These are revolutionary times. When a sparrow
builds a nest and hatches its eggs under
my air conditioner. At dawn, I’m awoken by wings
fluttering, twig movement, chirping, small
noises, not motorcycles, shuffling, as if digging
the air for space, and then after annoying weeks,
during which I consider daily lifting
the air conditioner and shooing the sparrow or
sparrows away, flinging the eggs into space,
I’m that bothered by their constant dithering, adjustments,
and then one morning I hear peeping, hatching,
not hatching, I imagine the eggs cracking
and baby sparrows chomping their beaks for food,
and a sparrow, or sparrows, coming and going, I’ve given
birth, it appears, forgone my sleep for another
sparrow or two or three, and who needs them?
These are revolutionary times, when new
species come into existence, old
species die out, sparrows, agitated
buttons of feathers, drone-wired with nickeled-
sized Gattlings, pigeons with radioactive
droppings, my new fledglings (I’m part and parcel—
they’ve kept me awake) are just birds, just
little birds that chirp annoyingly at dawn,
I want to crush them, but I wouldn’t, nor do I love
them, I don’t, but they seem so essential—
if I ceased to hear them, see them I would know
all is lost, as perhaps it will be, although
the “all” has no definition, and would I notice
it was gone? Would anyone notice I was gone?
These are revolutionary times in that oppression
is begetting oppression, and few accept that the lord
gods have deserted eons ago, and nothing
is left of them but vases and rags—splendid
edifices marking tombs they were never interred in
but are the centers of wars, and my fledglings testing their wings,
beating under my air conditioner, what
could be more unnatural? They should have hatched in a tree,
in a forest, are their forests? Have they been bombed,
decimated, chained-sawed out of existence?
We grow where we can. There is nothing unnatural about
a city, no less for sparrows than humans.
Nothing metaphysical, just living, plain
living, that you and I conduct each day.
These are revolutionary times, as are all times,
that all times have been, that tomorrow will be.
I face what I have left, my fledglings and me, I bore
them under my air conditioner, and they will fly
soon and I’ll be conscious of the silence. I hear
them right now, as I’m typing this message. And I know
you, too, have heard something akin, progressive,
oppressor, and I have little confidence
they will survive, yet I convince myself they will,
for how would I live? The sun will burn out, and I see
no arbitrary value in value. Just man-made
ignorance, as if some men, so fearful
of death, were so in love with death they’ll eagerly
squander their own life and the lives of others.