Terms of Venery
Richard Wehrenberg

from HANDS


Somewhere there’s a road.
Some of us are going to find it.
You can come if you want.
        — Ross Gay


Witnessed, in what seemed to be an anthropologically
fabricated tableaux, a gaggle or other such noun for animal
assembly / venery, ie. flock, herd, swarm, pack (being the
most common), an unkindness (ravens), an ostentation
(peacocks), a pandemonium (parrots), and intuitively
felt like these particularly boisterous & attention seeking
creatures—drunk 18-24 year old white male humans—
should be termed a privilege, not, that is, a privilege
to be perceived, but rather, themselves privileged,
the scourge (mosquitoes) of them noses turned up sniffing,
smelling bacon and shouting BACON every few moments,
a stray one closer to the restaurant pointing at said restaurant
and shouting HERE, HERE, a mob (emus), a bellowing
(bullfinches), a destruction (feral cats).
Later, someone in a panda costume
does a repetitive dance in place across the street
from the homeless population’s main gathering place,
a congregation (alligators), attempting to coax people
to enter a building and exchange American currency
for which they exchanged labor in exchange for the corporeally
sustaining commodity called food, commonly shipped
from disparate corners of this planet, thanks in part to,
I am sure, a diluted and/or euphemized, if not total,
form of slave labor, of some sort or the other, the homeless,
who eat the tossed away, who certain local business owners
would very much like to excommunicate from the city,
are, despite popular belief, humans who also gather and
assemble, much like the rest of us, a memory (elephants),
a pride (lions), a covert (coots).
The city, whose very conditions produce
its very conditions, whose anger is genetic,
hand-me-downed, whose fear is woven inextricably
with the DNA, RNA, cerebrospinal fluid, blood, et al.
of its inhabitants, whose imagination is malnourished,
who is, ultimately, lonely, lonely, grasping for meaning,
tethered inexplicably to a hollowed & harrowing ideology /
economy, huddled in defense mode, deploying some of its last
protective apparatuses, ie. the police force, a murder (crows),
a gang (elk, turkeys), an army (frogs, ants, caterpillars),
now, on the homeless population’s main gathering place, who,
the homeless, must seem like simulations, I imagine, to most
persons, mere holograms, anachronisms, the police, who
are not, in a surprising turn of events, descending upon
the privilege of white males now entering the restaurant
where they will eat & sustain & generally get money,
status, security, ad infinitum, to control is to be controlled,
a business (ferrets, flies), a siege (herons), a mess (iguanas).