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how absurd, to swallow a bird
22 December 2011 @ 05:55 pm
Trying to protect his students' innocence
he told them the Ice Age was really just
the Chilly Age, a period of a million years
when everyone had to wear sweaters.

And the Stone Age became the Gravel Age,
named after the long driveways of time.

The Spanish Inquisition was nothing more
than an outbreak of questions such as
"How far is it from here to Madrid?"
"What do you call the matador's hat"

The War of the Roses took place in a garden,
and the Enola Gay dropped one tiny atom on Japan.

The children would leave his classroom
for the playground to torment the weak
and the smart,
mussing up their hair and breaking their glasses,

while he gathered up his notes and walked home
past flower beds and white picket fences,
wondering if they would believe that soldiers
in the Boer war told long, rambling stories
designed to make the enemy nod off.
 
 
how absurd, to swallow a bird
06 October 2011 @ 12:32 pm
If you were exchanged in the cradle and
your real mother died
without ever telling the story
then no one knows your name,
and somewhere in the world
your father is lost and needs you
but you are far away.

He can never find
how true you are, how ready.
When the great wind comes
and the robberies of the rain
you stand on the corner shivering.
The people who go by--
you wonder at their calm.

They miss the whisper that runs
any day in your mind,
"Who are you really, wanderer?"--
and the answer you have to give
no matter how dark and cold
the world around you is:
"Maybe I'm a king."
     rip steve jobs (1955-2011)     
 
 
how absurd, to swallow a bird
29 September 2011 @ 05:34 pm
Sometimes you have to swallow. I love you
might otherwise escape your lust-dumb lips.
By dumb I mean here dim-witted, not mute, 
though I have learned the Helen Keller trick
to see no, hear no, speak no thing like truth. 
How could this big dumb guy I'm sitting with
have made me come so hard I damn near swooned?
And now he's watching baseball as if it's
a new religion. Jesus Christ. Who knew
that goddamned oxytocin spike I get
could trick me into thinking amour fou.
It's bitter, but I just dry-swallow it
like aspirin, or confession. I get used
to walking out, my ass and soul both bruised. 

 
 
how absurd, to swallow a bird
09 September 2011 @ 09:51 pm
Everyone forgets that Icarus also flew. 
It's the same when love comes to an end,
or the marriage fails and people say
they knew it was a mistake, that everybody
said it would never work. That she was
old enough to know better. But anything
worth doing is worth doing badly.
Like being there by that summer ocean
on the other side of the island while
love was fading out of her, the stars
burning so extravagantly those nights that
anyone could tell you they would never last. 
Every morning she was asleep in my bed
like a visitation, the gentleness in her
like antelope standing in the dawn mist. 
Each afternoon I watched her coming back
through the hot stony field after swimming,
the sea light behind her and the huge sky
on the other side of that. Listened to her
while we ate lunch. How can they say
the marriage failed? Like the people who
came back from Provence (when it was Provence)
and said it was pretty but the food was greasy.
I believe Icarus was not failing as he fell,
but just coming to the end of his triumph.  
 
 
how absurd, to swallow a bird
03 September 2011 @ 08:53 pm
The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream 
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky. 

But a bird that stalks
down his narrow cage
can seldom see through
his bars of rage
his wings are clipped and 
his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 

The free bird thinks of another breeze
and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees
and the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright lawn
and he names the sky his own. 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams
his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
his wings are clipped and his feet are tied
so he opens his throat to sing

The caged bird sings
with fearful trill
of the things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom. 


 
 
 
how absurd, to swallow a bird
01 September 2011 @ 07:00 pm
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him, 
I say, stay in there, I'm not going
to let anybody see
you. 
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he's
in there. 

there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the
works?
you want to blow my book sales in
Europe?
there's a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I'm too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody's asleep.
I say, I know that you're there, 
so don't be
sad. 
then I put him back,
but he's singing a little
in there, I haven't quite let him
die
and we sleep together like
that
with our
secret pact
and it's nice enough to
make a man
weep, but i don't
weep, do
you?

 
 
how absurd, to swallow a bird
27 August 2011 @ 12:20 am
1. Decide you must. 

2. Develop deep respect
    for feather, bone, claw. 

3. Place your trembling thumb
    where the heart will be:
    for one hundred hours watch
    so you will know
    where to put the first feather.

4. Stay awake forever. 
    When the bird takes shape
    gently pry open its beak
    and whisper into it: mouse

5. Let it go.