It was the year of the teacup pup, a particularly hard autumn for dog abhorers who adored tea. That year pups were born in teacups. Tea ladies with tea sets who had tea parties in tea gardens tended to turn around to find umpteen teeny terriers, which were all the rage that year.
It was the year my sister told me about head shops—black-lit storefronts that sold hippie heads—ones of young women with long honey hair and Afro-ed boys with tender eyes. My plan was to buy a pugnacious head, a head with a sharp brain and a loud mouth, but on my way to purchase this head, instead, I found a poem. The year of teacups, the year of objet trouvé, the year language took a turn.
It was the year before avifauna fully emigrated from urban areas, a couple holdouts still hopping on our city blocks. That year the children of Manhattan Skyped for one last try to keep wing-filled skies. At high noon on an extraordinary day, each kid uncaged his and her singular feathered friend—canaries and cockatiels, parakeets and parrotlets, lovebirds, macaws, and cockatoos too. From Battery City Park to Washington Heights, the swarm of emerald greens and ceruleans, of scarlets and apricots, jellybean gold and rose-breasted pink, a river blanket of birds streamed overhead—a beacon of color, a beaming delight. Even the pigeons on the pavement marveled.
Martine Bellen is the author of eight collections of poetry, including WABAC MACHINE (Furniture Press Books) and TALES OF MURASAKI AND OTHER POEMS (Sun & Moon Press). Forthcoming in 2015 is THIS AMAZING CAGE OF LIGHT: NEW AND SELECTED POEMS (Spuyten Duyvil Press). As a librettist, Bellen wrote the text for AH! OPERA NO-OPERA, which had its world premiere at REDCAT and cowrote the text for the monodroma opera MOON IN THE MIRROR with Zhang Er (composer Stephen Dembski), which will premiere in 2015 at Flushing Town Hall in Queens, NY. For more about Martine Bellen, please visit http://www.martinebellen.com.