Wednesday, January 9, 2013

the sound of dominos

downtown, Lynchburg, VA

we stopped buying milk today

         & somewhere a farmer will slaughter his cow
         to put meat on the table (that's one less
         tit for the government to suck)

it's just, become too expensive

         & perhaps we'll find an alternative
         source of calcium or risk brittle bones
         the same way the farmer slaughters the cow
         not with brutality but a hand on it's side
         and a tear in the eye as he pulls back the hammer

sacrificing tomorrow for today

         that's what got us here in the first place,
         isn't it? and what is next? Fred Flintstone's
         already been laid off, replaced by a wrestler,
         on the box of Fruity Pebbles,

         how many cereal factory workers
         will be right behind him
         when you have to work an hour
         just to buy milk for breakfast,
         another for the gas to go get it
         & this is just the beginning
      
         what is left, when

i have no more cows to slaughter.

written for poetry jam and i probably go a little further afield than where peggy thought it would go with the things we are leaving behind in the new year, but...

90 comments:

Mary said...

One

Wolfsrosebud said...

my folks lived through the depression... believe me it could get much worse... nice capture

Mary said...

This is a very current poem, Brian. I was talking to the manager of the dairy department at the grocery store I shop at; and he said it was predicted that the price of milk would double! Truly, who can afford that.... And just last Saturday a local milk processor closed its doors unexpectedly, unannounced; and all the workers were suddenly without a job. And THIS is the 'dairy state.' What next!!

barbara said...

Avoiding the fact that Fred should have been ashamed of himself for associating with sugar-flavored air masquerading as food, you've captured the mess we're in pretty darn well. Wiyh the drought so many couldn't feed their cows they had to be slaughtered for beef that it actually lowered the price of meat. Now, rebound on top of loss of subsidies. Well, kale is high in calcium. Doesn't taste all that good with wheat chex, though.

Daniel said...

It's news when it happens to other nameless, faceless folks on the news. A different thing all together when it hits closer.

G-Man said...

My daughter drinks almond milk.
And on cereal it's great.
Milk in Michigan is 2.49 at Kroger!

JANU said...

Wonderful capture of the inflation...here the milk costs almost a dollar and that's just the beginning.

Brian Miller said...

its almost $5 here...and our dairy guy said look for it to be $8-9...

DJan said...

This poem is very timely, Brian. Everyone is worried about inflation costs for the elderly (that would be me), and the measly 1.7 percent increase we got doesn't even cover the increase in health care costs I must pay. I feel really bad for people who are counting every last penny. Soy and almond milk are both really tasty on cereal, BTW.

Grace said...

First, the title is fitting, like an omen ~

Second, to tackle milk, which is the base consumption of ordinary folks, is to hit the nerve about prices and consumption. That last statement - cows to slaughter is a powerful image - and leaves me to ponder on the future ~

SueAnn Lommler said...

Soy Milk with vanilla is perfect sub!!
Poem definitely talks of today and points towards a shaky horizon!!
Hugs
SueAnn

ayala said...

Great capture of a sad and trying times for our country.

izzy said...

Truly a clean and pure take on the flow of things.
Well, I used to raise goats for my own milk- don't think I can go back there!

Slamdunk said...

Everything has consequences indeed.

But as for G-Man, I can't remember when milk was that cheap. Definitely paying more in the not-so-sunny NE.

Jenny said...

$5 a gallon !! I feel for people with families and a minimum salary [ or even just one paycheck]. You sure wrote on a subject for the times we are in..

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Very timely post indeed Brian. I loved this line: "sacrificing tomorrow for today"

Mama Zen said...

Outstanding.

Bonnie said...

The even bigger scam is that industry and government have convinced humans that they should drink the milk of another species. Why are so many people lactose intolerant? Because humans were not meant to put their lips to the teat of a cow! Dark, green leafy vegetables supply tons of calcium.

Save your money and don't feel deprived!

Congrats on 1200 Brian!!!

Helen said...

You took the prompt and knocked us over the heads with this 'smart' response!

Bossy Betty said...

A snapshot of the little/big decisions some are forced to make on a daily basis.

Pat Hatt said...

Wow that was great
A fav at your gate
Laughed a bit as I went through
As it is so true
But also to me dairy
Is just plain scary
Better off without milk anyway
You don't need it like those idiots try and make you believe you do at your bay
But that is a whole other rant
And a whole new slant

Old Ollie said...

nice one - good and gritty

Mrsupole said...

Hi Brian,

I think we are over 6 dollars here in CA in some places due to some state laws that we have. Hey we have over 800 new laws this year and no one seems to know what they are. Someone said on the news that we are all probably breaking a law depending upon where we live in CA as to which one.

And they said that the reason milk is going to cost so much is from some law written back in the 1940's. Go figure! We have a government out of control as I just wrote about. Increase our taxes when they say they wouldn't, health insurance costs going up when they said it wouldn't and they want to tax us some more. I know people who are barely making it and can only buy the bare necessities. We never eat at a restaurant any more, and forget anything else. We just bought almond milk and it is expensive too. 100 dollars gets you a few bags of groceries instead of a cart full. I've heard soda is good with some cereals. You are right our governments are out of control. But they voted themselves a raise. We need to fire them all!

Hope you are feeling better, they said on the news last night that this is going to be a bad one, duh, I could have told them that. Just cannot shake what I have.

God bless.

kaykuala said...

Milk is all encompassing staple for many households. I wonder if there's any substitutes. Can't think except for goat's milk which is already more expensive. May have to look further afield for 'artificial cows'. Thought provoking! Nicely Brian!

Hank

Suz said...

all I can say is the people keep voting the same problem solvers into office
maybe if it hurts..people will take a look at what is going on in government....

Mark said...

I was actually kinda sad to learn that Fred Flinstone had been replaced. This is a very thought provoking piece, and really I'm not sure how to react to it.

Buddah Moskowitz said...

It's so hard for me to write about political/topical issues without getting strident and didactic. This was done beautifully, with empathy and skill. Job well done, bro.

happygirl said...

We will need a wheel-barrel full of money to buy a loaf of bread. I didn't know that thing about Fred. I'm sorry for him.

Asobime said...

This is so touching and true, Brian. The country is suffering, and those bastards, those fat cat bastards in DC...They move me to violence.

As for milk? Breast milk for babies and greens (especially dandelion greens...) for the rest of us for calcium. We all have bought into the great milk myth. I love it, but now I know.

Strong poem, as I have always come to expect from you, friend. ON topic and it packs a punch.

Lady Nyo

Eva Gallant said...

And who knows what's next...

Myrna R. said...

I use almond and soy milk. Nice alternatives. But it's harder to find an alternative country. I love your political voice.

Claudia said...

sacrificing tomorrow for today.. that's like the people in africa that have to eat their seeds instead of sowing them cause otherwise they may not make it to the next year...over here we have dumping prices on milk which causes many farmers to give up...in switzerland the milk prices are high because politicians put subventions on them to suport the farmers which i think is smart

Tabor said...

Sacrifices. But we are still more wealthy than those in other nations. Some have to give up whole meals each day. Not being unsympathetic but thinking and hoping it will be better. There are substitutes for calcium, but probably not as good.

Peggy said...

What a sad poem Brian. I think the cow made me saddest of all. The poem worked well in getting me to think about the issue -- so it was very successful! Blessings to you in the new year--milk or no.

The Retired One said...

I hear you Brian! Gas prices last year about killed me...thank goodness they are going down for a bit, but I am sure they will climb right back up before long.

Grandmother said...

Dark green leafy vegetables have lots of calcium from growing bodies. When I was young (and poor) we drank powered milk. We called it blue milk and when we asked my father why he said it was better for us (no fat). We believed him. Here in the islands and in Italy, we use boxed milk - has a long life and is cheaper. We also use less milk because there are vegetables that provide the nutrients. I've not had meat in 20 years and I'm healthy and happy. We grow lots on a fairly small balcony as well. Time to make more radical steps?

Kim Nelson said...

Sacrifice one for the other. This recurrent thread in the fabric of human existence always rends those living at the time.

Anne said...

Very well said Brian. You do capture the times we live in with your words. For the past year, all of Europe has been discussing whether or not to "cut Greece loose" as the economy is so bad there. They are seen as a drain on the other countries in the EU. I am appalled by that kind of talk as all of Western Civilization owes it's heritage to that country. This poem, and the "sacrificial cow" made me think of those people in Greece.

Green Speck said...

Sacrificing tomorrow for today ... that's the root ... well said !!!

Mametz said...

Very good and very unique. Fred Flinstone just excellent.

Annmarie Pipa said...

yep...we saw this coming with the past election. our faith is always our best asset.

Tara Miller said...

Ugh. Reading this puts a lump in my throat.

rumoursofrhyme said...

Sacrificing tomorrow for today - that's what this whole mess is about. But it's not just our tomorrow's - it's our kids, and their kids and, at the rate we're going, their kids too.

BTW - your milk prices are low compared to ours, but our farmers aren't getting the money - it all goes to the middlemen.

ND Mitchell said...

Definitely one that's rooted in the times we live. Nothing sugar-coated about this one-just the plain truth. Nicely written. Hopefully not prophetic...

Victoria said...

Wow, Brian. One less tit for the government to milk. This is one bold, well-written poem, my friend.

Teri M said...

There are lots of foods that have plenty more calcium than milk. Get some of those and you'll be good. :-)

Cloudia said...

yeah! No more slaughter. . . .


Aloha from Honolulu,
Comfort Spiral
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^.^ said...

... I know about calving and culling and all that ... done it for 20 some years now ... many tears about my animals ... many cries right there in the corrals about my babies and mamas ... believe you me ... I think our vet will have me committed one of these days ... but he still smiles at me when we meet at the store and the post office ... in a very mysterious way though ... come to think of it ...

Robyn Greenhouse said...

Just watched the movie Vegucated so you are actually saving, helping the environment and may just be doing your body a favor! There are lots of other foods that will provide calcium!

Alice Audrey said...

Fred wasn't laid off, he was retired. Seriously, he's been at it since the stone age. :)

repressedsoul said...

Seems everyone feels the pinch of the double dip lottery. I'd rather hunt dragons than crows ;) Great romp Brian x

Gloria said...

This poem show so well al these problems about inflation, that I hate of goberment (here) they speak and TV and said we are so good ad all is OK:(

Tammy Theriault said...

its the circle of life baby!! im sorry, i stared at the car for awhile, i'm a classic car fan...

my heart's love songs said...

i was just thinking that $5 for a loaf of not-that-good bread is ridiculous... no, it's outlandish! and it doesn't save much, if any, to make it oneself. soon to be $6 for a gallon of milk, which we can't make ourselves. the cost of groceries has almost doubled in the past 18 months (or less) whether the government will admit it or not! and i fear this is just the beginning.

great write, Brian, though frightening and sad in the reality!

Audrey Howitt aka Divalounger said...

You know, you have to wonder--I hear that milk subsidies may end--8 dollars for milk-wow--you made me pause today and grieve a bit for where we are going

Reglandus White said...

A very thoughtful read for me Brian....I like.

Okie said...

great post. thoughtful and insightful. We were driving around yesterday and noticed that the price of gas had dropped yet again. We talked with the fam about our budgets and tightening the belts and the way things ripple throughout society. Everything has a connection somewhere. I'm interested to see how wide the ripples go in this economic pond.

Secret Agent Woman said...

In truth, neither dairy cows nor beef cows are an efficient use of the world's resources when it comes to feeding a large population. But, even without, it still is getting unnerving.

Rachel said...

great insights here, friend.

Laurie Kolp said...

I love milk... it's a sad, sad shame all that's going on... and the domino effect is felt.

Ravenblack said...

It does feel like the world is demanding more out of people just to live basically. Everything just gets more expensive, piling on each and marking everything upwards...

missing moments said...

Brian, this is so poignant.
By the way, we drink Almond milk. Love it!

RMP said...

very thought provoking! "sacrificing tomorrow for today." the tear was quite touching and sad.

kj said...

jeez brian, first walking man and now this. reason to despair. so in my denial i counter with big deals :^)

i honestly hope things do not get worse. only when i watch these gun advocate folks do i think they well might. but i hope not.

love
kj

farawayinthesunshine said...

Always having to tighten the belt a notch further...Sad to have to sacrifice tomorrow for today :(

adeeyoyo said...

Wow,Brian, we are pricing ourselves right out of the world, never mind the market!

Lorraine said...

I'm with you a 100% oh wait by today's economy I'm probably with you 17.2% arrrghghhgh

Kelvin S.M. said...

....sacrificing tomorrow for today... how deeply perceptive Brian... strongly addressed and apt to the current day environment... you can hit anyone with your cleverness Brian.. smiles...

hedgewitch said...

I remember how outraged my grandmother was when milk went up to a dollar a gallon. How will people live? she asked. I suppose you answer that question here. Still, I'd give up a lot of other things first.

Valerie said...

I know it's no consolation, but it's the same here. Our farmers (and others) are struggling to compete with supermarket practices. They can't compete against the big boys who insist on importing milk ... forgetting (!!) that we have sources of our own. As for world recession, well... it's already been said.

Karen said...

...makes me think of how far we've moved from the land that used to sustain us. There was a time when people were self-sufficient...self-contained. Gas for cars, milk off the shelves...and now none can afford..

Well, this is depressing (no pun intended).

ladyfi said...

A chilling write! And brilliant.

manicddaily said...

A lot of this is the House - not yours, but as in Representatives. (And a certain blame to GOP - in this case I think that they added a huge food stamp cut to the farm bill that the Senate passed - it was not a related issue exactly but anything to cut food for the poor.)

It is crazy.

On the good hand, maybe more veganism not terrible! I don't know. I'm laughing but don't mean it. I used to be macrobiotic and am veg and didn't have dairy for years but now have a fair amount.

See how thought-provoking poem is - for me anyway. The only thing I don't think all this arises from truly cutting the debt - they built a big debt up over these wars, but to some extent cutting things that supports jobs or lower milk prices or food stamps because of the debt is a bit of an excuse. I don't personally think the debt is causing these current problems because interest is at such an all-time low. Yes, they have to do something about it before interest rates rise, but the debt is not what is the current drag on the economy in my mind. They say that to confuse people I think--and all the austerity certainly hasn't been working in Europe. I do think greed and speculation had a lot to do with the problems--and that there really do have to be big investments in infrastructure and training etc - long problem - I don't think they are solving very well because of too many mixed agendas. Sorry to rant! k.

Sheila said...

nicely done - I can really relate to this style of writing. Economics is a sad state these days. Personally, we switched to almond milk last month and I love it (better for my migraines, not sure about the pocket book since hubby does the grocery shopping.)

Sue said...

We went through a time when I was young that we could afford only powdered milk. We did get used to it, over time.

Just ridiculous how much milk costs.

"/

Loredana Donovan said...

Yes, prices are high for everything from milk to gas and everyday necessities. I sure hope the economy gets better for farmers and everyone else this year. Your poem is sad but speaks the truth boldly. Something is wrong the way this country is being run and this is a wake-up call. Poignant.

artbyrae said...

I always write mine before I read any of the others.

This time we said the same thing...different words but the same thing

Joanna Jenkins said...

What!!?? $5.00 a GALLON. That's insane. I am so sorry. I don't think it's hit CA yet but our gas prices are raising rapidly (again).

Sheesh. jj

SaraV said...

Brian, it's all good. Milk is made for baby cows, not humans. Think about it, they have to keep a dairy cow continually pregnant her whole life so we can drink milk. Not something we think of because the dairy council has convinced us that we NEED to drink it. Almond milk is great, low fat, protein and just as much calcium as milk. There's lots of calcium in food--dark green leafy veggies, soy, almonds :-) Okay, I'm getting off my soapbox now...Excellent poem, so much going on American Express just laid off 5400 people-yikes!

Roslyn Ross said...

Ah yes, solid and succinct.

Raven said...

Brian, I do not believe that there is one person whom I know that could not relate to this poem. You have really done well with it. You evoke tremendous feeling, nearly tears. Then I read Mary's comments and the tears did come ... sort of a compounding of the problems all are experiencing. I surely have been counting my blessings. I am comfortable and don't like it when the milk goes up (like everything else) but like a person up above said, I use almond milk on my cereal. Now driving, that is a different story. I used to fill my tank once a week. Now I do so once a month. I think the thing that is really frightening me the most is (as Mary mentioned above) this drought. Our drinking water comes from the Mississippi - and here it is at its lowest ebb in years. Right now barge traffic will halt within a month - this will affect billions of dollars of traffic etc. I am afraid of it drying up all together - no drinking water. Well, you know with what we are doing to this earth and the climate changes - I do not know.

Thanks for coming by Brian. Winter is always illness time, but it isn't too bad. I am in the midst of creating a goal for myself in terms of writing. Not quite there yet. Be well, keep those kids well.

Julie Maloney said...

I grew up on a slaughter farm, I still can't eat meat and I actually don't drink milk either.

jasmine calyx said...

This is great, Brian.

I especially love the first line sitting up there on its own, and then the following stanza. ("Its" doesn't need an apostrophe when showing possession, by the way.)

I also love your ending. Great formatting.

Dana Dampier said...

It's a sad day for sure when milk is too expensive to buy.

Goofball said...

the economic crisis is frightening...and our economic model is not sustainable

CiCi said...

Powdered milk was what I used when my kids were young. It seems costly when you buy a large box of it but it makes a lot of milk and there is no waste.

mywordwall said...

Your poem brought mist to my eyes. True, sad, wistful.... and so beautifully written.

Who Is Afraid Of Miss Lovett? No, Mrs.Lovett... said...

Hi! Brian...
"the sound of dominos..."
and the [after] effects!
Thanks, for sharing the image Of...downtown, Lynchburg, VA
deedee :-/

Syd said...

I drink almond milk. I've heard that it's better for me and that a lot of dairy products now are among the toxic seven foods. I don't know....my teeth and bones are excellent and I drank a lot of milk as a kid, but then that was a different time, right?

Mary Ann Potter said...

Powerful, Brian. There's plenty to think about here. A thoughtful response to the prompt.