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<B><i>Excerpts from Bird: A Memoir</i></b> Excerpts from Bird: A Memoir

by Susan Mitchell

If you go back far enough in my family tree there are birds.
Tall, hunched-up proud birds and also small skittery birds
that move like shadows in the branches. How do I know this?
Is it something about the face that looks back at me
from mirrors? Something in the way I move? In my voice?
Yes, itís true I can mimic their songs, but only
if I sip warm water first. (Stanza 1)

Bricoleur is what I am. Collector of scraps: sappy, juicy,
unraveling, precipitous. Fragments I yearn together
to build what? A tisket? A tasket? No, I am not one
to nest, not one for whom the tucked-in, the tiggy, tiggy
touchwood matters overmuch. Not for me the serial
order of ducks floating their flotillas
of domestic bliss for all to see. (Stanza 6)

More for me, the branch detached, disconnected, where I,
forswonk, forswatt, into accolades of space swing out. (Stanza 7, lines 1 and 2)

Whistles that blow out feather tongues to tease and tickle.
So much between the self and others is maunder and mumble.
So much is hem and haw, quaver and falsetto. Thus began
my Erotikon thus, my book of books, round-robin encyclical,
round-the-head and round-the-corner, memorabilia
of mobs and rabble, corraling coral with carols, honeycomb
and waspís nest, columns of hum and humble. (Stanza 11)

What cages me? What in this wide hugey plain of language
is not mine to spit and spew? What sounds me
through bars of patois, creoles of my past and future lives?
And what did that story mean? Love makes us other
than human? Rapacious birds of prey? Hybrid creatures? (Stanza 14, lines 1-5)

Works Cited

Mitchell, Susan. Erotikon - Poems. Perennial, New York, 2000

(You really have to get hold of this volume and read the entire poem to get the full effect of Mitchellís force!)

K. Y. Hamilton, BA, MA - Copyright 2006

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