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