I forgot the owl!
Owl was not into fashion like the other birds.
Regard Owl, irritated, on the shoulder of an odalisque.
Sunday I published a post on FASHION. Monday morning, I was abruptly aroused by a commotion. The birds were prodding, poking, mooning at the window, desperate for me to roll over and let them in.
Miffed by their presumptuousness, but now awake, I climbed out of bed to make a small breakfast. I watched the kettle boil (it does happen, but it takes a long long time, as I anticipated), and sat idle for a full six-minute tea steep. I baked a bun from scratch, ate it morsel by morsel, dropping all sorts of desirable crumbs which the birds could not eat. I read my very first piece of mail seven times seven times over. At last, I opened the window.
To a spazzle-dazzle flurry of highly-excited, almost agitated birds.
Apparently, birds are very FASHIONable, a fact I had failed to observe in all my days in the obelisk (though I had noticed the black swan’s exorbitant vanity).
All week damask and leather occlude my view, collars and pantaloons sail over my head, shifts and roses hover mid-air, borne in beaks of birds. Or claws. There are swords in here. Ridiculous stockings. A crook-necked staff? Jewel boxes.
FASHION squawk the birds, preening. REGARD ME.
To appease them, I’m making portraits. Immortal Portraits of my FASHIONable friends, the birds.
First, the black swan, of course:
(Conversations with the black swan are indexed in the “Black Swan” category to your right.)
[ ] Odalisque.
click to enlarge.
(ghosts carry blessings & strange dreams around sharp corners through cracks in the sill.)
(moonlight turns the turn of the stair into an ascension.)
(ghosts carry blessings and strange dreams in their open palms.)
they are exquisitely delicate
(tangles of dust pins string hair.)
2. Take a lover.
!!THIS IS NOT ALLOWED!!
3. Obscure all outlets of communication.
4. Exhaust yourself with a task that is never completed.
5. Exhaust yourself by uncompleting your completion of a task.
7. Imagine the seeds in the earth.
If it is summer, and it has rained, imagine the seeds need to be scarified by cold, thus cannot sprout.
If it is winter, know it is not spring.
If it is spring, imagine it is unnaturally dry. Imagine the prescience of a seed that knows it is not yet time.
Panic. Swift flight from time, the static time, which you must spend waiting. For? If you are longing for a man (that man) do not think of death, of your body languishing, a flower with no fruit. You do not want to bear children but to be held full in the grip of a man, as he might take a fruit, whole in his mouth. What ripeness before rotting and how many men wait
with just the right curve o’ their lips, strength o’ their hands, for grasping, for lifting to their lips therefore to turn o’er upon the tongue?
(Snakes converge like sperm from all directions to the black stone, warm from a whole day’s sun, beneath which they nest.)
–find that waiting is only for death, all said and done, and that your most fertile preparation is for the moment of no personage when you fall without ceasing to stillness (not conscious of any distinction between the two) into a darkness that might be like earth or like outer-space, or the consciousness that there is no difference between them. How does a bird distinguish earth from sky? The earth offers roost and sustenance, the sky is ascent, never ascended. Between them, the space it travels through.
But you are not a bird. You are waiting. You are turning yourself over like earth, in preparation.
Lovers! Do not fling your carefully embroidered coat beneath the feet of your beloved! His beauty is appallingly evident but
you’ve pretty plumage, too. Keep the coat. There is a field littered with the stones that struck the sky’s tarnished mirror. The cracks in its mirror are trees. When you walk that field, wrap your coat close. It will startle the landscape with a mis-stroke of color. Tenderly, tenderly it will open (like an undergarment) for whomever watches, waits (tending what sure fire?) for you to come home.
(the swan drifts over the reflection of real ruins around which an architect has arranged lake and trees:)
I am not pure enough to believe in
love, its archaic masquerade. I am
not pure enough to believe its silken
cords won’t fray but
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.