When Monkeys Learned to Write
it was such a novelty
everyone bought their books
which were mostly children’s stories
about bananas or climbing trees
but soon serious themes emerged
like capture in the jungle,
loss of freedom,
honest hunger to go home.
Trainers, worried about loss of income,
scolded, withheld food, hit,
silenced and ignored them
but there was no going back.
An ambitious chimp named Caravaggio
doing Internet research
shuddered with horror
then stunned the world with an editorial
about 1932 Detroit, when,
according to Steve Cummings’
California Progress Report 13 November 2008,
“the city shut down its zoo and slaughtered its animals
to provide food for a starving population.”
After that, Caravaggio, like India’s master weavers,
had his thumbs cut off
but he stared into space in his corner
like he knew something we didn’t.
Scott T. Starbuck's 90-page activist poetry book Industrial Oz is forthcoming from Fomite Press in Vermont. He was a 2014 Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the "Speak Truth to Power" Fellowship of Reconciliation Seabeck Conference, and a 2013 Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island. His "Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet" is at Split Rock Review < http://www.splitrockreview.org/news/2014/9/1/contributor-spotlight-scott-t-starbuck >.
Scott T. Starbuck