The Prose Poem

Richard Garcia


     Chickenhead makes me think of Jesus. Even though Jesus died on the cross for our sins and Chickenhead was just a hood who died hanging from a meat hook. First, take the Romans-Italian, right? In other words, gangsters. Take hanging from a cross and hanging from a meat hook. Both ways, you die slow.
     Chickenhead used to shoot the heads off chickens in his backyard when he was a kid. Jesus used to play with birds when he was a kid too. Except, instead of blowing them apart he would put them together.
     Chickenhead was a big shot on the block. In more ways than one, since he weighed three hundred pounds. When Chickenhead got in the back of his Cadillac it would tilt to one side. Jesus was big in his neighborhood too. But he was skinny. When Jesus would get on a donkey-maybe it was an old, decrepit, almost dead donkey-that donkey would trot along skimming over stones as if it had wings.
     Jesus made people mad. Chickenhead made people mad. Skimming a little off the top is O.K., it's expected. But after Chickenhead bought that second Cadillac and after what he did to that Gypsy girl in the back room of the cleaners with her dad forced to watch, he had to go.      The Romans had dice. We had dice. The Romans had a wooden cross. We had a meat hook. The Romans had spears and vinegar. We had a bucket of cold water and one of those electric cattle pokers.
     Chickenhead hung there. We'd give him a splash and an electric goose once in a while. His whole body would shimmer, all blubbery. Took Jesus three hours. Took Chickenhead three days.
     Jesus got famous. First guy to beat Death at his own game. Nobody remembers Chickenhead but me. And if some stranger, a cop maybe, asked, Did I know Chickenhead? I'd play it safe just like Saint Peter when he heard that cock crow, once, twice, three times, and I'd say, I never knew nobody named Chickenhead.