Thursday, November 12, 2009

13 Dead Blackbirds

I
Among twenty lively trees
the only dead animal
was a decaying blackbird.

II
I was of a vacationed mind
like a child
holding three dead blackbirds.

III
The blackbird swims in the arms of death.
It is now a part of the dead pool.

IV
A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are dead.

V
I know which to prefer,
The beauty of life
over the beauty of decomposition,
The blackbird whistling
over just after death.

VI
Death filled the ribcage
with maggots and ants.
The body of the blackbird
hosted it for two days.
The feeders
left in a hurry
an indecipherable mess.

VII
O thin men of Hell
why do you crave vigorous meals?
Do you not know the blackbird
is simple to catch
dead at your feet?

VIII
I hear beautiful songs
and soaring, peaceful calls
But I know, too
that the blackbird is dead
unable to sing.

IX
When the blackbird died that night
it fell from the earth
into Hell’s canyon.

X
At the death of blackbirds
dying in the black night
a last caw-caw
would leave their beaks.

XI
He drove through New York City
on a motorcycle.
Once, an image came
in which he forgot
to bury the dead
blackbirds.

XII
The river is still.
The blackbird must be dead.

XIII
It was winter all year.
The boys hunted
and they were hunting.
The blackbirds fell
from the limbs, dead.

(Based on Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird by Wallace Stevens)

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