Friday, February 27, 2004

You'll Always Have Parrots

You'll always have parrots, he said in a white room filled with raucous laughter. You know, the deep kind where you laugh from the belly, from the spleen, and all is forgiven. I can just see Bogey on the runway, the fog closing in, and Ingrid's eyes, luminous with something other than hope. it was a time of noble deeds, a time when sacrifice meant something. Sure, there was a war, life was short, and uncertain, but there was a nobility built into the psyche—even the most jaded of men could do something noble—even Rick's piano music in the distance was liberating notes, and Sam at the keys, whispering them home, until they flew off the keyboard like flocks of parrots, in black-and-white. This was before color films encircled the dreamless, and snared those trapped in waiting rooms between worlds, homeless, without a country, allegiance. Notes circling in a room seductive with smoke, wheeling banking, landing in the nascent shell of the ear. The shore and the sea were one thing—like horizon and fog. Yesterday it hailed so hard that Oakland was covered in a blanket of white. I stood under a tree and let the hail pound me, I was raucous with laughter, filled with the delirium of a child waiting to witness nature up close. in the swirling eddies I gathered up hail like handfuls of peas, and lobbed them at passing cars. The freeway came to a standstill, you could hear the sounds that the city usually swallows, unbelievable. I could hear the neighbor's parrot having a laugh after all. Parrots in the rain on a Thursday, in the rain. Aguacero, a real downpour. I am reminded of César Vallejo's Paris in the Rain. Did we ever have Paris? A parrot is speaking poetry to the rain, flocks of escaped parrots in the eucalyptus trees are dancing on the branches, gaudy fruit. I'm thinking of Dante and Beatrice, and Bogey and Ingrid laughing raucously, because they could.

No comments: