They come and go and they tell you things.

Some of them love you, some of them

take your thrown scraps of past

like pigeons with shrapnel of bread, stuff.


The room’s darkest corner has an alcove.

A parrot is there and his gimleted stare keeps on.

Parrots never smile. This caged one succeeds

in being unobtrusive; it’s no mean feat

for a bird so violent of plumage

(constellations hide there).

He never says anything and sleeps when you do.

Alert, his perching-bar is ragged, unstranded

by the fretful claws of months.


His food is what he sees. He thinks he is guarding you.




An odd little poem this one. I’m pretty sure it was written after hearing Suzanne Vega’s song ‘Marlene on the Wall’, except of course here it’s not a picture that keeps watch, but an animal. Parrots never smile? Not sure about that for starters. Is there such a thing as inverted anthropomorphism? They don’t express a mouth/beak movement equating to a human smile; doesn’t mean they’re not feeling it…Anyway, the person in this was meant to be an actual journalist and the parrot’s simply journalistic, watching with more acuity than it’s owner I’d like to think. There, the non-inverted variety to make up.