I showed off my party dress. So the birds are ready to dance. They’ve brought out their best.
If I could only dance with one, which would I choose?
I like that black swan brings me fetid flowers. The book could be a gift or maybe black swan intends to read to me later. I hope not. There’s nothing worse than long phrases comparing odalisques to astronomical bodies, natural phenomena, or flowers. How can you enjoy yourself when everything you do reminds someone of the moon? I’ve been to the moon, and it’s nothing to throw garlands at. Stop talking about the moon. I am The Odalisque!
Fetid flowers or… a dead branch?
The branch is for me to hold when we dance, so I don’t catch on fire. That might be a trick, though, because Phoenix really wants me to burn. At least if I dance with Phoenix, there is a window nearby. I will need to stick my head out into that high, clear air, after a whirl in Phoenix’s flagrant embrace.
Crow-as-parrot offers to lead me through greener pastures. Crow has a message but I’ve already opened it. Or did Crow open it first and scramble the intended meaning? Crow wears the fool’s hat. Crow, where are we going?
The starlings clothe themselves in the soft robes of nightfall. It is the hour of murmuration. Behind them, obscure. If I allow myself to be taken in their arms I will be the space between earth and sky consecrated by their hushed, joyful swarm. I will be the ever-evolving absence of thousands of birds.
Hawk, discretely, but superbly dressed, waits beneath an ordinary chandelier. The silk dress is for changing into when Hawk grows tired of leading.
Hawk carries a scarlet fan for when I grow bored and want everyone to go away. I hide my face like ostrich sticking its head in the sand. Everyone knows: leave me alone.
Hawk is thoughtful in that way.
I will dance with Hawk.
Black Swan, aghast, is sputtering phrases from the book. The phrases aren’t about me or the moon! They’re all about Black Swan! Typical. Black Swan, do you remember how to call out, over the marsh, the wild, mute cry of your forebearers? If so, I will dance with you.
Fashionable birds. See how they first made their fashion fetish known here, or click the Fashion tag for that and more.
A new letter from Henriette!
(Read her previous letter and my reply in bones, candy wrappers, a winnowing basket.)
Henriette libre! Chávez became a bird, and I emulated him, slipping through the bars of my cage. For his corpse my guards were sent to herd the queues of mourners clogging the streets. I got my coat and walked right out, stood beneath the red portico of my prison de bellas artes. Nearby, a confused man (at the wrong museum). I smothered him with my coat, and stole his clothing. Left him naked, recumbent as an odalisque upon the threshold of the museum.
I wish I could have stayed to watch him come-to, humiliated and exposed.
Do you still measure time with grains of sand? Caracas is no desert. I will learn to blow rings from a pipe. Ceci n’est pas une pipe. It is my life, lovely halos of smoke, disintegrating.
You ask if I ever learned how to love? I try to love myself.
Here’s a photo of my new self. I mean, my disguise.
On the lam,
Henriette was always the wilder of us two. Some cruel justice in her…smothering a man with her coat! But she escaped she escaped!
What kind of bird is Chávez? Maybe we have mutual friends. We could convince him to give you a visa and you could visit us here in the obelisk? I’m not sure how you’d get up but maybe you can rig something with smoke rings and your coat? I have bones here–I cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving, and kept the bones because I didn’t want to upset black swan by throwing them into the marsh. They’re in my sugar bowl. You can have them if you want.
I put your picture in my scrapbook with a collage that is not a pipe.
If you are seen, I hope you will be appreciated.
Your (treacherous-less) friend,
A series this week! On the complex concept, “enough”
[click to enlarge]
[Fig. 1 DETAIL]
[With words a beautiful, strange creature, all scales and song and shimmering fins, I bring out of the deep]
[for you to give you con ]
[The beast sings in the air then submerges. The sea folds over it.]
Wake up. The phoenix staked another billet-doux through my pillow with a splinter of arrowwood.
It is on fire.
Fizzling like a sparkler.
Billets hard to hold through waking. They sizzle at the edge of dream. Wake up. They burn themselves out. Pillow ash brings intense, peripheral feelings, mis-sequenced, uncertain, numinous.
(click to read the first billet-doux)
BURNING DOOR. IN AND OUT AND IN
LET US BE WITH EACH OTHER
THE DAYS COUNT THEM]S[?]
IT IS NICE TO BURN
INTOXICATING THE LIGHT