Issue 4: Subjectivity vs. Objectivity
A Publication of the USF MFA in Writing Program


THE BIRD OF PARADISE; ECSTATIC VISION AS A FUNCTION OF
COPYRIGHT LAWS; AND THE AWESOME PROFESSIONALISM OF A
POOCH WITH FLOPPY EARS


Oh what authority gives
existence its surprise?

W.H. Auden
(The Sea and The Mirror)


It wasn’t until I had actually thrown the stick into the water and was watching
      my pooch’s floppy brown ears trace straight wakes out to retrieve it,
I noticed the air around the splashpoint had gelled into the shape of a tree,
huge,
maybe 200 feet high,
made out of nothing,
wetness, thick air,
and a gull was landing on one of its boughs:
I had dropped off the end of a thought into a poem.
I had meandered from one of the more comfortable ruts of my ordinary thinking into
    A Timeless Moment.
An Important Lesson was cracking out of the shell between discourse and the
      extravaganza even as I watched:

as Mr. Jones swam through waves that showed, then hid, then showed again his bobbing
      glint of stick,
all the spilled lemons & rubies & tasty emeralds & blueberriest of cobalts he splashed out
      of the water
were being sucked from the bay by the gull through the tree
and flung, as voice, through its beak
into the whole of the western sky
where yellows and reds and greens and blues eddied in pools and settled in layers
that pushed the sun into the sea.

And when the bottom of the sun touched the top of the water, that instant,
the bird in profile became the Actual Colour and Actual Shape of the crowing
      Kellogg’s Corn Flakes rooster;
and the doggie grabbed the stick, circled right,
and paddled back to shore.

When he swam through the trunk,
it disappeared,
just like that,
and the gull rested on the flexed muscle of a gust.

And when he reached the beach, he dropped the stick at my feet, slunk back to the
      water’s edge on paws that left pieces of sky in the sand,
and, blueberries growing on his whiskers,
watched my every move.
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