he doesn’t think
he’s a poet
he just likes
to write things
in his phone
every night
and every morning
he deletes them

birds flying away
at a faster pace than normal
they make her nervous

I like the birds
that fly together
I don’t care how fast
they fly
or where they go
I just like
big bird balls
big bird planet

she worries her son
might be a fascist
she’s got
a little line
that parts her chin
parts the sea
between her and me

I used to like
to break things
now I just like
to make things

now it’s
bird morning after
a dirt cloud night
now it’s
bird easter
in october

she likes
optimistic sayings like
the sun will come out
tomorrow

I worry
she might be right
her son
could be a fascist

I’m talking about
the way things
were things
were way
things were
break that

oh well
now it’s
good bird friday
and the birds
they have risen
they have risen indeed

19 Comments

  1. Jonathan Cardew

    Al, I blew tea out my mouth when I read this title. Kratzian, or what??

    And what a piece! I loved the voice and energy. The opening stanza really sets the tone and pace:

    he doesn’t think
    he’s a poet
    he just likes
    to write things
    in his phone
    every night
    and every morning
    he deletes them

    Such great short lines and enjambement throughout with humor and a very refreshing irreverence. This is so funny:

    she likes
    optimistic sayings like
    the sun will come out
    tomorrow

    Hahaha. So good.

    HOW ABOUTS:

    I’m not much of a poet, so wouldn’t be too confident in giving poetic advice, but what I can see here in the structure and delivery is spot on. Here are some possibles:

    1. POV. I like the bounce between third person and first, but I wonder what it’d be like as just one pov.

    2. I wanted it to keep going, because it’s so good, but may be worth seeing the result of shortening it?

    This has HAD or Booth written all over it! That was a great Saturday read!

    Cheers,
    Jonathan

    • Al Kratz

      Thanks Jonathan. I’ve actually never submitted a poem, so I have no confidence either! I like the POV ideas. Will have to play with that. Oh, and HAD. Oh, HAD. I thought I had given up that addiction, but I might have to give it a try!

      Thanks so much for this weekend. Great to hear your ideas and the reading of everyone’s work this weekend was insanely motivating.

      • Jonathan Cardew

        Al, thanks so much for joining the fun! Glad you got something good from this weekend. I fucking love this piece; I just read it again. You’ll have your HAD!

  2. Len Kuntz

    Hi Al,

    There’s so much at play here. It’s whimsical yet fraught with tension, fear and longing. The way you juxtapose the poet narrator with the unnamed female works really well and adds a lot of depth to the piece. There were tons of great snippets that allude to deeper things going on such as “I like birds that fly together” and then there’s a hopeful rebirth near the end when you write “I used to like to break things now I like to make things,” and also with the “risen” ending. I also really liked the chopped up/ repeat/ word inverse stanza toward the end. A really lyrical and compelling piece. Great job.

  3. Francine Witte

    I don’t think i’ve ever seen a poem by you. But this is great. I really love the feel of it, how it needs to be in these short, flight-like lines. I love dirt cloud night. I love the line in the chin. Really good.

    • Al Kratz

      Thanks Francine! I’ve never submitting any or read any in flash monsters. It’s actually kind of fun having a little bit of a way of working that usually just stays in my journals or on my phone. But, it was fun putting it up here too, so maybe I need to let that go.

  4. Lisa Alletson

    I keep coming back to this poem. I’m intrigued. I love the droll, at times self-deprecating voice combined with the rise to almost a spiritual bent/commentary. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. David O'Connor

    Al, love it, like a catchy song with meaning bouncing through the morning brain (Louise Gluck!). Simply, the title’s sound is a keeper. And the thought of writing all night and deleting in the morning, hits home, almost Buddhist, too true. This is song, thank you!

  6. Jennifer Todhunter

    “he doesn’t think
    he’s a poet
    he just likes
    to write things
    in his phone
    every night
    and every morning
    he deletes them”

    this is really relatable and had me hooked.
    i found the switch in POV a little jarring and wondered if it might be more cohesive if this was written from one POV.

    i love this section:
    “she likes
    optimistic sayings like
    the sun will come out
    tomorrow

    I worry
    she might be right
    her son
    could be a fascist”

    the optimism butted up against the pessimism or what the worry is in this piece. really speaks true to life, how we’re part this is all right, and part, oh shit.

    i don’t think i’ve read a poem by you before, and i really enjoyed this, so thanks for sharing.

  7. Benjamin Niespodziany

    “now it’s
    bird morning after
    a dirt cloud night”

    This reads so breezily and is full of so much reflection and play. Loved reading this poem. Might like to see an extended constraint/restraint where ‘birds’ is featured in every stanza

  8. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Al, I think I recall reading in Jonathan’s course someplace: try something new? I might be paraphrasing, but you’ve done so here. And admirably, I can add. I chuckled aloud at times, with the clever way this poem is woven- the self doubt, the speaker and “she” in combination. And then birds. I love birds. Maybe a little too much. And you made me love them even more here, so thanks.

  9. Kristin Bonilla

    As one who has frequently stated that I am eager for our bird overlords to rise, I fully endorse this poem. Love it. Good Bird Friday, indeed.

  10. Todd Clay Stuart

    Al, I love the conceit of the narrator writing a poem about not being a poet! And what a poem it is! I love the movement. I love the enjambment. I could read a whole book of these!

  11. Wilson Koewing

    Al,

    I didn’t know you had poetry in you! haha. This was funny and really well paced. Just a classic piece of Al Kratz writing in a different form. Happy to read your stuff this weekend, Al. Hope to see you again soon.

    Wilson

  12. Martha Jackson Kaplan

    Oh, God, Al, This is bloody wonderful! I love it all, every stanza. And I love the scramble of the last two stanzas, and yes, they have risen indeed! Thank you, it’s big bird great. (Did I say the sounds sound so well, too?)

  13. John Steines

    Hello Al. I also tuned into that first stanza and gave out a metaphorical ‘yup’. Mien are on paper, sometimes in the dark, and sometimes they won’t let me rest until I write down one more….
    And yes I loved the title, and wondered how you were going to get at that – or around that.
    This: ‘…the way things…were things…were way…things were…break that’ -> To me it signals being stuck or chewed up in a ratchet, then self telling self to break away -> like interrupting the poem while speaking to your self…I love that sort of action.
    Fun to read, and I’m glad the birds have risen! Cheers.

  14. Georgiana Nelsen

    Al,
    One of my best friends mother always called her on Easter with that “Christ the Lord is Risen” and the only response was “he has risen indeed.” That was the whole conversation and I kind of got it, but good bird friday is so much more. Loved this.
    G

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