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Brooks Haxton - Unclean

         I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am  
            like an owl of the desert.  I watch, and am 
            as a sparrow alone upon the housetop.   
            Psalm 102

The pelican in scripture is unclean.  It pukes dead fish
onto the hatchlings, and it roosts alone, like Satan
on the Tree of Life.  Nobody told me.  I liked pelicans.
I liked owls, too.  I used to lie awake and listen,
wanting to become an owl, to fly, to see through darkness,
turn my head, and look straight back behind me.  I was
happy, as kids go, but I did not belong in human form.
Sparrows peck grain from fresh dung.  In this world rich
means filthy.  Leopardi, in his high Romantic musings
on the sparrow, does not say the poet is a shitbird, just
that, singing by himself, he acts like one, and wishes
he could feel more like one, unashamed to do so.  Here,
the preacher (burning in his bones with fever, puking
half-digested fish, and hooting, sleepless in the ruins
like the baleful dead) cries:  O Lord, take me not away.

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Added: Nov 10 2005 | Viewed: 1880 times | Comments and analysis of Unclean by Brooks Haxton Comments (8)

Unclean - Comments and Information

Poet: Brooks Haxton
Poem: Unclean
Volume: Uproar
Poem of the Day: Sep 5 2011

Comment 8 of 8, added on October 16th, 2013 at 5:46 AM.
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Comment 7 of 8, added on May 27th, 2013 at 7:47 PM.
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Comment 6 of 8, added on May 27th, 2013 at 10:43 AM.
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