This is Lies, I’m Sitting Down

Dear Islanders,

Write some things. I want to read them. I’m bored here on sentry duty, watching the ships (somewhere, beyond the sea). I’m feeling old and lonely and worrying about bedsores because my only exercise is masturbation. No, I do pull-ups too.

Anyways… there’s a newish Julie Doiron song called ‘Consolation Prize’ and I just heard it and learned it wasn’t an Orange Juice cover. Oh well. It’s on this pretty rad mix.

Also, this happens:

Because I notice such things, I notice a bird. It’s a mina bird, which means it’s probably an escaped pet. It looks hungry and distraught. I walk up to the bird and hold out a scrap of the bread we’d brought to make sandwiches. The bird is unafraid and eagerly perches on my forefinger while he eats. Mina birds can talk, and this one keeps repeating, “Simon Says” over and over.

I want to clench my fist and crush his spindly little legs. I’m convinced he’s related to the Wandering Jew, to Simon Laecadameon, to the Simon of the letter with the knives and thumbs. The bird eats contentedly and choruses that name, or that child’s game. I let him finish the bread and fly off. He only goes a few feet, stops, tilts his head 30 degrees and stares at my chest. “Simon Says. Simon Says.”

Laura hardly watches and isn’t listening. She’s busy studying her map. We’d driven to the exact center-point out of a kind of poetic impulse, but really we should be canvassing the closest town. I take Laura’s shoulder in my hand and squeeze harder than I mean to. She’s angry until I say “Listen” and she hears the intensity in my voice and then the name coming out of the bird. She folds up her map.

The mina bird returns his head to its standard position and hops to a slightly further branch. Laura, not wanting the bird to leave us, immediately fetches another piece of bread from the car and places it in my still-open hand. The mina resumes his perch on my finger, begins pecking at the bread. His talons dig into my skin and his beak punctures me when he strikes after the last crumbs. He flies off again, leaving my hand welling up with blood from a dozen tiny pricks.

This time, the mina bird does not stop his flight to watch me. He calls out his “Simon Says” a few times while still in earshot and then we lose track of him in the forest. Laura and I climb back into the car and drive to the town. I bleed slowly onto the steering wheel. We don’t say anything except to clarify directions.


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January 2009
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