The Sunday Poem: Jules Nyquist... Hypnotizing Chickens


In a poem full of startling images, a quiet line in this poem captures the story of so many of us.  We may wonder about who is really being hypnotized here, but "He missed the war that was meant for him." just leaps from the page.  Welcome, Jules, to the Land of Enchantment.  She dedicates this poem to her father.


I am a native Minnesotan, born in St. Paul, MN and I moved to Albuquerque from Minneapolis, MN on March 20, 2011, the first day of spring!  I am working a new chapbook, "From the Mississippi to the Rio Grande," but until that is done, my most recent chapbook is "Appetites: poems on food, drink and sex" which is available for $5 from me. I am attending the East of Edith open mics on Monday nights and look forward to being more involved in the New Mexico literary community.



Hypnotizing  Chickens          

The boy in the backyard is hypnotizing chickens. The pullets watch his fingers
    sweep across their beaks,
he catches the movement of their eyes and the young hens are gone,
 to fall over.
The farmhouse television plays a movie where a scorpion-shaped monster feeds on fear.
        It starts out microscopic,
grows as the woman scares herself to die of fright. A doctor cuts open
 her chest cavity
at the autopsy and grabs a two-foot long creature that is alive. It will bite the next one
who touches it.
It’s put gingerly in a metal box but won’t be there for long.

The boy bought the big console of waves and sound with his own money,
    a permanent contraption
on  120 acres. His father, apprehensive at first, now retreats to the living room at night
 to escape the stars.
How do you get chickens out of trees? 80,000 birds are hatching at the brooder house in town.
Tonight the boy
only has to worry about getting the few dozen hens back into the farmhouse coup. 
They are flying upward,
startled by an unknown something, and they look down at the boy from the trees,
clucking and settling. 
The boy knows what to do. He shines his flashlight at them, circling the light around
to catch their gaze. 
Their heads follow, moving back and forth with the beam until they are dizzy
and fall to the ground.
He picks them up, sets the light timer to go on at six am and off at midnight, an artificial day
to lay more eggs.  
The neighbors talk of UFO’s and strange lights in the darkness but the boy doesn’t believe them.
They are only holograms,
projected to cause panic, light beams from a hidden comic-book dynasty in power, creating
    another monster.

Next year the draft calls the boy and he waits for the Army bus to come by the dirt road,
but it never shows.
He misses the war that was meant for him, walks home to help his father, who will rent out another 80.  Soon the farm will be sold, and the house
will be moved to town, where it is rented to strangers. The boy will work road construction in the summer,
the chicken hatchery in winter.  Years later, in the big city, with the same black and white TV moved to the basement
of his home, sitting with his wife and family,
politicians yak about war.



--Jules Nyquist




Poetry submissions are welcome.  Email


Views: 290

Comment by Yasmeen Najmi on August 21, 2011 at 10:47am
Beautiful, colorful and poignant, Jules!  Hypnotized by TV and war, the monster is eating us heartland out.
Comment by Julie Brokken on August 21, 2011 at 5:03pm
Jules!  This is priceless, precious, and poignant!  Great story... my dad was a farmer who loved to tell stories... rich soil for poetry!  Julie
Comment by Dee Cohen on August 22, 2011 at 5:46am
Welcome to ABQ, Jules. I love the yarn-spinning style of this poem. Many messages regarding our own self hypnosis too- escaping from the stars.Thanks, Dee
Comment by Margaret Randall on August 22, 2011 at 3:42pm
The boy in this poem is Everyman for these times. Good story. Welcome to Albuquerque, Jules!


You need to be a member of Duke City Fix to add comments!

Join Duke City Fix

Connect with Us!

Featured Events in Albuquerque

Big Changes to the Fix!

We're making changes to the Fix! Check in with us for local news stories, events, photos, all the usual DCF stuff, on Facebook and Instagram starting September 1st. Find out more!

© 2017   Created by Duke City Fix.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service