Avium Morbum MMXVII


Photo by Cameren Harper, May 2017

This spring, it seemingly isn’t enough
that we’ve once again converted our porch
into a brood-rearing safe haven:
The once-adorable, amiable models
of avian parental prowess that have been
gracing us with their proximity
for years, are now a couple of flighty,
black & white fluff-balls of aggression. 

It’s like their little bird brains just
suddenly lost all sense of perspective—
their former bearing of healthy respect
toward us & our home has morphed
into a hostile face-off of assaults
on the front door window, dive-bombing
campaigns on the car in the driveway,
replete with poo, & kamikaze-style strikes
on their equally-fraught reflections
in the side-view mirror.

Why, my teen-aged son has been asking,
are the Chickadees being so stupid?

Of course, he already understands
that the answer to his question lies
in another question—which, come to think
of it, is THE question that everyone I know
has been asking for months, since nobody
is really surprised anymore when something
extreme, irrational, or just plain opposite-of-
intelligent happens—it’s as if the Bizarro World
episode of Seinfeld just started up again on its own,
& in its antithetical-T.V.-show fashion, decided
never to end—because, apparently, Nature, itself,
is being required to stretch its fabric all out of proportion
in effort to accommodate the unprecedentedly-dense
troposphere’s lambasting winds; but I find myself

ask-answering him, anyway, if only half-hopeful
that this serum synthesized of not-reasons might yet
suffice to inoculate him against such rife contagion:

Do they remind you of anyone?


“Avium Morbum MMXVII” was first drafted during the May 2017 Tupelo Press 30/30 challenge.

My new poetry chapbook, This Being Done, is available for advance copy purchase at Finishing Line Press from now until April 27, 2018. The number of orders received during this two-month pre-publication sales period will determine the size of the print run, which is currently scheduled for release on June 22, 2018. For more info CLICK HERE!

8 thoughts on “Avium Morbum MMXVII

  1. Oh my. Reminds ME of someone!
    “apparently, Nature, itself, / is being required to stretch its fabric all out of proportion / in effort to accommodate the unprecedentedly-dense / troposphere’s lambasting winds” – indeed, I believe every living thing is affected by the crazy behavior that’s becoming … well, unprecedentedly dense.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The scansion is brilliant. i appreciate the word “lambast” i don’t think i’ve ever seen that word in an American poem, but maybe that just means i need to read more. Feels more like an English word. Damn good word. Something, out-of-breath-forceful about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Daniel. I appreciate how I can count on you to notice the things that not many realize are deliberate, or at least well-practiced. 😊 Truthfully, though, I can’t really account for where lambaste came from — it’s just the word that asserted itself. It’s certainly not in my every day vocabulary. I quite recently heard someone use it multiple times in rapid fire succession, and it was so awkward, it was almost painful. To top it off, he was pronouncing it, “lamb baste,” which to me is redolent of a leg of lamb roasting on a spit, and doesn’t sound right at all, but according to Google, both the short a and long a pronunciations are acceptable. 😉
      More seriously, though, I deeply regret that the main impetus for this poem is unavoidably American, not to mention utterly mortifying… Ugh!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mortifying to the max. It’s bad enough to see ludicrous behavior in other world leaders, but to be a member of the system that empowered our own? Sigh. The side-view mirror is looking worse each day. I’m just trying to see past the poo on the windshield. There has to be light ahead.

        Liked by 1 person

      • i try to read blogged poems as well as i can. i am still not good at reading through the internet. But i do my best, as i can’t buy any more books now until i go back to England.
        i read that people on average, spend a matter of seconds on a website. So you can imagine the nuances missed if they skim through a poem.

        i never heard anyway say lamb baste before, that wouldn’t work for me, the the sharpness of “bast” is for me the charm of the word, it has an immediacy to it & works.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Right you are, Ken!

    The “epidemic” has continued to mutate and spread since last spring, and my bird brain, for one, is about ready to explode. I only hope that enough of us can manage to pass on immunity to Gen Z.


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