THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System No action is needed
This is your President speaking Please take no action This is only a test Please remain calm and silent
The National Wireless is invisible and everywhere Please take no action No need to be alert Who says this is an Emergency?
Just because I have your number No action is needed This is only a test of what I can do if I choose
No action is needed Please be silent I am in favor of no action No need to be alert THIS IS A TEST
Wild Birds Teach Us
1. How Birds Die
Get caught by a kitty cat: 2.4 billion. Collateral damage of industry: 700 million. Hit a window: 600 million. Hit by car: 214 million. Get poisoned: 72 million. Hit a powerline: 25 million. Get electrocuted: 5 million. Hit a turbine: 234 thousand. Get blinded by city lights and stray. Search in vain for starlight’s guide. Get out of sync with climate change: depart too late, arrive too early. Land in a lake of arsenic. Get your wings fouled in oil. Eat plastic. Eat foil. Eat lead shot. Eat lead shot and have a seizure. Eat poisoned insects and carry their doom. Lose your acre of breeding ground, and so circle the parking lot that was a marsh. Circle and circle, cry and cry. Be a snowy owl in the era of Harry Potter, caged by a reader, expected to prophesy. Be the wild pet of seven billion mammals with hands. Be the last one of your kind, singing and singing.
2. How Birds Live
Fence wire—a throne for singing and singing. Thorns in the blackberry thicket—jewels of safety. A vacant lot, rife with a chance mix—heaven. Wing bars of crimson, mustard, moss—kinfolk. A fat worm, a ripe seed, a caught beetle—enough. Twig feet on a twig after a thousand miles—rest. Bill tucked under a wing—spiral home. Cast-off thread and thistledown—snug nest A silence into which to put a few water notes—duet. Breeding season, egg season, fledgling season—destiny. Wings in the mist riding, gliding—no trace. Heart-surge song rising from inside—beauty’s custodian. A short, intense, breathless life—grace.
At Klamath Marsh
Say it: Klamath… Klamath Marsh. Can you feel the ooze, the muddy ease, the seep and soft welcome and antiquity of water? Can you follow the canoe trail
through grasses that part along a seam your prow divides? Can you feel the tingle of a thousand geese lifting off, beating their wind-drum staccato hum of yearning?
Can you see how the sun layers color up from the ripple skin into strata of the sky? Can you apprehend through time’s mist how the people heaped wocus root, dyed yellow
baskets with seed, lined pits with tule to store a season of ripe survival? Can you still hear the smoky story of children leaving their spirit voices but burrowing
down through the fire to get away? Can you stand by the water with a friend, who tells what the tribe was, and will be? Can you name the wocus, the cuicui,
lamprey, dace, the snubnose chub, willow, cattail, tule, beaked sedge, spikerush, diatomaceous earth, hemic, sapric, limnic, the algae, the eagle tree, pelicans skimming
flat reflections stern as glass? So say it, Klamath… Klamath Marsh, and sag into muck, loyal to old ways, deep beliefs, sturdy honor in concentric ooze, each
thud of your steps on hollow ground learning from the wocus root how to be home here, how to be woven in, to be rooted deep in sacred mud.
“How do you get away with it, sir— you know, with all those accusations you…?”
“I think I’ll use a nine iron… I hate the rough… Love the nine, hate the rough… do you ever notice how the caddie… You have to train the caddie to be a caddie….”
“Do you think I’ll be confirmed, sir?”
“It’s all in the backswing, really… a good backswing, nothing can stop you.”
“But the FBI…”
“Just be glad I fired Comey! If he was… Now, watch how I do this, with the nine… Hey, nine justices! That’s a good number! With nine, you can do anything. Anything! You ever notice how… Now, just watch this….”
Kim Stafford is the founding director of the Northwest Writing Institute at Lewis & Clark College, author of a dozen books of poetry and prose, and Oregon’s ninth Poet Laureate.