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)


Gold Wing Sing It (draft 1)

Gold wing sing it.


Transluce the morning in a wing-beat.

Transmute the sunlight unleashed at long last.

Refulge it on down to us in black-outlined drops.


Transluce clamp-lipped hearts with heavy dripping gold-shine

 on wing, awning of black-ridged gold-throb dipping

   down in fleet flotilla, your sweet-winged sisters

     and brothers listing earthward also.


Aye, all wings!  Transluce the morn-light!


Aurify it amply, umbered amber lambent, bent in flap,

 snapped out in flight, the abandoned breast-jump of birds

   for which no words suffice and yet no mean receiver

     can abide in silence.


Golden-folded rays imbue beast-men such as I who cry out

   in too-fast words fastwards at your captured, ambered,

     slowed rich flow-wing.


Golden-fisted gobble, the honeyed light of your flight

  on hairy paws and belched back in skyward sticky roars.


We cannot match grace with you.

This growling is our only poesis or part played.


Forgive our need to lung it back

 and our round sung so grossly,

   and your wings returned to you all chewed,

     the pellucid swatches damped and darkened

       by our mawing happy ululations,

         half-mad emulations of your gold wing song.


But how can we be silent when you benedict us so?

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)

Ornithological Poetics

Ok, what is it—
the bird and the word
a bird in the hand
a word in the mouth
no, I never
held a bird
it’s the bird in flight
ha, and the word too, I guess
birds and words on wing
‘nature writing’, my first assay
and I didn’t know
(now I know)
what I’d say

(photo by Flannery O’Kafka)