Growing up we all want different things. After watching my grandparents keep chickens, it was probably inevitable that someday I would have chickens. It was just one of those little sureties that went unmentioned, a secret imprint on my childhood.
Was I purposely secretive about my love for chickens? Absolutely, I was. Chickens were not cool.
Most people look at you funny when you mention that you have chickens. Though the response is definitely lessening these days.
Never the less, being an Urban Farmer gives me a nice stylish niche to keep company with.
Plus, now that I'm a parent, contemplating my "cool factor" while I stare at my 5 yr. old picking his nose seems pretty pointless. Nothing corrects a wayward ego like kids...or chickens.
Lately the inside of my coop looks less chicken disco and more like a chicken senior village. The heat lamp in the coop glows red at night hoping to infuse my aging flock with new blood.
She was my favorite old hen when she closed her eyes for the last time yesterday afternoon.
Chickens on the average live 3-5 years. And when Ginsberg stopped laying eggs very early this year, we knew she was probably on her way out. She had a good life on our urban farm.
Yesterday, I was too busy to even have time being sad. So I spent a few moments today saying goodbye. I even read a section of Howl in her memory. Which just made me feel kind of silly. But again that's only because as a chicken, Ginsberg was still way cooler than me.
Friends are special, even when it is a chicken with a suede grey muff and leather colored feathers...
Hey poor man, you're all alone
Hey old daddy, I know where I'm going
Father Death, Don't cry any more
Mama's there, underneath the floor
Brother Death, please mind the store
Old Aunty Death Don't hide your bones
Old Uncle Death I hear your groans
O Sister Death how sweet your moans
O Children Deaths go breathe your breaths
Sobbing breasts'll ease your Deaths
Pain is gone, tears take the rest
Genius Death your art is done
Lover Death your body's gone
Father Death I'm coming home
Guru Death your words are true
Teacher Death I do thank you
For inspiring me to sing this Blues
Buddha Death, I wake with you
Dharma Death, your mind is new
Sangha Death, we'll work it through
Suffering is what was born
Ignorance made me forlorn
Tearful truths I cannot scorn
Father Breath once more farewell
Birth you gave was no thing ill
My heart is still, as time will tell.
"Father Death Blues" by Allen Ginsberg