Song for Bird and Myself

Jack Spicer

"Song for Bird and Myself"

I am dissatisfied with my poetry.
I am dissatisfied with my sex life.
I am dissatisfied with the angels I believe in.
Neoclassical like Bird,
Distrusting the reality
of every note.
We blow the sentence pure and real
Like chewing angels.

"Listen, Bird, why do we have to sit here dying
in a half-furnished room?
The rest of the combo
Is safe in houses
Blowing bird-brained Dixieland,
How warm and free they are.
What right
Can't stay away from the sounds.
We're crazy, Jack
We gotta stay here 'til
They come and get us."

Neo-classical like Bird.
Once two birds got into the Rare Book Room.
Miss Swift said,
Call a custodian
Put crumbs on the outside of the window

Let them
Come outside."

The soft line strains
Not to be neo-classical.
But Miss Swift went to lunch. They
Called a custodian.
Four came.
Armed like Myrmidons, they
Killed the birds.
Miss Munsterberg
Who was the first
American translator of Rilke
"Suppose one of them
Had been the Holy Ghost."
Miss Swift,
Who was back from lunch,
But the poem isn't over.
It keeps going
Long after everybody
Has settled down comfortably into laughter.
The bastards
On the other side of the paper
Keep laughing.
THE POEM ISN'T OVER. Butterflies.
I knew there would be butterflies
For butterflies represent the lost soul
Represent the way the wind wanders
Represent the bodies
We only clasp in the middle of a poem.
See, the stars have faded.
There are only butterflies. Listen to
The terrible sound of their wings moving.
The poem isn't over.

Have you ever wrestled with a bird,
You idiotic reader?
Jacob wrestled with an angel.
(I remind you of the image)
Or a butterfly
Have you ever wrestled with a single butterfly?
Sex is no longer important.
Colors take the form of wings. Words
Have got to be said.
A butterfly,
A bird,
Planted at the heart of being afraid of dying.
Let the wings say
What the wings mean
Terrible and pure.

The horse
In Cocteau
Is as neo-classical an idea as one can manage.
Writes all our poetry for us
Is Gertrude Stein
Is God
Is the needle for which
God help us
There is no substitute
Or the Ace of Swords
When you are telling a fortune
Who tells death.
Or the Jack of Hearts
Whose gypsy fortune we clasp
In the middle of a poem.

"And are we angels, Bird?"
"That's what we're trying to tell 'em, Jack
There aren't any angels except when
You and me blow'em."

So Bird and I sing
Outside your window
So Bird and I die
Outside your window.
This is the wonderful world of Dixieland
The bloody motherfucking Holy Ghost.
This is the end of the poem.
You can start laughing, you bastards. This is
The end of the poem.