Dispatches and Declarations (Farm Edition)

Scott Thomas Outlar

Scott Thomas Outlar

Designed to speak in sanguine terms about sugarcoated, easily digestible arrangements of thought, organisms with the urge for osmosis, exponential spiral theorems, orbits, entanglements, algorithms signed with blood, echo chambers, howling sirens, contracts delivered by cold snap slashes, whistling winter wind, seasons churned and spun for trouble, elemental claims of throne, fortune cookies, crumbling castles, barn left open, milk spilt lately, all the hay’s strewn…

Oh, what a farm has arisen!

Two crows shriek and chase a hawk through the sky in an aerial mobbing, swooping from above to ward off sure danger as the targeted threat dodges and glides to friendlier spaces.

But what does it mean?

Some empty suit, con artist, used car salesman mumbles and stumbles around the finer points of mathematical equations while the highest paid gig of the white coat cult goes to the guy who routinely lies like a weasel to muzzle the masses.

But what does it mean?

The sleazy fraudsters that pilfer, pillage, and plunder the system rig the mechanics of their makeshift casino market to crush any upstarts and buy their own bailouts on the backs of the serfs to save their own skin when the shady rules they’ve concocted inevitably lead to ruin.

But what does it mean?

And the horses were born to gallop, and the cows were created to chew, and the sheep were designed to bah, and the turtles evolved to hide their eyes, and the rodents were spawned to scurry;

and some creatures love the light while others prefer to hunt in darkness;

but what of you with higher consciousness, who has been both blessed and cursed with a conscience? You must find your own routine with the cycle and choose carefully your craft to work at in this world.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. But you are not. Because you are a generation without shame. And so you lack modesty and are immoral. You have become decadent, and, in turn, weak. You have abandoned common sense and lost your anchor to reality.

The owl’s decoded abstractions spoke to me in hoots ‘n hollers through the night. Awakening a hermit’s hibernation after time spent with the pines and sparking the fool’s gold paranoia of winter climes.

But every animal on the farm has hopes and dreams that they cleave close to heart. And the geese honk, and the crickets chirp, and the hyenas squeal, while the lions tend to go straight for the guts. It’s a strange circus, all in all, sublime and bizarre, watched over by monkeys who can only shake their heads at all the funny business.

What this farm needs is a proper sermon for the roaring twenties. Something sacred to fit the special occasion. Or even a dark prophecy laced with mixed metaphors and allusions to the end of days. Always with plenty of hay! Strewn by the wind. Covering the dust. Swallowing the trough.

Or, perhaps, a line drawn straight down the middle, a bifurcation of binary options, a multiple-choice agenda, a clandestine adventure, parallel paths between culture and nature. A taste of the apple. A splicing of genes. A swarming of cells. Head for the hills.

And if I write with the blood of my ancestors, will not these pages be soaked with both their glory and their sins? For what lives on through us is a covenant of love and a cauldron of war. And not one fish from a river that has run dry will feed the flesh, but the ghosts in our hearts still echo loud with song. 

So look not toward tomorrow for answers that have yet to be received, and seek not in the past for those questions which have already been revealed, but live in this moment as it is, being both transient and everlasting. Let those who have passed on rest in the peace they earned, and let your children’s children be not burdened before their time, but carry your own weight gladly and know that all these days have their own reward.

But they will tempt you with their tongues, and their eyes, and their silver, and their lies, and their sugar, salt, and spices, and their promises, and their contracts, and their potions, and their prayers, and their spells, and their sighs, and their drugs, and their wine, and their bodies, and their hearts, and their alibis, and their stars, and their signs, and their fingertips that send electric shivers across your spine.

Horses and cows and swine. Oh my.

The doves awakened early and began performing a raucous concert this morning. A hymnal to the sun. A symphonic meditation welcoming subtle hints of spring. They sense the signs as well as we. Shrouded in layers of cloth and fur, I joined their ecstatic ceremony, praising all forms of warmth in this world. Humming a psalm to the fire in your heart. I swore to never blink again, and I wasn’t just whistling Dixie.

All the secrets laced in your language, the hidden treasures of your verse, the diamonds in your cut, the crafty movements of your verbs … will no longer be occulted after crows are finished pecking apart the veil to reveal spilled vials.

The script keeps getting screwier, the acts more askew, the strings pulled behind the scenes more unhinged. But that’s all fine and dandy because we still have honesty and integrity on our side, right? Isn’t that art’s inherent purpose, after all? To seek out and enshrine the highest order of truth? Consult your conscience with care before answering because we all know that poetry is prone to whispering little white lies. But regardless, how fortunate are we to live in these interesting times when such a theory is being tested under the most extraordinary pressures? Commence counting lucky stars. 

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