J.T. Barbarese

Whirlybird & Poets
September 25, 2021 Barbarese J.T.



This whirlybird
caught in the frame
of the bathroom window
opened to let out the steam—
will not now be
what nature intended
it to be—
a sycamore tree.
But what at last are intentions?
You intended to do
so much more with what you had.
Now look at you.

What they do is
Sit in a room by themselves and talk to the animals
The blue hen on the Boulevard St. Germaine
The cow off by herself, Mildred,
Unheard by the herd,
The green duck brilliant as emerald
In the late summer light, making its way against the current,
The giraffe who steps on its cock
Striding regally into the African sunset,
Its shadow like an extension ladder running off to the right,
The parakeet feathered all green,
The low-flying geese over the canal,
The egret and the elegant heron
Nosed like the SST but still in production,
The fawn wandered in off the highway, lost on somebody’s lawn,
The elephant in the wallpaper, the gorilla
For which there’s never any room in any room,
The gorgeous sea anemones
And the turtles, that ignored and silent minority,
Sunning on the fallen limbs of storm-downed trees
Midday, when everyone’s working a real job
Except them and the poets who happen by
Adjusting their sunglasses
Wiping their eyes and mouths
And stepping into the brush to relieve themselves
Of what they can’t bear to carry anymore.

J.T. Barbarese‘s last book of poems is True Does Nothing. Forthcoming later this year is After Prévert, a translation of selected poems from Jacques Prévert’s Paroles.