Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Grackles on Montrose" by Mark Doty

Eight o’clock, warm Houston night, and in the parking lot
the grackles hold forth royally, in thick trees on the lip of traffic,

and either they’re oblivious to the street-rush
and come-and-go at the Kroger or else they actually like it,

our hurry a useful counter to their tintinnabulation.
Now one’s doing the Really Creaky Hinge, making it last a long time;

now Drop the Tin Can, glissando, then Limping Siren,
then it’s back to the Hinge done with a caesura

midstream, so it becomes a Recalcitrant Double Entry.
What are they up to, these late, randy singers,

who seem to shiver the whole tree in pleasure
when somebody gets off a really fierce line,

aerial gang of pirate deejays remixing their sonics
above the median strip all up and down the block

from here to the Taco Cabana? They sample Bad Brakes,
they do Tea Kettle in Hell, Slidewhistle into Car Alarm,

Firecracker with a Bright Report, and every feathered body—
how many of them are there, obscured by dense green?

seems to cackle over that one, incendiary rippling, pure
delight, imperious and impure singing: the city’s traffic in tongues,

polyglot cantata, awry, expansive, new.


  1. haha you should read this in the honors college commons at one of those poetry readings! ;)

  2. I have read this before. Maybe one of us should read it at Taft Coffee, if they ever fucking let us read.

    That woman!