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birds in hats

As I mentioned in my last post, the birds think I should hang out on the sea shore this summer.   To distract them from this discomforting vein of conversation, I indulge their penchant for FASHION.

The birds like trying on hats.

Black Swan likes hats more than anybody.  Black Swan would like me to do a whole series of portraits entitled “CROWNING THE INEFFABLE:  Hats O EPHEMERAL GARNISHING Across the Centuries as CLASSICALLY DISPLAYED Upon the TIMELESS HEAD of the Rare BLACK SWAN.”

I refused and made him share a portrait with Hawk:

hats for black swan & hawk

Hawk was deeply moved by the metaphysics of the plumed, dove-white hat, bound as it is by a ribbon of blue sky.  I don’t really understand Hawk’s line of thinking; it has something to do with avian creation myths.

Starlings swarm beneath a veil as if it were mist over the autumn brocade of the marsh grasses:

hat for starlings

Crow-as-parrot with a parrot in a hat so naïve, I think it is surreal:

hat for crow as parrot

The phoenix thinks this hat is bad-ass, especially with a ruched tunic:

hat for phoenix

I put on a hat, too.  The birds suddenly silenced themselves; their heads cocked to eye my every move with beady-black intensity.

They thought I might be going outside:

Odalisque in a hat for the shore

WHERE ARE YOU GOING!! squawked Parrot-that-was-crow.

I could go outside.  If I knew where to go.

–The Odalisque

places I could go

While hunting for rodents in a nearby trash heap, Hawk found a very helpful book:   Around the World in 1,000 Pictures.   Now, when Crow squawks WHERE ARE YOU GOING?  I flip open my new book and consider a page.  (Read my last two posts to learn more about my Crow parrot’s persistent questioning.)

Here I am in my traveling outfit with Crow (as parrot):

traveling odalisque

Oh the places we could go!

[click photos to enlarge]

virgin isles, bluebeard's castle

Distinctive tower features Bluebeard’s Castle Hotel, setting for many legends.

Ah, the Virgin Isles.  But…the legends I’ve heard of Bluebeard’s Castle involve a slew of bloody no-longer-virgin wives strung up in a forbidden room.   Let’s try another page.

traveling london

Lovers sit by the bridge.

I’ve always wanted to go to England.  I find the English language so romantic, mostly because I understand it.  Two lovers embrace beside an industrial thoroughfare and a recently fired cannon!   There, in the distance, another tower renowned for the murder of wives.

Let’s look up a place I’m familiar with.  Henriette and I spent our early years in Paris:

Paris, France

Café de Flore, on the Left Bank, has been favorite of Picasso and of Jean-Paul Sartre.
Place Pigalle is center for night life and cabarets of the more bohemian sort.

Surrealism began at Café de Flore as well.  It is  a movement I am particularly fond of as it liberated my head, allowing me to replace it with strange objects (when I want to blend in with the bohemian sort, I wear red harem pants as a head).   Ah Paris!  A place to see and be seen.  Henriette and I felt our souls excised by the cutlery at this gazing feast; if I went back I fear my scrapbook would regress to ghostly, bland snapshots, an empty odalisque’s un-experience of supposedly important non-events.

Banff school of fine arts

Students have beautiful scenes to paint.

This could be a very fine place to go as there do not appear to be so many people.  I like beautiful scenes and the company of artists, especially when they notice that I am also one.  Look at these beautiful scenes:

Banff

You may see bighorn sheep.

And yet, I don’t like the right-hand picture so much.  It resembles the first violent scene in my movie which initiated my triumphant retreat into the obelisk.

An odalisque is lucky to have an obelisk of her own.  If I left, could I find my way back?

Photographs from Around the World in 1,000 Pictures
Edited by A. Milton Runyon and Vilma F. Bergane,
(c) 1954, Doubleday & Company

choosing your parrot’s vocabulary

So, now I have a parrot.  Its name is Crow.  Crow used to be a very interesting conversationalist, but all Crow Parrot can (will?) say is “WHERE ARE YOU GOING.  HELLO.”

Odalisque sits at her desk.  “WHERE ARE YOU GOING.”

Odalisque steeps her tea.  “WHERE ARE YOU GOING.  HELLO.”

Odalisque leaps to the window when Hawk or Black Swan or anybird, anybird at all, blessedly arrives in the window to save her from Crow.  “WHERE ARE YOU GOING,” says Crow.

“Hello,” says my bird guest friend.  “HELLO,”  squawks Crow.  Shut up Crow!  I don’t know where I’m going.  I’m in an obelisk for solstice’s sake, and it was a lot of work to get up here.   (as portrayed in my movie.)  Leave me alone!

Despite the fact that I did not choose Crow’s vocabulary, Owl, in an attempt to be helpful, brought me this:  Things to keep in mind when choosing your parrot’s vocabulary.

1. Avoid Profanity.

Profanity is the use of profane language, and profane language is that which is not concerned with religion, unholy because not consecrated, or that which debases what is holy.   I was once considered profane, especially as compared to, say, a Madonna.  So perhaps I should not try to teach Crow my name, The Odalisque.

2. Stay away from “catch phrases”

It’s always cute when talking birds chime in with something to say, but you want to make sure that what you teach them won’t get old or annoying after a while.

I take a book from my bed and flip the pages.  How about:

I would like to step out of my heart, and go
walking beneath an enormous sky.

or

From you to you I go commanded.  In between
the garland is hanging in chance; but if you
take it up and up and up look!  All becomes festival!

or

For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror,
which we still are just able to endure.

or

If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.

or

Is love: a murderer without a knife?

or

She moves the way clocks move.

I can’t imagine even lovely, ravenous phrases  could preserve their dewy hunger if repeated as often as Crow says “Where are you going.”    If I teach poetry, will Crow use it sparingly, with the wisdom & ken to perfectly brim a fine distillation into each moment’s goblet?

3. Think long-term!

There are many things that will remain constant in your bird’s life, and these are often the best sources for inspiration when trying to decide on the types of words and phrases that you’d like to add to your bird’s vocabulary.  For example, your or your birds name…

CROW!  squawks my parrot.  ODALISQUE ODALISQUE ODALISQUE!  No Crow, you can’t say that it is profane.  OBELISK OBELISK OBELISK!  Nor do I want to encourage any creature in my care to believe that anything in its life is constant.  OCEAN OCEAN OCEAN.  UNIVERSE UNIVERSE UNIVERSE.  No Crow, all is in constant creative & destructive flux.  MATTER MATTER ENERGY!  MATTER MATTER ENERGY!  I do not know, crow.  I do not know.  It is best to assume all, all will pass but nothingness, from which materiality and warmth may inevitably emerge.

4. Choose songs/music wisely

It’s best to select songs that are “classics.” Popular choices for many bird owners are nursery rhymes like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, and various oldies from the 50’s and 60’s.

This guidance is very intriguing.  It reminds me of Beckett who imagined mothers squatting to birth babies into their graves.  Nursery rhymes & oldies…everything in between is tedium.

Twinkle twinkle little star how I wonder what you are, up above the sky so high.  Like a diamond in the sky…

Crow before he was parrot would definitely have thought of the stars as diamonds, and coveted one for his stash.  But Owl would bring us a book on astronomy, show Crow that the stars are luminous bodies of charged particles held together by gravity and fueled by thermo-nuclear fusion, and that would have been that for everybody but Phoenix who would know, as if in ecstatic vision, the nature of heaven.

True singing is a different breath, about
nothing. A gust inside the god.  A wind.

5. Avoid alarming phrases.

Even if it seems like a humorous thing to do, there is a genuine risk that your bird could incite a fair level of panic given the right situation.

There are so many things that should incite a fair level of panic, but fail to.  Related to number 3 above, perhaps I should teach Crow to regularly incite panic with words that remind me of my impermanence.

WHERE ARE YOU GOING WHERE ARE YOU GOING.  HELLO.

Oh, hermetic Crow.  Even as parrot, you outpace me.

Be ahead of all parting, as though it already were behind you, like the winter that has just gone by. For among these winters there is one so endlessly winter that only by wintering through it will your heart survive…

…To all that is used-up, and to all the muffled and dumb creatures in the world’s full reserve, the unsayable sums, joyfully add yourself, and cancel the count.

transparent bar

transparent bar

–The Odalisque

ghost hand

(all bold text  from Stephen Mitchell’s translation of Rilke)

conversation with the crow as parrot

calling card crow/parrot

(Why is crow a parrot?)

Where are you going?  Hello.

As far as I can tell I am not moving.  Well, I am, but only because I rest on this planet, which is repeating its one path around the sun.  Each night, when the sun vanishes, I feel sad.  It’s lonely in the obelisk without the sun’s co-habitation, once all you birds tuck your heads beneath your wings and roost, at least until I settle at my desk and set to work on my scrapbook.  Then I forget to be lonely or sad.   Day breaks the enclosing dome of night and I look up with a feeling of accomplishment.

Where are you going?  Hello.

I should get more sleep.   Maybe take a walk on the shore.  Pack up my scissors, throw some buns in my teapot, and head out for some free air.   I feel there is one right time for that walk and that it should lead me to one particular place.  It’s terrible, Crow, for that thought–of one time, one place–fills me with dread.  I do not know what time, what place, and I hovel up here bitter beneath this cosmic tyranny.   I want anytime, anyplace.  I would like the cosmos to operate with more ease, to unfold like the seed-head of a sea-thistle.  I resent being a wheel in this cosmic machine.

Are you?  Hello.

Odalisques are art.   I wanted to be real so I escaped the art in which I was trapped, but still I must make of my world art.  It gets very confusing.   There is a quote by a famous artist, “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”  I want to play with the world  like a child.

You?  Hello.

Yes.  My scrapbook is an expedition.  A paper ship on the unconscious deep.

Going?  Hello.

Towards no horizon.  I progress through fathoms of depth and height.

Where?  Hello.

Crow, here is the page I made last night.  What do you think it means?

I show Crow my latest scrapbook page.  I cannot show it to you because it has not yet resolved itself into a single image.  It is holographic, changing with angles of light.  In a forest looking down or at a city looking up or upon a dune looking out?  A figure, his back is to me.  No…he looks right at me, I sit on the ground, no now, behold, his arm reaches out… Crow says: 

Hello.

movie stars

The publicity photos for my upcoming movie HOW I GOT INTO THE OBELISK have just been released!  I’m a little bit miffed that the black swan is more prominently featured than me…as usual he’s flaunting his large wingspan.

This movie may be rated X.  As usual, I’m not wearing any clothes, but this movie is especially scandalous because I’m not wearing a head.  I feel shy about it, somehow.  It’s awkward having so much exposed.  For the publicity photos they shot my legs separately from my head.  That was much easier for me.

I am very eager for the release of my movie!  Final tweaks are being done.

HOW I GOT INTO THE OBELISK

STARRING:

along side

A FISH

and an

by Jimi Hendrix & the Experience

SEE YOU SOON

FAR FROM THE SILVERY MOON

ON A GLOWING SCREEN

–The Odalisque

fashionable birds part 4

Fourth and final in my series of Immortal Portraits of my FASHIONable friends.

Crow insisted I make the first portrait.   I’m sure it’s some kind of trick.

The second portrait is more representative.

Crow approved them both.

crow?

fashionable Crow

(Conversations with crow are indexed in the “Crow” category to your right.)

conversations with birds: the crow cracks one eye

Night is as still as a flock sleeping among shadowed hills.

The bed is tender as a throat I am glad to go to it.  In every dream

the clock strikes like hooves against stone the wind scrapes like steel against stone I

Awaken.  Night is still.  Still as the shadows of stones on flocked hills.

my friend crow

(crow caws for shiny things.)

(Broken nibs…gold earrings…

…a white hair.)

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