Birds near me

19 11 2009

She creates and federates

Without a syllable

(Emily Dickinson)

All the little psittacines in my office sleep.  Like little balls, the cockatiels fluff their feathers  and tuck their heads while Wiggie, the blue-crowned conure, alternately watches me write and closes his eyes.  They are rimmed in white skin–the eye ring–with bright orange irises and, like all parrots, remarkably expressive pupils.  What he does with his eyes stands out as when he pinpoints his pupils in apparent excitement or pleasure over a particularly good piece of food, or as now, when he closes them and all I can see is white.

I have been working at home at my little desk in the room with the birds.

Do you believe they feel grief?

And is this grief?–is this missing a creature that you trusted to preen your head–to sit close?

And when Wiggie releases his head and simulates regurgitation is it for me?  Or is it for Redbird whose ashes we just received.

I’m not burying him in the rain.  And bulbs are peaking up in the little pet’s graveyard–just in time for the first frosts.

There is, by the way, a little wren, outside the window, on the cypress.  No she/he’s gone.  Bye!

Bird in bird out bird in bird out–without

I am writing a paper about embodying an animal other in a fictional other.  It makes me cranky because it is such an elusive thing.  I am afraid that I am asking too much because I can’t find it in any living texts.  I am not talking about building a story through empathy–like Watership Down, perhaps–nor am I talking about the human watching his/her animal other of  choice–nor the totemic human in animal others skin.  I am talking about producing a piece of work that sees through the eyes of the tetrachromatic, UV viewing, oil droplet exploiting, strange little parrot that sits cleaning his foot on the perch just over there.

Without parrot, without eyes, without oil, without human, without skin

Wouldn’t it take a sort of impossible language?  An impossible leap of the imagination?  Or could it be done?

without heart, without Homo, without language, without word, without constraint, without capture, without tree

I believe its shape would be one of mysterious, difficult proportions.  It would be a written work that would take some patience and some overcoming of fear because it would not be written the way anything else has ever been written.

without nest hole, without father, without mother, without hair

would you please write this narrative and prove that it can be done? (Preferably in time to include it in my paper…)

without feather, without skull, without little beating heart





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