South Fork Poetry - Parrot

By Carol Muske-Dukes


You’d sit quietly and suddenly the Parrot would shout,
“Death is the Mother of Beauty!” — and then she’d

Nod and eat a burrito. She was taciturn, but if you
Pushed her, she’d become fiery and cry: “My life
Had stood, a Loaded Gun!” and fan her feathers.

What do you have to offer that is more inventive
Than the Parrot’s glittering discourse? What do you
Have to say that could not be topped by: “The world

Is too much with us,” “Sunset and evening star,”
“We real cool,” & “They feed they lion” —
Or, “Whose woods these are I think I know”?

I think I know, the Parrot protests. I honestly think
I know, but I am so tired of squeaking the same
Profound shimmering insights — & nobody listening!

    “Parrot” is from Carol Muske-Dukes’s new collection of poems, “Twin Cities,” which came out this week. She will read from it on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Guild Hall for Poetry Pairs. Ms. Muske-Dukes, the poet laureate of California, has a house in Springs. She is a professor of English and creative writing at the University of Southern California.