Now let’s see what I can make of the chronology of Chase.
Some thick wet messy bird *****
missing its mark, a drop, browning vent
feathers, another drop
oozing perfectly in, to the oviduct, where
minerals and fetus and pre feathers formed.
And now a slanted eye, lid half closed
after the fashion of a laying chicken hen,
a hen in its own right, Suzie Susan the bird,
sunflower seeds and malnutrition gracing her final
sits atop what can only be called a
cardboard cruelty to squeeze out the
rock and continue his
The same lidded look, a male somewhere gesticulating
split rock shale hued feathers and
pink scaled lizard feet,
as the unbelievable ordeal of egglaying begets
what will become a creature
and then warmth, a spot of raw pink
skin, so much like a goose bumped wet frozen bird
in the *** a day before supper,
warms the egg to a precise temperature
((Wikipedia knows what))
not to cook, but to love.
So many cages. Straight up and down
black white silver metal plastic
bars, maybe a metal floor and maybe
maybe even pine.
How he made his way into a
rabbit’s cage much too sideways for
any bird, losing feathers from
eating buggy dry dusty seed which he loved
almost as much as procreating,
I wish to Hell I knew,
so I could ***** about it too
and hate not only myself, my parents,
the wooden door that ended him,
but their rotted brains as well.
Made perches. Not safe, but sound.
Wood, sycamore, not disinfected, but worn
down to a point of home decor.
Birdshit everywhere, which was lovely
but I didn’t remember to clean it because
I was too young to know about anything
but Phantom of the Opera, dragons that have wings
and front arms always, don’t you dare ******* say different
because I will end you,
and the occasional long thin scab on the arm.
Sitting by me -- hating me in a way that spoke
of kindred love and bond --
and nothing at all of the $3 diet that he somehow subsisted
on for possibly four years,
or the improper bars slanted with thick white and gray urate and feces
paste uncleaned unchecked and untouched.
Or even the of the hard saved handful of cash earmarked for a
slightly less inadequate cage (but a cage nonetheless)
traded instead for a Nightmare on Elm Street box set containing
movies 1-6, plus 7, and Freddy vs Jason as well but not the remake,
but definitely of how someone, maybe me, taught you how to
whistle the Andy Griffith theme song even though I never watched
the dumb old show, and how to whistle
like a construction worker with a mild *******
after an unintended female, with the “best ***
I ever ******* saw,”
and of strict bedtimes always met with a decent blanket,
and maybe even of the bird-like night frights in which
I felt my heart leap, and I turned on music for you with the
useless old sixty pound boxy computer that happened to still have
a working copy of windows media player installed
and singing Billy Joel’s Lullaby which had nothing to do with you
or I and everything to do with divorce and dying
but which was perfect,
and put you back to sleep without a broken neck or wing,
Does it matter if he’s a bird or man?
I tell you that he’s both.
He ate and shat and ****** and loved
and sang and slept and had grumpy days
and happy days
and ****** people off and was too loud
and was startled by screams
had to face the still silent unmoving sickening pregnant heat wave of grief
had favorite foods and songs and tv shows,
lived in boxes and only wanted out.
Greedy how he chirped so high on top of his lover
doing the tail spinny grindey dance against her pulsating *******
center, and squirting
secretly much like the **** before him, whatever
and whoever he was, his eyes
wide and mouth open slightly.
And then her fat cinnamon body lay so many
thick shelled deadly pearls,
which were empty but never cold.
They loved their empty stale stagnant infertile eggs, by God,
these two perfect doomed parents given
not nearly enough to survive the
war of childbirth and rearing,
which they only tried out but were not privileged to suffer.
I would’ve named his sons Columbo after some name
I read in a book or maybe an online forum, that is
supposedly Italiano and supposedly means “dove,”
the fat birds of varying white and gray hues with the occasional
dazzle of blue or brown or black
that embody all the soft qualities of Chase, and Suzy
and I would attempt to end the misbegotten trend
that started when I named Chase after the gorgeous golden Aussie
character from House (which someone of my age probably
shouldn’t have watched)
and add some little Renatos and Ninfas and little
Agapetos or maybe even Uccellos or Ucellas.
But what would have been a family of tiny winged storm - skies
brought instead a slowish painful death, that could have been
oh so easily prevented and fixed with a little bit of love,
some mercy, some money, a vet, and possibly a fingertip amount of
dollar store canola cooking oil.
And Chase, what can I say of how you screamed an elegy, a dirge
more harrowing than Percy Shelley’s or Rilke’s or that poem Billy Collins
wrote about nine eleven, more true than the entire ludicrous book of Lamentations,
simply by screaming extreme, shrill and for so long, so long,
so through that the house shook with it and I cried too?
You wailed with a small dry wordless tongue
that shot into my ears and to my skull, brain, gray and white matter,
that absolutely trembled with the familiar horrific confusion
of suddenly waking to find that someone is gone and you
don’t know how but you know you’ll
see them again
you’d never stroke the smooth laughter of
her cheeks, you’d never press your small warm chest
against her wide brown wing again, my love,
would never remember
where the hell I laid her body,
lost the grave that you needed to touch and
maybe walk on and sing to,
But this wasn’t your life.
That instead was summed up,
concentrated into the small pregnant moment when
the flash and squeal of your body being
broken, crushed smashed practically severed,
dazed and shaken and slowly shut down
over the span of a weekend,
and again as it
replayed in my mind --
But these are only words and you can’t
exist in them except as a small sliver,
a fragment of soul, a quick whiff of heartbeat --
but I didn’t lose your grave.
There’s a soggy ground where you were lain, and a small wooden
plaque over your bones which painted with the words:
in pace requiescat,
which I admit I only know from Amontillado,
and the day and month and the year that you died
because you, the great mystery, have no birth date.
And I would proceed to cry and hate so many people,
myself, and you, and firstly my lovely parents,
who allowed you to die and pretended to apologize,
but most of all I would hate the world,
for swallowing up and making me think
that a part of your flesh, sloshy like the soil,
was absorbed and embodied as fresh growth on your
large drooping willow tree
and that if I stroke it,
when I touch it with these fat white fingers and let
the bark pierce my skin roughly,
rub it red and ****** dry,
that I am touching you
and letting you know
I remember and that Chase -- you spilling of bird
***** and calcified ****
that somehow became a grayish soul that God hardly
gave enough moons --
I hit you with a door
trying to close it,
but less sorry that I killed you and more sorry
that it was because, out of grandmotherly fear,
I never let you learn how to fly,
I clipped your wings and you, and we were so clumsy
that you ambled head first into its already severing crack
I hope wherever the hell you might be --
birdy paradise, Dante’s hell where lovers fly and that is torment --
that you have wings,
and they aren’t clipped,
and someone cleans up your ****.
Sometimes a bird is just a bird.
Am I pathetic for being so consumed by grief over a literal cockatiel? It's not even a metaphor, guys.