Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Ravens; Dare I say I'm at 1 Kilobunny?

I forgot to post two raven poems a reader looked forward to. I have a third but it's not soup yet.

My Spirit Guides

Withered in the sizzling afternoon,
black smokestacks of glisten,
dark wings dumbstruck silver:
wet ravens exfoliating steam.
I grok their raucous caws, listen:

Not the kookaburra in the eucalyptus
nor the turkey vulture in the date palm,
more the great heron stabbing fish
at the center of all birds, a calm
so large no feather raised
against the wind denies it,
no pinion, quill or tail recedes
without shifting the air's resistance
toward it.

Ravens on rooftops and rails
shine bright silver to other birds.
I bless the gin rummy of their tails,
black angels with their secret wurd,
but I won’t trust them. Signs
follow wonders, wonders, faith:
these birds are not divine—
psychosis and poetry are twins
while prophecy's another thing.



Raven pecks a pine,
click click click like a woodpecker
to fool me, then cries
craah craah craah and flaps
black-fingered wings away.

An iridescent sheen
creasing the neck
betrays his monotone
like a film of oil on water.

Black eyes see no color,
though black beak eats anything,
going where vultures can't--
in the middle of roads, quick to rise
before wheels arrive.

The Tlingit Indians
have two clans:
Either you are a raven
or an eagle.

I want to be a raven.

(published in my first book, Elementary)


I'll return to Sine Wave tomorrow.

My mood is holding--dare I venture to say I'm at 1 Kilobunny? To assert such a notion scares the dickens out of me, because I know how thin the paper is on the closet door where the monster hides, waiting to devour me. I have an immense respect for depression, the kind of respect Sigfried must have for tigers--or was it Roy? Whichever one was dragged across the stage by the neck. I'm never safe and I only have today. It is through my actions that I live, while remembering that speech is an action and that inaction is also an action.

Thine in Truth and Art,

Dr. Craig Chaffin


  1. I know how thin the paper is on the closet door where the monster hides, waiting to devour me.

    he has ahold of my ankle, but after this cappuccino, he best be ready for a fight, yea?

    I need a secret place to put my inner thoughts - sometimes I feel sadness, but rarely can explain why. I just need a place where no one can find me, then perhaps I might find myself.

    (hopefully somewhere beside the sea) :)

    have a wonderful day, my friend.

  2. I really like these lines: "black smokestacks of glisten" and "I bless the gin rummy of their tails." Nice poems!

  3. I read this post late last night and almost commented but was in such an odd, moodless mood (ever feel as though you're completely disconnected from your body?) that I decided to wait until the hot white light of day to see if the moodless mood had abated--alas, I'm still not here.

    What I was going to say was that I was relieved to read what you said about it scaring the dickens out of you, this new trend in which your mood is aloft and stable. I've always had a secret and mostly unexpressed dread of happiness. Unexpressed because it ain't kosher, apparently, to say out loud that happiness scares me shitless or that I distrust it. In a poetry writing class in which each student was required to write down three phrases then toss them into a hat from which their hapless classmates would draw those phrases and compose a poem, one of my phrases, much to the dismay of the optimistic young man who drew one of my slips of paper said:

    Happiness is over-rated.

    He said: I don't know what to do with this.

    I smiled and said: I don't either.

    (one of my other phrases was one of the truest things my father ever bothered to say to me: "Laurel, you're never going to meet your husband in a bar.")

    I'm very glad to read of kilobunnies instead of kilorats. Perhaps I should rethink the blog nickname I've bestowed upon you.

    Good day to you, sir. I most go now and find myself and put found self back in body.

  4. Cherilyn, you sound too feisty to be depressed. Too much piss and vinegar. But if you meet Captain Melancholy, don't fight him, accept him and nibble around the edges until he's gone.

    Laurel, your state moves me, I know it well--it's the beginning of what psychiatrists term "dissociation." In serious cases it can lead to walking around in a fugue state. One fella did this all the time, including at work, without sleep, until he collapsed after a month.
    The best remedy I've found, provided your neurotransmitters haven't completely tanked, is to do something physical; walk the dog, vacuum, do the dishes, roll down a grass hummock, make something out of clay. Man's brain developed because of his fingers--one theory I endorse.

    And Laurel, one thing I admire about you is that you don't just post little tidbits to increase your blog traffic; you write what you want/need to write.

  5. Twitches-- that line, "black smokestacks of glisten" was the one I was most tempted to change; but the poem is so old now I don't feel like doing it. I thought it was a real stretch for metaphor. Glad you liked it.

  6. (grin)

    Blog traffic schlog traffic. I ain't in this for the numbers. I wince a little bit when I see site meters and people commenting on how many hits their blog has accumulated or what inane search engine phrase landed them an unexpecting reader. I'd only be interested in numbers if it was copies of books. The number of hits is virtually meaningless. I visit my favorite blogs numerous times in one day to reread posts or add comments. So a million hits on any given blog might represent 500,00 from me alone. (grin)

    Seriously though, I began a private blog a few years ago and agonized long and hard about making it public. I do enjoy the sense of community that blogging encourages but at times, I also find myself wincing at how me me me the whole thing is. Aren't we all so damned fascinating and self-involved? (smile) Almost every day, I'm in love with and in loathing with blogging. I try, always, to use my blog for what I first intended it as, a place for me to write. I have caught myself writing with an awareness of audience and that bothers me so much I can't really articulate the level to which it gets under my skin and disappoints me because it feels as though I'm committing a sin and not writing for me, not writing real-ly.

    I write what I wanna write on my blog, dammit. If folks read it, cool. If they don't, cool.

    I ain't in it for the numbers. The friends I've made along the way are nice though. (smile)

    And yes, dear doctor, you've hit the nail on the head in both diagnosis and cure. I exercise every day because I've always had a tendencey to dissociate rather easily. It was my sole defense mechanism againt some rather direct and daily ostracism I endured during my adolesence.

    Speaking of which, I must go move my body right now.

    Oh, and hey...I ain't judging anyone else regarding my comments above. Everyone blogs for different reasons. Some folks live and die by how many hits they're getting or how many comments and that's fine by me. It just ain't how I live.


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