Feb. 23rd, 2011 12:25 pm
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)

I eat like a clumsy snake
angling my head, unhinging my jaw

clunk, crack

sinking my teeth into my dinner
and my lower lip

tasting steak and my own blood
pain shooting through my bones

clenching my jaw, tensing my neck
pulsing in my head like a venom


cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
Cryptococcus neoformans

Chernobyl is full of deer
who don't know of radiation
but who know of humans
and who know a haven when they find it.

They drink tainted water
and eat tainted greens
and the only men they see
come in 20-minute rotations

dressed in hazard suits
and drunk on vodka
to help fight off the poison
or at least the knowledge of it.

The men wave clicking machines,
make marks in their notebooks
and make human noises of surprise
as they near the reactor

and find hundreds of mushrooms
which they've never seen before
which eat not decaying matter
but the radiation itself -

and the deer knows
and the fungus knows
and the ghost of the fermented potato knows:
when the humans push the button

they won't wipe out the whole planet,
just themselves.
cedarmyna: illustrated image of a white bird on a branch at night (Default)
We are awakened at sunrise by the bird
sitting on the eave by our window
picking out first one bizarre cackle, then another

not really what you could call birdsong
but more melodic than any other available in Sydney.

B. groans and stuffs his head in a pillow: "Mynas.
They're going to build a nest there, you know."

"I kind of like it," I say,
and he mutters, "That's just because you haven't
had to hear them your whole life."

Which is true enough, in its own way. I don't like mynas
because I find them new and interesting; I like them
because I find them reassuringly familiar.
Sydney has a dearth of birds.

Where I come from there are dozens of songbirds:
the ones that sings whole melodies (cardinals,
bluebirds, titmice, wrens, sparrows,
goldfinches, red finches, purple finches)
the ones that sing one note (robins, grackles, starlings)
the ones that sing their names (chickadees,
bobwhites, whip-poor-wills), the ones that sing
each others' names (catbirds, thrashers, mockingbirds),
the ones whose names I don't know.

Here there is the silent, stalking ibis; the glowering magpie;
the screaming cockatoo; the "laughing" kookaburra (who never laughs
at all, in my experience). And the myna, the mockingbird
of the Antipodes, busily building a nest outside my window
and making enough noise to fill the city,
as if determined to convince me my back garden
contains all manner of exotic and exciting flying fauna
as long as I never try to see it.

February 2011

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