Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Never-ending Conspiracy Theory

They shot him in Dallas forty-eight years ago today.
The shots echoed all the way to the Poultry Science
building in Pullman, Washington, where Roethke
was dead two months before, while the hens slept
with the roosters and those donning white coats
checked room temperature and humidity.
Eggs hatching under the bare warm bulbs faced
the door the roosters strutted through to see
who was where . . . even, some theorized, why.
The bar downtown filled with alcoholics who knew
roosters know to mount hens with requisite fury
to reproduce. Even where hens lay alone, cocks
were always strutting through the door, their bright
red coxcombs sheltering a short life’s mirth
between their wings. When a rooster dies a thick line
is drawn with a straight edge through his identity,

I always believed there were assassins on the ground.
Over the years you were told to give up such beliefs.
Witnesses died one after the other, strangely,
even the assassin of the assassin via cancer.
Conspiracy theory fell through democracy’s cracks.
Oswald took the rap, even Mailer said he was alone.
I know even less now than I knew then. I know
I shouldn’t care, but remember others who died
for no good reason. I never gave up. Some hens did,
some roosters stayed. Even Cathleen came home.

Yet every hour this time of day Americans die
somewhere, a death labeled natural or murder.
Where I was it was noon, we wore white shirts
when his wounds ruptured the one pulse a body needs.

(22 November 2011)\

copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander


  1. Floyce: Here's a response from me about your poem
    on the anniversary of JFK's death.

    LBJ's Psychiatrist Gets Loose Lips at the Driscoll Hotel Bar

    It was Johnson County, let me tell you, that started it all.
    Young Lyndon figured the county was named after him,
    it was his, the whole dry-land ranch of it, and he aimed
    to have it in his pocket, and damned if he didn't get it, too

    in 1948 it was. He managed to find 201 more votes in a
    little berg called Alice. Ha, in wonderland. Then a'course
    by Freud's beard, it had to be covered up, buried, except
    for Lyndon's sister Josefa who was a sleep-around drunk

    who was having an affair with a golf pro name of Doug
    Kinsa who found out about the "Box 13" affair and had to
    be silenced by none other than LBJ's buddy Mal Wallace
    who got 5 year suspended sentence for outright murder,

    never let it be said that Johnson had not the spleen for
    getting by with the help of his friends, Ed Clark who ran
    everything in Texas, controlled judgeships, arranged all
    the dirty business, money-laundering, bribes, extortion.

    Sounds like the mob to you? The methods are the same.
    But that's another story. My story is the drunk Johnson
    chewing out his Secret Service staff for locking his liquor
    cabinet up and giving the key to Lady Bird the only one

    who was tougher than Lyndon. She said he made her
    vomit with his spineless whining about what he'd done.
    No Lady MacBeth she, no siree. She never spent a drop
    of water washing her hands of everything, the killing

    the war, the whole wrenching of American history
    from out of its democratic orbit into the plutocracy
    it's become, full blown now after 50 years of the Hunt
    brothers, Clint Murchison and the likes of all them

    Texas good-ole-boys that stood to lose if JFK went
    through with cutting off the oil depletion allowance
    which meant millions, ultimately billions, to them
    in federal subsidies, paid for by taxpayers like you.

    All up and down the line from the 8F Club to J.
    Edgar Hoover to Allen Dulles to Cord Meter who
    hated JFK for having an affair with his wife, to crazy
    Bill Harvey to Georgie Owens who brought Jack

    Ruby to Clint and John Connally who enticed Jack
    Kennedy to Dallas on the day that changed America
    and made a fool out of old Joe Kennedy who thought
    he'd forced LBJ to play second fiddle to JFK.

    It was greed, sure, but guys like Johnson, Nixon,
    guys like you and me, we got two choices in life, we
    can either stand against the crooks and liars and
    likely end up dead before our time or we can make

    a deal, go work for them. They pay rather well.
    I got a million for myself and another million for
    a trust in my name to keep my mouth shut. Others
    are paid to keep their mouths moving, shilling for

    the shakers. You choose which way you're gonna
    go. You believe what you have to believe, understand?
    The ones that take a stand get nothing but a black
    a bullet in their head because it's easier that way.

    Ask Maslow and his pryamid of needs, What's the
    rock bottom? He will answer, Security. The rest is
    froth at the top. Pavlov and Maslow, sounds like a
    law firm, don't it? Pavlov to make you salivate on

    cue, Maslow to give you the reason why you live
    untethered from any sense of truth in a land where
    everything's a lie. No wonder so many go to drugs
    to go on living day to day. Wouldn't you?

  2. Pavlov and Maslow a law firm! Wonderful, Bill's reply to yours, Floyce. And your opening stanza, it all comes down to poultry production! Nice to see these two poems next each other.