Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Henry Miller's Vicious Personality: A Sory about a Grackle
Grackles land on the edge (in Spanish the word is "ear") of our pool and drink. I suppose they don't live long enough for the chlorine or other chemicals to hurt. Or so I'd like to think. Sometimes the Grackle's only got one leg. There are many one-legged Grackles.
Grackles are tough birds. And they are vicious. And they thrive around people. Lots of people. This is where the action's at. Grackles are like Henry Miller. In Paris he was a genius. Delirium-Genius. In quiet places he pulled his hair out-- and sliced his throat with it. It was hard you see. His hair. Like a white sword.
Anyways. Last night my wife went swimming. It was 8 o'clock but still plenty of light. Taking a break, she looked into the channel that runs around the pool's edge (around its "ear") and there was a Grackle. It was exhausted. Soaked-heavy.
I fished it out with the pool net. And then my wife and I indulged in some bravery. IE: we talked. And talked. Like two monkeys. (This reminds me of how we handled the crisis of an injured bat on our bedroom patio. They kill people you know? Foaming, veins corroded with acid. I wrote a poem about this brave experience. At the end I tell the reader to go down into the plaza and look up "at the girl with long gold hair playing the violin. I used to think that was me." Or some garbage like that. Stuffed with bravery, you know. Like pus.)
Anyways, the grackle was beat. Too weak to fly away. In shock. And we discussed the options. Generals up on a mountain top. Ice-cold thinking. Pure reason. The world stretched out all around us. Blah, blah.
My wife thinks a grackle in the house is bad luck. Maybe she's right.
Finally I wrapped it in a towel. It felt dead. And took it down to my office and placed it in the cage that used to house our two gray cockatiels. I left the towel in there and put the cage nearly under the light. It slumped against the towel.
A half hour later it was still slumped. A bit later it looked alert. And ate some bread. But it was having trouble moving around the cage. One leg trailed behind it. Probably broken. And since it wasn't flapping around I figure maybe a wing was damaged. But maybe it was just in shock still.
So I called my Bird Vet. It was bad timing. A relative had died and he was in the middle of the 9 days flowers and visiting stage. A long wake. But he was friendly. If its leg was broken it'll be okay he said. But if it's a wing or something else then isn't much hope. Who wants a maimed Grackle? (I did see into the future though. A grouchy grackle in my office with me. Maybe perched on my shoulder. Helping me write. Better than dying, right?) But, they're not exactly good pets. And then there's the matter of my wife.
Then Victor (the Bird Vet) brought up Ivan who trains hawks. I know Ivan: he's a nice guy. He stuck some oil up one of the cockatiels when it was sick. Ivan, Victor tells me, likes to use live birds as bait. Even if they're injured. Hmmmmmmmm. This was exciting and disgusting to me. Two hours ago I was looking deep into my wife's eyes and spouting out for the billionth fucking time my staple little truisms like "I don't like it when anything dies" and "It's just another creature trying to make its way" (just before I toted off the bird in towel). But now Ivan and his hawks seem very appealing.
This is how we left things: if the Grackle looked strong in the morning I'd release it and see if it could fly. If it was badly hurt I'd called my Bird Vet and he'd take it to the hawks. (how many of them are there? what color are their eyes? do they cuddle up to Ivan? Do they have names? What are their names? Do they whistle? Do they dream? Blah, blah, blah)
This morning the Grackle was strong. And alert. His right leg, though, dragged behind him. I opened the cage and he flew out over the river. I missed him already. And then I was mad at myself. I should have cut the bad leg off. It was going to be a burden.
Walking down to the Plaza (where 6 days a week I work on my Holocaust poems) I couldn't stop thinking about the Grackle. When I took a break from my poems I wrote the following in my every day journal:
And now the Grackle is so in me. Its bright color. Its beautiful beak. Its vicious personality. It has no mercy. For the world or anything in it. Including itself. It reminds me of Henry Miller when the light (cunt or other) shines into him and revolves a dried up cow-carcass.
I am in some of my best moments this blackbird. It sings in me ruthlessly. It rules my love. Sits on my blood. And rides it hard. Swallows the stars. And smashes the moon to bits. It rolls in churches. And governments. It doesn't want to die. But it doesn't even bother to think about it.
Its shadow's going to lurk and sparkle on every page of my 2nd book.
And, that's that.