THE BIRDS by E. Tracy Grinnell

The birds, or natural numbers

We are no longer young in weather.

–Gertrude Stein, History, or Messages from History

They kept coming at him from the air, silent save for the beating wings.  The terrible, fluttering wings.

–Daphne du Maurier, The Birds


THE BIRDS

is a rhyme, a repetition, or no reason
a throat closes, dying of words—
Sphinx
from the Greek meaning “to strangle”—
an ecstatic mind becomes your own worst enemy
your own madness is what you see, as nature turning against you
an ecstatic mind becomes your own worst enemy
from the Greek meaning “to strangle”—
a throat closes, dying of words—
Sphinx
is a rhyme, a repetition, or no reason


THE BIRDS

I shall hardly read the mystery of your riddle
floating the shoreline like a habit
silent without voices, strings, winds
the eye like a moon, part of the weather is
your own madness, is what you see as nature turning against you
the eye like a moon, part of the weather is
silent without voices, strings, winds
floating the shoreline like a habit
I shall hardly read the mystery of your riddle


THE BIRDS

the terroir, of amnesia
no wind, and the grey sea calm and full
the sensation of not moving when climbing a moving staircase
the machine and the one upon it—episodically, fleeing—blur
in flight, as though disappearing to the desired locality, lost momentarily in
your own madness is what you see as nature, turning against you
in flight, as though disappearing to the desired locality, lost momentarily in
the machine and the one upon it—episodically, fleeing—blur
the sensation of not moving when climbing a moving staircase
no wind, and the grey sea calm and full
the terroir, of amnesia


THE BIRDS

a sonorous animal moves with and within the landscape it also defines
no more capable of turning
on than away
the sadness in madness, a system rearranged that by nature’s law
—its nature to bend, to become—reads itself
into
the order of disorder, riding the waves in a manner of waiting
out
your own, madness is what you see as nature turning against you
the order of disorder, riding the waves in a manner of waiting
out
—its nature to bend, to become—reads itself
into
the sadness in madness, a system rearranged that by nature’s law
no more capable of turning
on than away
a sonorous animal moves with and within the landscape it also defines


THE BIRDS

who did not know what it was to struggle in darkness
with a flock of birds as light, a liquid lachrymose abundance
eyebeam or optic nerve battering the landscape
cast chiaroscuro and kept at arm’s length
your own madness is what you see as nature, turning against you
cast chiaroscuro and kept at arm’s length
eyebeam or optic nerve battering the landscape
with a flock of birds as light, a liquid lachrymose abundance
who did not know what it was to struggle in darkness


THE BIRDS

wild with the deft precision of machines, colourless as salt
pale and ashen as the future—tense, unstrung in the ebb
of a surge, every accident in order—descending in spiral
a million years of memory culminates in a point, it moves
your own madness, is what you see as nature turning, against you
a million years of memory culminates in a point, it moves
of a surge, every accident in order—descending in spiral
pale and ashen as the future—tense, unstrung in the ebb
wild with the deft precision of machines, colourless as salt


THE BIRDS

every river to the sea inclines us to go by kind
by a cold lens bound to the fears of our weathers
terror
en face not facing, we are eventually deserted
for each to each reveals what we already knew as
your own madness is what you see as nature turning against you
for each to each reveals what we already knew as
terror
en face not facing, we are eventually deserted
by a cold lens bound to the fears of our weathers
every river to the sea inclines us to go by kind

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

E. Tracy Grinnell is the author of Helen: A Fugue (Belladonna Elder Series #1, 2008), Some Clear Souvenir (O Books, 2006), and Music or Forgetting (O Books, 2001), as well as the limited edition chapbooks Mirrorly, A Window (flynpyntar, 2009), Leukadia (Trafficker Press, 2008), Hell and Lower Evil (Lyre Lyre Pants on Fire, 2008), Humoresque (Blood Pudding/Dusie #3, 2008) Quadriga, a collaboration with Paul Foster Johnson (gong chapbooks, 2006), Of the Frame (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2004), and Harmonics(Melodeon Poetry Systems, 2000). She is the founding editor of Litmus Press and Aufgabe, and she lives in Brooklyn.

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