Fauna Boy

Inspired by and dedicated to my son, age 8.


I’ve seen him
foxing in the evening
through the quieted streets,
homba in lapine.

I’ve seen him
dogging on a lead
on the pavements by houses,
unleashed through a grassy park.

I’ve seen him
soaring down, flapping up
on trees, wires, poles, fences,
arcing air or flitting ground.

In winged guises he is most multiple:
crow, gull, jay, sparrow, finch,
and once, no, twice, I saw him
as that strange graceful hermit, heron.

I’ve seen him
as darting rabbit too
and snail with slow-seeking horns
and the occasional grey-clad squirrel.

They call him Beastie

and these are not his only forms, no,
these are merely his city-wise shapes,
appropriate fauna for physical eyes.

But also…

I’ve seen him
foxing through my dreams,
speaking not in vulpine barks but
people-voiced words of guidance.

I’ve seen him
dog-headed and gorilla-bodied
in hat and coat, swing from rooftop
to lamp-post, light a stogie, loiter.

I’ve seen him
with wings of goshawk
on keen-clawed mongoose
flying down with grinning fangs.

I’ve felt him
in oceanic dreaming,
as coiling octopus, gliding manta,
coruscating cuttlefish.

Beastie is all of these

and so many more
by day and night and dream
beside us and inside us.

And some say

they’ve seen him,
strangest form of all,

as a little boy.


(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)



All the animals were gathering into it and hubbing themselves up and up into a hive-mind  affirmation:  I can do this.  Fox bit rabbit’s foot and rabbit’s other foot thumped badger’s nose just as badger was clamping teeth onto bear’s thick excuse for a neck and well, bear was just kind of luxuriating in all the cute little teething going on about him and upon his hairy hard-to-harm hide.  The vast layering and undulating wash of animal sounds was not a cacophony, but a busy-convention humming rumble that rose and splashed and heaped again:  yaps, whines, growls, chirps, squawks, hisses, snorts, hoots, purrs, shrieks, and quacks.  An outright roar or two was voiced, and here and there a grating screech or a quavering paean.  And everywhere a continuous undercurrent of snuffling, slavering, gurgling, and wheezing, out of which rose up yet more of the caterwauling, grunts, barks, moans, squeals, warbles, gobbles, snarls, squeaks, bellows, bleats, croaks, and calls of all kinds.  Gazelle gashed ape just as ape grasped hold of hawk while hawk was flapping upside buffalo’s scruffy head and buffalo had been nodding off to the hectic-gorgeous exhibition of a bird of paradise stropping about before him as if for all the world the ravishing little thing meant to take the burly bovine down with sheer showmanship.  And just so sweeping horns and spiraling horns and curling horns and cloven and solid hooves and unsheathed claws and bared fangs and slashing beaks and batting paws and beating pinions and clutching talons and thrusting tusks and limbs and snouts and flanks and muscle and fat and fur and scales and skins collided carnival and kaleidoscopic.

Yes, the animals were gathering into it and hub hub hubbing themselves up into a hive-mind determination:  I can do this.  They shoved in and shoved in and snapped and raked and champed at each other in cooperative menace.  And the brain case fit them all, snug but always with room for one more as they poured in and in, battling and mauling and mangling and goring with good humour and team spirit.  The bites and stabs became more sincere and at last pelts were pierced and pain-shrieks erupted in tandem with gouts and fountains of dark hot blood spraying and spouting on brown and gold and black and auburn and blue and grey and white and tawny bodies that turned crimson-splotched, deep-soaked with sopping scarlet.

And the brain case began to glow, dim first, then brighter, and its casing gleamed and buzzed and juddered and throbbed, thrumming all the animal sounds into a careening vibrato that would scare the pants off any hominid hombre west of any place whatsoever.  The copious animal bloods mixed and ran down the vibrating walls and pooled down into the grates in the curved bowl of the flooring and began to wet the mouthworks below, a huge smacking of huge lips licked by a vast tongue and a vast sound rasped up out of the throat yet further below and then the vocalisation was released from out of the great animal-packed, internally bleeding head into the hanging air:  I CAN DO THIS.


‘Mass Distraction’ by Bill Rogers (aka Giveawayboy)

For the Bird

I started to dedicate it
to you, ‘my feathered friend’.
Are you? Are we friends?
I feel, I genuinely do, as if we are.

Whence this feel of kinship? As if
we two were fish-hearts caught up
in a kith-and-creel of familial ligature,
as if the whole world-boat were
a know-country for old kin
(bird-boy and ape-jay knuckling
through the undergrowth again!).

‘But as if,’ I can hear the rejoinding cries,
‘is if-and-only-if as applies.’

The morph-police are onto us, hide!
Their anthropo-mechano-allo-zoo
boss-embossed bullets bleed us
too true and in a bone-sickening instant
all our meta-tricks crunch phoric
beneath their see-through nightsticks.

‘What do you think you are,
indigenous?’ they pigeon us
(and you’re not even that bird!).

Ach, who gives a flying fact?
(I’d give them the bird,
were you mine to give,
but not that word, as I live.)

Look, friends or no (I speak
from a bleeding mouth and maybe
that’s the only way)
your motion, oh bird of my brow-
beating, maps me out
in topographic greeting,
now don’t laugh! Look:

the zag and tremble-flit,
controlled shudder of bones,
the riffle, the dart, hop and blur,
up you whir, touch down again
as you please, and with ease as
consummate as grift your ways
are out of mind most days, until
in a trice you track in front of my footpath
or group-wing across my eyes’ sky
and draw my blood up and out
in patterns I hadn’t guessed.

You, you, my feathered friend,
brought to gut immediacy for me
that I was on a gigantic ball winging orbital
through galactic expanses brimming
with just such dances as you
and your kind-kin exhibit ceaselessly
could we, the self-policing monkey bunch,
but trouble to fish-leap a flash
(bloody words a spilling) alongside
your kith-keel and feel with fear
the joint-not-joint akimbo.

How could I not call you friend
when you benedict me so?

(Photo by Flannery O’Kafka)