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 tires of leading.
Hawk carries a scarlet fan for me: when I want everyone to go away I will 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.
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.
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!
For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror,
which we still are just able to endure.
If drinking is bitter, change yourself to wine.
Is love: a murderer without a knife?
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.
I’m not writing anymore about love, but I did make a Valentine. My valentine has ruins in it. Owl tells me there’s a fetishism for ruins called “ruin porn”. Amidst the outer-world’s compulsion towards youth, development and progress, there is a counter-fascination with what has fallen apart somewhere so unprofitable it is allowed to remain-an aesthetics of inevitable capitulation, a poetics of collapse. The stones that have crumbled, the rotting curtains, the empty rooms, the sunken roofs, all, all are ephemeral garlands upon absence. Absence: the presence of what is no longer present remains, a meta-monument to impermanence.
This valentine reminds me of an early conversation with the black swan:
…Is there a love otherwise made? Of stone?
Its architecture, yes, toppled in weeds,
though an entablature on slipped columns
remains to frame the inorderable sky.
I could think: Marking a grave. Or
Its austere grace! What time cracks falls away
to reveal a more essential beauty.
The ruins memorialize themselves.
Two might still walk among them hand in hand.
“Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!” Let love, in its ruin, grace forgotten spaces, defy the spirit of our age which points, it would appear, only to annihilation. Its shrill, destructive euphoria spares no room for soul-deepening ruins, lovely and bittersweet.
Happy Valentine’s Day! May your love exemplify grace.
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.]