Feathering the nest

I saw a crow building a nest, I was watching him very carefully, I was kind of stalking him and he was aware of it. And you know what they do when they become aware of someone stalking them when they build a nest, which is a very vulnerable place to be? They build a decoy nest. It’s just for you.

~Tom Waits

I was remarking the other day to the other half that we are so like birds, but so unlike them. Birds make their nest to make a family, but then the young are booted out fairly soon after they are born, (depending on the species), to go live their amazing bird lives. Europeans also enjoy the life of birds. Most spend very little time in the homes they’ve built, as they are out enjoying the surrounding sunshine and trees.

People in the U.S., unless they are as rich as peacocks, stay trapped inside, feathering their nests even when there’s no need for it. They get fatter as they fly less, and more afraid of the unknown. Conversations are stilted, awkward, or a mockingbird’s mimicry. Life doesn’t flow, and the songs aren’t from the heart.

Life hasn’t flowed for me in a long time, but I’m finding my rivers again.

I recently finished feathering my nest; my former room for my parrots was converted to a writing room. It’s minimalist: walls the color of blue hydrangeas, two black chairs (one for reading and one for writing), and a black wooden desk. No art except for a ceramic bird (a nod to all the birds who used to live here), and a Frida Kahlo doll. Eventually there will be a small bed.

It’s peaceful, I love it. It’s just for me. However, I hope I spend very little time in it except when writing. Nature is waiting.

Morning

Morning has broken like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
Praise for the singing
Praise for the morning
Praise for them springing fresh from the world

~ Cat Stevens, “Morning Has Broken”

In the morning as light comes through the front window, it’s a piece of art, shaped like little orbs and welcoming a new day. It’s absolutely beautiful.

As I lie, drowsy, I stare up at the ceiling and hear the Bewick’s Wren outside, my new alarm clock. The California Towhee is the syncopation, dotting the wren’s metric.

It fills my heart. My chest expands, and I feel joy. I wish I could lie here forever, and then the crow calls to its family in the park, saying, “it’s time.”

The kitchen window; I see dots on the telephone lines, and I think they are finches. I’m not sure, as my eyes are going.

The dog is not ready. She climbs on to the couch where I’ve been sleeping, and lays her head on my pillow. It’s a perfect Sunday.

Let’s begin again.

 

 

 

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Return_To_Ether

“Ravens are the birds I’ll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.”

― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

We’re always left to ponder,
where do birds go when they die?
Do they disintegrate in the air,
or return to the ground?

I held my last bird in my hands.
Willie.
As the vet injected him, I was able to pet his head for the first time,
and last.
I told him to say hello to the other birds when he gets there,
but it’s not heaven. Heaven doesn’t exist.
Ether does.
And the souls of all the little birds surround us, in the air beyond the clouds.

We’re always left to ponder,
where do the Ravens go when they die?
Do they, as the saying goes,
become part of the dark sky?
Are they shrouded by the ebony wings of their unkindred,
and die in secret?

Pigeon, I see your feathers on the ground.
Maybe just two with no body, perfectly staged like a killer’s art.
What did you take…
or what was taken from you?

We’re always left to ponder, how does the hummingbird die?
Tiny, fragile, in the cup of a hand,
or drowning in the nectar of a foxglove.

The gull and the salad

A gull landed softly on the concrete as I arrived.
It stared at me intently, then flew a bit away.
I wondered what it wanted
so far from the bay.

Under my car was a salad
Packed tightly with dressing inside
I flipped it over
And I was no longer mystified

I’m hungry, gull said, and I know what you can do
Use your hands on the plastic
Then bid me adieu

I pried open the prize, and set the packets aside,
then set it gently on its makeshift table.
I locked my car, and headed to BART,
hoping to look up as soon as I was able.

I was grateful, you see, to be of service,
to the gull far from home, looking for breakfast.
As I got to the train, I looked up its way,
but could not see the gull
and its salad buffet.

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t see the sun from here

is an anxiety

over she wished she could dance with them,
the inside, without leaving the little room.
The mind is cruel, she thinks, and love,
a hard outcome in a forest too sinister to burn,
cast itself, and sing. The audience claps.

Her life, she concludes, is a waiting room.
“Push”, she says, “I need someone to push.”
She could say someone told her so
but friendship is irresponsible,
too many things to look forward to.

It is Friday, the time she decides best.
When boredom turns to anxiety and anxiety to smiles,
this is the reason for art.
“Disgust gives birth to freedom,” she mumbles,
“and comfort is treacherous.”
After all, she hums what she feels
and she can fool the rest.

So now she is glad.
she likes the thoughts the sun smell brings
when she wasn’t a victim.
She knows what trust isn’t.
The stone of a single stroke,
crying builds and destroys everything.

She sleeps this Friday, this justified sleep.
Tomorrow she will try again to be model,
but she can’t see the sun from here.