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And the bird

                1.
He sees Mom push the empty stroller
Dad, in front, carries their little daughter
on his shoulders, a big smile on the little girl’s face,
and as she leans her arms encircle his neck
Why wasn’t it always just like this?

Why should anyone give a shit
about what you say?
Their bodies are so much hotter than yours
and their psyches are nowhere near
as beaten and sadly damaged

She was strident, old, witty, funny, gaudy, unhappy
She thought she could make us laugh forever—
that it would go on forever
No dope, she knew that it wouldn’t, couldn’t
but thought, really thought, that it would

Once at the top of the game,
each time he goes out there
he concedes a new, odd, diminishment
that he cleverly must compensate for
It’s not at all like perfection like it was before…

With the idiots in control,
we grow indifferent to public affairs
It’s extraordinary that he can still get so far
against the lesser likes of dumber pros but
the best no longer play their best to beat him

 

                2.
Notoriety requires power, elements of compulsion,
resources, a certain indifference to sentiment,
a stridency, indifference to hurt vanities, feelings
and, of course, the best of health
Openness and some avarice also help

When I asked the old lion, the lawyer,
my boss at the time, Mr. Castle (his real name folks)
how he was today, he’d say “I’m not going to tell you”
When I said “Good morning, Mr. Castle” he’d say
“What’s so good about it?” and smile

Shrill, strident, happy to live in a vulgar penthouse
she’d travel a lot but preferred to sleep in her own bed
Happy to pick up a check, darling,
she has a great life she says
Happy to spread her wealth around a bit

When she speaks and hears nothing back—
no laughter, no shrill attacks
that’s like spitting in the wind, she says
Her pet dog, Squeaky, is devoted only to her
the way a pet dog usually is

Everyone rejected her
at one time or another, or so she said
She heartily, faithfully, chiseled a career
out of insulting them all
She joked about death and feared nothing

 

                3.
We see hawks soar on TV, owls prey
and we have the temerity to think
this is freedom
But what if to fly like a hawk, kill like an owl
is just something they do to eat?

Like when I write a legal memorandum
It’s of mild interest to me and a few others but
hardly the “epitome of free”
He froze in that journey, lonely, feverish, broken
His gift, a token, the ring from the King finally arrives

Whether he died this way or that in 1827
hardly matters now, don’t you think?
He’d be dead now, anyway
It wasn’t much of a ring, that token, hardly kingly
Did the King’s messenger steal the real one on the road?

At 5 in the evening it grew dark with
masses of blackness and the most violent,
noxious storm broke over us– thunder, lightning,
wind, snow, howls—hailstones
the size of grapes and in March!!!

The lightning flashed, the thunder clapped so loud
it seemed to wake the deaf man, the maestro, the hero
Deathly ill, he opens his eyes— conscious for a moment
he lifts his right hand high which was cupped as though he
held a small bird and the bird was his permission to die

 

 

 

 

-September 14, 2014-