Sunday, May 25, 2014

THE BIRDS OF BUSHWICK

There are the birds first

And then very little else until
The children go to school
And then the growing hush of cars
And the lifting and dropping of garbage can lids
And the sharpness of keys
And phone calls to assure someone is on the way
And sometimes the unfurling of umbrellas
And before the steps that lead away
The murmurs of people kissing and saying goodbye

And in the small silences
There are the birds still

And then old men come out onto stoops
To discuss what doesn’t really matter
And women laugh with and at each other
And speak in languages and accents old or new
And rich or crude

And as you and I speak in this instant
There are the birds too

And then younger men step out to smoke
And they speak to each other
As if they hate one another
As if something is coming quick to call them out
And I do not know whether to believe it or not

I wish they would just hear
That there are the birds also

And at some point the children come back
And it seems that all they know how to do
Is squeal and stampede and find little rhythms
And exert insurmountable amounts of raw energy
And I am glad they do
And I notice a different hush much farther off
The way it undulates
And it is just a plane coming or going
I realize the ticking of bike spokes turning
And the quick rush of wind
As a skinny man goes by

And he can’t hear until he stops
That there are birds overhead

And then the rolling wheels
Of carts laden with laundry
And the children again stomping ahead or behind
As women and men talk about money and cousins
And the rustling of plastic bags filled with groceries
And phone calls now discussing what to do
And where to go tonight
And music from cars seems louder now
And steps seem to be slower than before
And there is laughing and cussing and impressions
And crying every once in a while
But lots of singing
And at one point you realize it has stopped


But there are the birds still

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