"Writing poetry is the eradication of all bullshit."

Today, Chase Twichell said (in addition to this post's subject), "From the time I was a child, nature was my higher power, the place I went to see how the world could be or should be."

That statement really spoke to me. I have always, since childhood, rejected notions of humans (read: Americans) as "beastmasters" with a manifest destiny to populate the earth. I always just thought we were another animal, no more or less fortunate for our experience than any other living thing. I always tried to choose what animal I would like to be if I could be one: a small bird, an otter.

There are a lot of birds in my poems lately. Otters do not appear in my poems.

In my family, there is a legend that says when a bird enters the house, a Jensen man dies. When my grandfather died of emphysema, a small bird landed on the open windowsill, sat for a moment and looked in, then flew away.

Once, my great-grandmother heard a bird chirping in a closet in the house. She became very nervous and started trying to find out where the bird was. She ran upstairs, thinking it might be in the attic, but instead she found my uncle having sex with a woman on a squeaky (read: chirping) bed.

And once a bird flew down our chimney and was trapped in our glassed-in fireplace when I was a teenager. We were concerned: was it in the house? Had we averted disater.

Nobody died. Not then, at least.


  1. You otter (sorry, sorry!!) write a poem about that bird in the fireplace.

    The chirping bed's a pretty good one too.

  2. Why not write a poem about/around this entire post? It almost feels like a poem right now.

  3. There is a poem in my manuscript with a section that has a bird caught in a chimney that believes itself to be an omen...I like that bird.

  4. We had that superstition in my house, too (although not specifically about Jensen men)... my grandmother freaked out every time my cat brought a bird into the house, because a bird in the house meant death. What's the origin of this superstition?

    I vote for at least one otter poem!

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.