Tuesday poem: Palm cockatoos
July 16, 2012
Heads like a child’s drawing of bird heads,
huge beaks and feather manes, flopping,
last extant beat-poets, croaking of things
hep and cool. Man, you hit bedrock
on that arching drum, selecting the sticks
that give the deepest echo, sound playing
through tall wooden amplifier,
from dark roots to hazy blow of sky.
You contemplate the waving tops
of tropical trees, plumed angel-head,
stylish in your black daytime rhythm.
Inimitable pulsing punctuation,
beaky accent perched above
the forest’s bright green flow.
(The palm cockatoo is the only wild animal known to select, and possibly to store, sticks for use as musical instruments.)
I am fascinated by palm cockatoos, although I have never even seen one. They live in the far tropical north of Queensland. The tattoo comes from much closer Queanbeyan, just over the border in New South Wales.
So why would you get a tattoo of a bird you have never seen? A little reminder that there are more things in heaven and earth…an encouragement to discover new worlds and boldly go…a cheap and less seedy way of being a pirate?
I don’t know, but I think the tattoo artist did a good job. (Thank you Carbine.) I have posted a black and white photo as the colour one I have makes my skin look a rather alarming yellow: just below nuclear buttercup. I will try and obtain a better photo, as the detail is blurred in this one. But this is my cockatattoo forever looking for sticks. My skin is the drum. Watch your finger!