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Birds of Northeastern Oklahoma

Here’s the challenge: to recreate all the birds I see on my runs using only words from the roadside trash.

Belted Kingfisher
Despite your gentrified black featherdo,
carefully spilled upward hard and ragged,
despite how you slipped so classily–yes
royally, I’ll give you that–just over
the surface, almost touching, almost
wetting the tips of your excalibur
self; when you speared that fish and pounded it
to death and then, having swallowed it, skinned
off over the water again for more,
you looked just hungry, like everyone else.

Brownheaded Cowbird
Blanketed in blueblack sizzle,
chocolate head gazing up, always up,
at spirits only you see.
You are Cherokee, piping
an old old tuneless song
from a leafless tree.
I wish you weren’t so mean,
littering others’ nests
with babies, or so many,
crowding my feeders.
Then I could maybe,
just maybe, love you.
Indigo Bunting
Brightest blue against
greenest green. Happiest
song, singing summer.

Mockingbird
High on a pole you
hop and
flush your white striped
wings
insisting your friends’
recommendations
oneaftertheother
without stopping:
xxxxxxxxxxComply!
Comply!
xxxxxxxxxBottlebottlebottle.
Communicate. Com
municate.
xxxxxxxxxxI fail; I fail; I
fail.
xxxxxLicense your penis?
License your penis? Too
steep. Too steep. Tooooooo
steep!
I try to follow but can’t
keep up, can’t make
meaning of it.

Redheaded Woodpecker
A blackandwhite redheaded
woodeating bird makes its hole.
I keep expecting it to vomit
the contents out of its long
hard mouth, but it only
swallows and knocks further
in, dreaming of babies
in their dry bed,
looking out, wanting
fed.

The Unknown Bird
Blue head, white eyering,
dark brow. Below white, above
birdcolored. Small. Its comments
unspecial but insistent:
chee cheeeee chee!
Fierce in flight, plunging
out of the leaves and back
in. I must have neared its nest.

Meadowlark
Mean in the face. Vicious beak
made to spear living food.
Above brown, below the color
of dying leaves. Fat but not
in the appealing way
of other fat birds; rather,
to house giant lungs. And it
is for this, your wacky opera
lungwork, that you are loved—
how, from some high place,
all by yourself, you
stuff our vacant insides with sugar.
Bobwhite
Ever fierce pet dog
hunt you, running, leave
spear tip prints. No fear,
like angel said. (Could
be so wicked pain
worse, it mean.) Could be
orb-toe mountain cat,
out for snack—last time
white tail, today fat
bird. That trail-a-chicks
too small to matter.
Bug babies safe—hear?—
for all your howling
and tipsy mother
act. It do no good.
Sayin’.
Here’s the challenge: to recreate all the birds I see on my runs using only words from the roadside trash.

Belted Kingfisher
Despite your gentrified black featherdo,
carefully spilled upward hard and ragged,
despite how you slipped so classily–yes
royally, I’ll give you that–just over
the surface, almost touching, almost
wetting the tips of your excalibur
self; when you speared that fish and pounded it
to death and then, having swallowed it, skinned
off over the water again for more,
you looked just hungry, like everyone else.

Brownheaded Cowbird
Blanketed in blueblack sizzle,
chocolate head gazing up, always up,
at spirits only you see.
You are Cherokee, piping
an old old tuneless song
from a leafless tree.
I wish you weren’t so mean,
littering others’ nests
with babies, or so many,
crowding my feeders.
Then I could maybe,
just maybe, love you.

Indigo Bunting
Brightest blue against
greenest green. Happiest
song, singing summer.

Mockingbird
High on a pole you
hop and
flush your white striped
wings
insisting your friends’
recommendations
oneaftertheother
without stopping:
xxxxxxxxxxComply!
Comply!
xxxxxxxxxBottlebottlebottle.
Communicate. Com
municate.
xxxxxxxxxxI fail; I fail; I
fail.
xxxxxLicense your penis?
License your penis? Too
steep. Too steep. Tooooooo
steep!
I try to follow but can’t
keep up, can’t make
meaning of it.

Redheaded Woodpecker
A blackandwhite redheaded
woodeating bird makes its hole.
I keep expecting it to vomit
the contents out of its long
hard mouth, but it only
swallows and knocks further
in, dreaming of babies
in their dry bed,
looking out, wanting
fed.

The Unknown Bird
Blue head, white eyering,
dark brow. Below white, above
birdcolored. Small. Its comments
unspecial but insistent:
chee cheeeee chee!
Fierce in flight, plunging
out of the leaves and back
in. I must have neared its nest.

Meadowlark
Mean in the face. Vicious beak
made to spear living food.
Above brown, below the color
of dying leaves. Fat but not
in the appealing way
of other fat birds; rather,
to house giant lungs. And it
is for this, your wacky opera
lungwork, that you are loved—
how, from some high place,
all by yourself, you
stuff our vacant insides with sugar.

Bobwhite
Ever fierce pet dog
hunt you, running, leave
spear tip prints. No fear,
like angel said. (Could
be so wicked pain
worse, it mean.) Could be
orb-toe mountain cat,
out for snack—last time
white tail, today fat
bird. That trail-a-chicks
too small to matter.
Bug babies safe—hear?—
for all your howling
and tipsy mother
act. It do no good.
Sayin’.

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