Locked Heart

Lockedheart copy final

Tom had a bird on his balcony. The bird had a wife. Both birds he assumed had children in the birdhouse. He thought this because the male of the pair kept attacking the reflection of itself in the square mirrors Tom had placed under the balcony railing.

The female bird concerned for the welfare of her mate kept trying to keep it from pecking. But, it had been two days of the woodpecker sound and it was waking Tom.

Tom would pound on the window. He would wave his hands and eventually the bird would take off. But, it would always come back in minutes and hang from the mirror edges. It would peck at its picture. Tom figured the bird lacked the capacity to see that this was itself.

As Tom got older he too would stare back at the reflection of himself and say: “Who is that? (Good thing I am not married and have children.)”

The bird continued to hit the mirror. Eight days later, Tom saw a red liquid, perhaps berry juice, perhaps blood at 7:15 in the morning. He sprayed vinegar on the mirrors thinking it would deter the bird.

The paper Tom had attached a week ago had been pecked off and one of the pieces littered the patio of the apartment two floors down.

Despite the vinegar, the bird pecked. It sounded like it was tired.

The bird’s wife seemed to be on hand as usual chirping with a frenzied beauty.

It was quiet as the wind chimes clanged and tinkled ever so slightly. It made a sound likened to the birds’ chirping and yet it was less even.

Tom asked, “When would the bird understand that he cannot kill the bird reflected unless the bird itself has died?”

Then one faint peck was heard and the wife begged the bird with such beautiful consolation. But, the bird hit the mirror for a while. Its bashing was less forceful, less close in terms of timing as the bashing before it. Maybe its concussions were taking effect. And then there was silence as it must have moved on. Why was the female bird intelligent, and the male so willing to protect her, where she was clearly not in danger? Was he a ‘man’ bashing his head till he could think no more: Dizzy, damaged, and purposeless?

“I have a woman like this in my mind when I am facing my own shadow in the mirror,” Tom said, “Except she neither encourages nor discourages me. She is absent. She was gone long ago. She was not as loving as the bird. She recognized my affections as never-ending, claustrophobic, and permanent.”

“It was so many years ago,” Tom said, “yet there is the constant reminder.

“She affects all my other relationships because she is so beautiful. She is the key that fits my locked heart,” Tom said.

As he stood looking in the mirror, Tom concluded, “I never knew what she was thinking. Why did she contact me, and why is she gone?”

The Past Ages of Sorcerers

Every movement forward is glum

The past ages of sorcerers

Carry sticks to the dungeons.

Mystics for the cosmetic industry

Victims of broken doors

Pallor winds itself around fingers

Colors the house blue

Puts the moon in a half-circle

In the gray sky.

Poverty mistakes beauty for

The revulsion of flesh.

It paints pictures in the reflections,

Drives in the sand of rats,

Carries an offering for the sake of an offering.

There is no change from one generation to the next.

Every family member is scared.

The tired, maudlin, tapestry

Of hopelessness remains

Stagnant, conflicting, and empty.

Kisses are for the beautiful

Or the witty.

The rest of us sit alone.

The beer hall smothers

The glistening night

In the delusion

Of questioning life.

Even lights at the fork of a tree

Limbers not one moment.

Saturations of the thin lines

Of ink bleed into an impassioned

Exercise of disorder.

I know no other Hieronymus Bosch

Except these squiggly lines,

The black and white flitter of time.

Each cup is a reflection of our

Mental notes that promise no separation.

At the party, our conversations

Are cruel. Projections of ourselves

Sitting on the stool.

There is nothing left of this clamoring

Participation, except that the eye gate


Bumblebee and gold,

Old Mr. Government tired on a


Paul Revere and a dog by his


Each stick of dynamite

In the chaotic lair

Draws the gunfire of hope.

Down the dungeons of hell

America’s patriots

Scheme and conspire,

Like Jackson Pollock

With shrapnel.

In every allegory of the self,

Pigs eat at the trough,

People lick each other,

And a small blue vase with baby’s breath

Covers the pavement.

By this time of night Klimt’s

Two lovers have passed out

On a table just beyond the


There’s nothing to say of this

But that the last tender

Moment is a drunken stupor.

“Just give me a bottle,”

The stranger says.

And the white freed man

Ponys up to the stand.

I’ve seen this reference to the impressionists:

The orange cat, barkeep, and the glass.

In one man’s face is the celebration

Renoir or Gauguin, and perhaps Seurat,

But in his face I also see the digital

Revolution, that glitch in a video and more lit trees.

This is Trius, my friend in the beer garden,

Although she says:

“With Ulrike and Celeste.”

The mission in these eyes is money,

For in the past of each replica

In the haze of modernity

Is how every culture is smothered?

That long red line

Is a sad exclamation point

As the iconography floats.

Each charismatic portrait

Gives no birth.

Relationships are terminable,

Disclosed and open to interpretation.

I have shadowed you.

Put my hand as far back

Into you as you could take

And it was evil.

Bartering my single shape:

Limbless, phallic, and