You can hear them singing in the white-hot
phosphorous spotlight of streetlamps and moonglow
splashing the high branches, having entirely too much
fun again already after ten on a weeknight, and they go off
sexing each other up with their funky ambient mate calls
like Flipper the dolphin and friends stutter-squeaking
for supper buckets of herring and kipper out past
the game warden’s dock -- like yakking tropical macaques
drunk on fermented mango mush, having a pool party
in a rice paddy...
“My God,” my good friend groans, and sits up in the bed,
chewing on lower lip, chagrined and stiff-chinned:
“Can’t we call Audobon, John? I mean, can’t something be done?
These fucking birds they are completely out of control...”
“Relax...Take a Xanax, girl” I offer. “Maybe try those
ear plugs they worked the last time.”
I know how she feels, though in truth it’s not really that
bad of a racket. What gets under her skin isn’t the volume,
but rather something in the Voice Itself -- a peal of autistic
nymph-and-prince laughter at once exhorting and denouncing
the streetside eavesdropper who sniffs patchouli, woodsmoke
and soft murmurs from laurel-swallowed patios, wanting
those wind chimes and water music, for oneself, once
again wishing it all back.
That sound -- part mock, part pep talk -- it strums
a barre chord of wonder on the buzzing cervical frets
of my neck, feeding back to the brainstem a dizzy-blues
lick and promise of more mediocre major league shortstops
making a million dollars a month, while I drag my sorry ass
up for work every morning.
“It’s just that something really
ought to be done,” she says... “Hon?”
“Shhhh, I want to hear...”
Yes, the crazy-ass grackles of southern Nevada
will win you over in time “You need to really watch them
during the day” I explain to her -- their cocky-but-wobbly
strut, like hungover jazz musicians shuffling to breakfast
in too-big Beatle boots and no socks, long silken inky
tuxedo tails brush-drumming the lawn as they bob and weave,
hunt and peck...
At dawn I watch one, sweet black lacquered sleekness with
opal inlay streaks on beak and back. It swaggers around
the pine cone trunk of a big palm -- super model stalking
a hall of mirrors, little onyx head nodding to a headphone
backbeat and bassline bubbling up
from the irrigated root system
just for her.
Soon enough she spots me coming off the porch, waves
bye bye with blue-silver irridescent wink of wing blur,
and makes that noise again...a hundred popped helium balloons
released from the home team dugout at the crack of bat, and she
is a whistling line drive rising for the rooftops, black dot
cinema jump cut, into the pink horizon
“Oh my,” I cry out, raising my hand
in a slow, shaky sun glare salute:
Sweet Insouciance Of Youth!
©2003 by Dennis Mahagin