Tuesday, 6 September 2011

A Bird among the Weeds

For years I lived in weeds,
I usually only came out at night,
When the grass was at its deepest green, almost wet,
My eyes grew bigger, kind of like TVs,
My teeth got soft for all I ate were leaves,
I liked to hide in mud or marshes
And watch the lights from the town trip out
When the LSD’s kicked in,
I’d find things there, between the weeds,
Little things that people left behind or lost,
A small doll made of wood and string was my hero,
Something I could be, damaged and beautiful,
A joker lighter, empty, but mysterious,
Mysteriously empty – that was me,
An old broken clock told me time,
‘Twice a day’ they say,
I spent a lot of time asleep but only dreamt awake,
Dreams were for the waking hours to act out in the weeds,
I held an Oscar made from a severed thistle,
Belched my magnum opus to the rapture of the breeze,
Saved all of mankind in the form of one seven-legged spider,
They were good daydreams to send me to sleep,
My friends were all shapes and sizes;
One man lived for fire and its friends,
I’d see him with his mouth around a chimney
And a look of disgusted satisfaction on his curious face,
Or eating the ashes of cremation’s fire,
His toes had hoofed from wincing
And his nails had grown thicker and wider to better handle embers,
Another friend lived in the bins,
Dirty and furry but friendly he’d visit for warmth
In the silage I called my cottage,
And life wasn’t pleasant, it wasn’t unpleasant,
It was just for survival, that’s what it was for,
All for survival until I met her,
She was a creature, preened and clean
And walked like she’d been somewhere no-one had seen,
She saw me sniffing mint and dazzled, holding dearly onto earth,
As if I’d sooner fly away than run away and daydream,
She laughed at me, told me tawny wings are not for dirtying,
‘Don’t be dragging wings among the dirt, dear bird’, she said,
Then I noticed both my talons and the beak marks in the stalks
And how I hunched and dragged my breast to try and walk
Like something else,
I had come to some impression, some unwise impersonation,
Authenticity replaced by masks of anonymity,
I hopped at last and wondered of my ragged, tawny wings,
Could they muster up the honesty to spread, carry all that’s in my head?
Would they sell me to the dead or to the knees of anxious kings?
Could I be all that a bird can be? To be a dove and symbolise,
Or take to silver like the magpies?
Could I be that bird?
And for a while, a longer while perhaps than I’d intended,
I stood there by the weeds, by the breathless, depth of weeds,
And I watched another daydream flashing deep within the weeds,
Of a bird that fell and woke and thought it lived between the weeds,
And I looked to where she came from, somewhere nowhere near the weeds,
I was happy to be leaving the detentions of the weeds, for
The bird a bird not wants to be is a bird among the weeds.

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