William Michaelian

Poems, Notes, and Drawings

Escape is a Cage

What is it that keeps me saying what I’ve already said? Self-love, perhaps? Indifference? Ignorance? Or is there simply a birdsong mechanism deep in my heart or throat, the purpose of which is to express a prehistoric loss or need? And yet, for the life of me, if I’ve lost something, I don’t know or remember what it is. And what could I, fortunate as I am to perceive such glorious pain and beauty, possibly need? What paltry gain or merchandise? Then again, it’s possible an invisible hand has placed my cage before a mirror — a hand guided by kindness and a sense of humor, and just a touch of loneliness. I see my reflection. Behind me is an open window. Or is it innocence?

Escape is a Cage

Escape is a cage, but only a tiny one;
the sound of a horn that warns of nothing,
bleating its own indifference —

and out I fly, for the hinge between ribs
has broken, and my wings scatter
seeds to the floor.

Give me an ocean;
a basement;

the last blind expedient;
a subway’s flash and roar;
fists against glass;

mountains lost in love;

strange disciples;

the gallows;

a puppy from my childhood.

Between pillars that keep the sky from falling,
sense is dead on the step —

as if someone says, “Mom! Birdie is gone!”

and I wish how I wish, how I wish how I wish

to be back in.

Poems, Slightly Used, January 18, 2011

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Categories: New Poems & Pieces, Poems, Slightly Used

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