Poetry from Mickey Corrigan

Meat Census

Please fill out and return with your census form:

Do you eat turkey legs when drinking frozen vodka?
Does the ribald smell of barbecue make you drift?
Can you brush your hair glossy after beef tacos?
How many Italians does it take to slice prosciutto?
Why do babies cry when served kosher meat?
What is the IQ of a genetically modified broiler?
How often does your wet market serve bats à la carte?
Why wasn’t swine flu called North American flu?
Will steaming factory eggs cause seizures in small animals?
How many dairy farmers built ponds from unsold milk?
What is the average underwage for industrial meatpackers?
How many dead food inspectors does it take to issue masks?
What kind of raw meat can bring you to your knees?
Do you like chicken-flavored beer? Coffee? Underpants?

Thank you. The U.S. government values
your input and is working

hard to make sure
your safety is
a priority.

Cleanup Crew

The doctor is here
on your screen, in your hand
the Fed team tele-tells you
Lysol spray and UV rays
a fat lemon to suckle
with your malaria pills.

Suicide seems less risky
a mass poison prescription
when the briefings end
after violent hours, dumb
and dumber licking metal
hoar-frosted with lies.

And how must they sleep
you ask yourself at two, four
in the morning, ammonia
smelling salts, bleach inhaler
and what’s another number
atop a stack of creative data
you hear them recount, rephrase
in voices that rise and fall

like curves on a graph
in someone else’s nightmare.


Train tracks run the length
of this country
in black stitches
reminding us
land wounds
can be ripped open
again and again.

Tracks mark all flesh
where the surgeon’s knife
left the cold body
on the steel table
white on red on white
in black and white
iced blue.

Follow the tracks
the bent grass
broken twigs
animal scents
to the foxhole
where you think
you are safe
from all the other