Poems by Paul Van Peenen

             By Paul Van Peenen

                Based on the Joyce Carol Oates Poem Harlow’s Monkeys

The tagline for the trailer is:
No one hears a monkey scream,
Not in The House of Harlow.

It’s a horror movie, of course.
And I’m happy to report,
No monkey gets out alive.

But no worries.
There will be no petty bickering
Or howling complaints.

That’s because the monkeys
Have no vocal cords.
The kindly Doctor removed
The pesky things.

Okay, Okay. This little fact-gem
Isn’t about soothing monkeys.
It’s about not upsetting their human “minders”
Who are, after all, just doing their jobs.

Oh right. It’s not a movie.

             By Paul Van Peenen

How will I come back?
As the calf, ripped
From his mother,
Butchered and turned
Into veal? Or the birth mom
Chained to concrete
For days at a time,
Bawling over her lost calf?

A force-fed foie gras candidate?
A beak-trimmed baby chick
In a factory farm?
A pig on the slaughterhouse floor?
A lobster in a pot of boiling water?
A gutted fish, still writhing,
On a serving dish?

Something to chew on
As I take my seat at the First World’s
24 Hour All-U-Can Eat- Buffet.

- Paul Van Peenen lives in Eugene, Oregon and has had work published in Agape Review, Woodcrest Magazine, Seattle Review, Autumn Sky and Poetry Super Highway among other venues.

Copyright©2023 by Paul Van Peenen. All Rights Reserved.