Why I became a Vegan (Inspired by my new friend Despina from Sydney)

Before I went to school
I helped my father
look after my animal friends, for he
wanted me to follow in his
footsteps to be the man
he’d always hoped I’d be
the breadwinner, the one who kills
the animals
looks after them but when the time comes
he
Is strong enough to kill them
and to gut them, and to skin them
or to pluck them for his tea

I foraged for the best food
which was wild food
I kept them clean
and watered them each day
returned their love
by sharing with them
playful times
and to kill them when
my father named the day
I was 5 or 6 I believe
and in the beginning
I loved the Rabbits and the Chickens too
the last thing that I wanted
ever, honest truth, was to break
their necks,it was not
the thing to do

My parents were not rich
not like so many
we didn’t go out much
and had no TV
even when I went to school
my father was still pretty poor
so we had chickens and it just had to be
I think that seed of life
began from those early days
I use to sit and hold the Rabbits, and
could understand their ways
Yes every one of them
had a different character
every one responded
in my hand

some were very affectionate
some were quite aloof
but all of them were my
friends anyway
and to imagine that I could
be their executioner
that I could snuff them out
when my dad said
that I could look into the eyes
of “Bertie” or of snuffles
and cuff them really hard
till they were dead

then take his knife and gut and skin them
whilst still warm
to me it smacked too hellish
to be right
I told my dad I wouldn’t
kill my little friends
nor eat them
either, and I do remember the day
we had that fight
But Dad called me a “poofta”
“just a girlie”
“I never thought you had it
in yer lad”
You treat those bloody chickens
far too gentle
kick the buggers show them
that your mad

no good telling me the cocks
have pecked you
showing me your bruised arms
not at all
kick the buggers then they’ll
soon know whose the boss
you my son have broken
every rule
How’d you think your mum
and me can feed you
we have to eat our own stuff
and that’s why
I grows the spuds and beans and peas
and lettuces
and why these pesky
creatures have to die

He stood there and killed “Bertie”
I watched my baby die
he didn’t even struggle
in one blink of his eye
his body limp and lifeless
his guts spread on the ground
for years I could’t face my dad
or want to be around
And I grew apart from him
I think
and it all started that day
When I realised that me and him
were not the same okay

I never killed an animal
I kept “Berti” in my heart
he was such a lovely friend
and when we had to part
and he was in the evening stew
and his fur was in the shed
I couldn’t eat one piece
of him
and for that I was sent
to bed

I dreamed about him on and off
and still you know sometimes
I think of dear old Bertie
of our games and lovely times
and really from that moment
I decided I would not
eat the food mum gave me
the meat part, and she got
the message slowly giving me less
and less
she gave me far more vegetables
and that lessened the stress

But she loved fat and
dripping
butter and sweet milk
she loved that Nestle
condensed stuff
and Fussel’s,of that ilk
she also loved Carnation on canned fruit
she would buy
But I never ever touched the stuff
and eggs I didn’t try
all those years of keeping chickens
picking up their eggs
most of them had shit on them
or blood,they were the dregs
I could never bear the smell
it reminded me too much
of the chickens and the rabbits
that lived in our old hutch

I must have been about 10
when I realised that I
wasn’t getting pocket
money
and so asked my dad why
if your a man go out and get a job
he said to me
deliver milk or papers
get a job and be
thankful that your mother
washes your clothes and tries
to look after you
despite your girlie attitude
surprise!

Surprise! I went and did just that
Delivering milk with Steve
He was an inspector
and with him I did achieve
He tried to make me eat the stuff
fruit yoghurts oh! the smell
the milk came from cows udders
not me Steve thanks I’ll sell
and you can earn commission
but I don’t want to eat
milk that comes from moo cows bums
for me it is no treat

and besides cows milks for baby cows
and if I drink the stuff
it isn’t rocket science to know
that the cow, won’t have enough
Some of the places we delivered to
were farm houses and they
kept cows but not for milking
and I saw calves thrown away
just lying near the doorstep
and was told that’s what they do
kill the runts stamp on their heads
and I remembered Bertie who
also had to die so we could
eat him but this soul
was murdered and was thrown away
there just seemed no control

Then someone made me drink some
milk out somewhere at some fair
and I collapsed in agony
my mother got a scare
rushed off to the hospital
and had tests day and night
I was on the danger list
in Men’s surgical
al’right
Peritonitis I believe
and another complication
I still have the scar to prove it
and a determination
that I would never ever drink
milk or dairy food
all through school it was orange juice
and my school meals
never stewed
in milk or eggs
my allergies set me apart from those
other kids who had silver top
and that’s the way it goes

So very little meat
no milk no eggs for me
I still ate fish
and sometimes bought some
for us all for tea
but then one day
I happened
to be outside the fish
shop and
Tom asked me to go inside
it seems that he had planned
he offered me a job there
and soon or later I
couldn’t eat fish either
though I will not tell you why

All I will say is that those
people who work with living souls
get really rather heartless
and do lose their controls
blood and guts are everywhere
and the smells just made me sick
Later I worked in a Butchers shop
I never missed a trick
I learned back slang
I made sausages
and some more
dressed Boar’s heads
made dripping in the copper
and burgers for the poor

burgers for the fair grounds
for the circus when it came
and again I saw the animals
and again it was the same
the animals in the circus
were awful
their bodies clearly injured
many whacked
I remember my dad telling
me to show the chickens who was boss
I remember it and how
I did react
Animals were getting such a bad deal
from humans I remember how I felt
the bakers horse was whipped
for walking far too slow
and at night sometimes
I remember that I knelt

and prayed that animals could
have a better deal
but gradually I realised
that things
were much worse than I ever dreamed
were possible
and I would have to grow
myself some wings
and fly off far away
to some place safer
where animals were not killed
for their meat
where calves were not killed so
that we could steal their milk
there had to be a place
which I called “Dream Street”

of course I never found the place
the place never existed
but 40 years ago I sort of just
enlisted
I became a vegan, I’d been one for a while
But it was now official
I could now reconcile
how I felt with what I ate
the planet seemed to me
to be reeling from the humans
yes I know,and me
I had to make my footprint small
had to really try
and think about the animals
and why they had to die
I visited a slaughterhouse
A factory Farm and more
A Broiler House O God I thought
Hell on earth for sure
the smell of piss was awful
the bodies strewn about
the chickens they were cannibals
to me so little doubt
that all those sheds
were turning out
industrialization, stank
it had nothing to do with
ethics’just what went in the bank
the animals were nothing
they were hardly fed all day
many had no water
and no sunlight, and did pay
a lot for sad sick humans
who raised them just to kill
them their short lies were terrible
I had had about my fill
I began to write about it all
poems night and day
and ever since that moment
it has been the way
forward and more vegans
have come onto the scene
but clearly now the corporates
have cleaned up and have been
selling meat and dairy
pushing it like mad
making all their fortunes
from the animals so sad
from the fur trade
from the seal trade
from the hunters and I know
that many humans suffer
now from shock and awe and woe
heart disease and cancers
its every where today
even children get it
they are made to pay
for the errors of their parents
and its happening more and more
a holocaust of horror
of blood of snot and gore

One comment on “Why I became a Vegan (Inspired by my new friend Despina from Sydney)

  1. lone wolf on said:

    That’s just fantastic Rex, not so far from what I’ve experienced …Thank you

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