Song for Herzog and the Dancing Chicken


Here is a man who would train chickens
to dance for dinner in a penny arcade. Not three
but a full fifteen seconds. Repeat and reloop. Peck that piano.

Scratch that dirt. Knock your rotten red head against the prize.
Longer, little bird. This is not a mere exercise
in entertainment. Europe understands

the script of Americana is written for animals.
A kernel of corn to console you. You—stupid, cannibal
creature with your cockfight proclivity—you are capable

of more. You are the most important chicken in history,
you and your chicken sisters—mysterious stand-ins
for those of us lacking fleshy claws, freckled feathers.

His film crew can call it rubbish, storm off in a huff,
and return to find that art has already happened
among the hay: harmonica, barnyard shuffle and birdshit.

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