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Dreamed 9/21/82 by Wayan
In 1982 I was recovering slowly from years with an abusive girlfriend. I was sick--chemical sensitivities, inflammation, opportunistic infections. Even a halftime job was exhausting, so I was broke. Lonely, too. Around my birthday, two events: a songbird got trapped in our office for hours, fluttering against the windows; and I learned that our Silicon Valley home had fleas.
Living with fleas in the new world.
Little predators creep out of the lair,
Bite and suck and saw my flesh to thing.
I work in conditional offices, future-tense;
Bugs creep behind the green screen,
Head aches and none knows why.
So strange horrible to be rotting
Festered fingers and lobes.
Dis-ease of busy-ness.
Puzzled animal, you
Cannot heal the modern sores
Cannot heal the modern horrors
I like the chewy textures of words and lines--
The hard sounds spine the sweet.
Chain of wordnotes simply strung
Serene as sparrowhistles
3: OFFICE NIGHTINGALE
I am a small bird flying
In a white glass void.
Everywhere images look like me--
I fly to them and they to me, til BANG!
Ghosts. No other there but hard glass,
A hard self-bird emptied of
Heart in the feathers, seed in the husk.
Only where no self beckons--
"Where feathers disappear from glass,
And no birds sing"--
There alone's escape--
There: alone lies open wind
And hope of distant, softer alien friend.
Weird bird I, who awkward sing
While my blood leaks: not heart-fountain--
What fun to die staining the neighbors with
Romantic Maroon! No, here in the new world
Blood seeps from little sores, to suit my time:
Age of the roach. The leak. The leech.
Bird-me paraphrased two lines from Keats's La Belle Dame Sans Merci":
The sedge is withered from the Lake
And no birds sing.
Bird-me is a lot like the poem's questing knight; the mocking reflection-birds are like La Belle Dame herself. And, of course, like my Silicon Valley co-workers. Nice enough people. For people. Not wild birds.
I needed birds.
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