The magpie

24 May 2009

The magpie
with his sleek black wings and soft white back
hops onto the chair under the window,
listens to me rehearsing.
I look him in the eye and declaim at him.
When I finish the poem he hops up onto the windowsill, a bold

‘Hey! What are you doing? You can’t come in the house!’

He hops down onto the paving and looks at me reproachfully.

‘Well… you might make a mess. You might
poo on the table. I could
let you in if you promise not to
poo on the table…
or if you promise to clean up after yourself…’

He looks at me.

‘Or do you have a
message for me?’

He looks at me.

‘You’re a beautiful boy,
aren’t you? Look at that
beautiful back.’

He picks something out of the gutter and swallows it
then struts slowly away.

I threaten him. ‘I’ll write a poem about you.’

Fly free

FLY FREE Beautiful Bird FLY FREE Though it hurts to watch you

Though my face aches for your feathers against my jaw and my
ribs ache to be pierced again by your claws FLY FREE Stretch your golden wings

in the wind
Hunt in the city, the country, the sea FLY FREE while you can Fly free


Once, twice — thrice
you allowed me    to touch:
the balanced bones and muscles,
the stiff crest and soft down,
the intricate markings,
and behind the eyes bright light, electric storm FLY FREE Though it hurts to watch you

Though I wonder whether you truly enjoy your freedom
Whether its price is worth paying:
The squarking nest rejected
The distance put behind you
The trail of skeletons and rags
The empty tree, bare branches FLY FREE Though I ache to join you,

launch vertical, play, stratospheric, wingtip to wingtip, matching move
for wicked move, racing, twirling on thermals,
dipping and wheeling,
dropping and rising,
screaming and diving FLY FREE Take your meals

at all the garbage dumps of the world
and all the palace kitchens
Eat each as if it’s your last
And let your shit fall
where it will FLY FREE!

Fly truly free! Escape your remaining chains!

My chains are made of the blood
that runs in my veins and I can’t
get them off without dying.

How about yours?

because really that’s

Status: Felt it all over. Uh.
I hadn’t it at the 3am party
Arrive later on with no identifying
Just a dark [Perth]
greeting I wrote on a
Status: Spare couch
Status: Pack tissues
Arrive later on with no
Hopefully does after doesn’t because really that’s
Because wouldn’t it be nice to send
long writerly letters to one another the way
writer-friends used to
At least the ones not