Herbert Spencer Theory
Just when I thought this would be
Washing & drying white clothes,
The unusual made an intrusion on my life.
Upon leaving the coin-op launderette
Right next door
To the liquor store
[ Same Yemeni owners ] I made my way crossing
MacArthur Boulevard, eyes toward home.
My neighbour’s dented silver van
Was parked halfway
In a driveway,
Rear half in the street,
With its driver,
My anti-poverty activist,
Neighbour, in wide-eyed excitement,
Summoning me closer to see the unusual:
Brown hawk and grey pigeon—
Struggled in the dust,
Pinned down the other.
Of unknown breed,
Unlike the red tails
Seen in my part
Of Northern Cali, overpowered
City scavenger bird,
Squirmed in talons’ vice-like grip.
In pigeon prey.
Flew away to the north of us,
Lifted and carried
Its dying prize.
Animal scenes that look so unusual to humans
Are all too common in the wild.
Is a big believer
In the West African
Ifa faith and she
Insisted what we saw
Was a message
A sign of something ominous to come.
Was it a message?
Was it a sign?
I don’t take stock in
What happened to that poor pigeon
Was Herbert Spencer Theory
Survival of the fittest, as in:
“Only the strong will survive
This dangerous world.
The weaker won’t.”
*Trickster god of the Ifa faith. A protective,
benevolent spirit who serves the chief god Ifa, as a
messenger between Heaven & Earth. Epitomises order.
Also called Elegba.
Dee Allen is an African-Italian performance poet based in Oakland, California. Active on creative writing & the Spoken Word scene since the early 1990s. Author of 5 books [ Boneyard, Unwritten Law, Stormwater and Skeletal Black, all from POOR Press, and from Conviction 2 Change Publishing, Elohi Unitsi ] and 40 anthology appearances under his figurative belt so far.
© Variant Literature Inc 2021