Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Six Days Left to Submit to "Poem for the Ring-Necked Pheasant"

Like the birds themselves, "Poem for the Ring-Necked Pheasant" has turned out to be a Very Different Animal than "Poem for the Goldfinch." Here's the poem so far. Share your words in this swirling, psychedelic (and sometimes sad) crowd-sourced poem before we switch to the Crow (!!!) November 1. Click here to submit!
"Poem for the Ring-necked Pheasant"
There aint too much to say bout that.
I was only lonely once in my life.
I wrapped a ring around my neck and fell asleep pleasantly.
The patterns on my feathers contain
every color in the spectrum: pumpkin,
wood, snow, anthill, frosting, geode,
disco ball, etc. My "Caw!" was a gift
from Mongolia. The tips of my wings,
like thin fingers zinging a harp.
Chinese fireworks in feather explodes
from the cornrows, craw full and dogs below.
Hens are wiser and hang behind.
Full choke Browning brays six point pellets.
Mottled feathers pop from his chest,
drift on the west wind as the bird’s plumes flatten,
and he outraces them to the ground.
A dappled pointer bitch intercepts him.
Like a ground-bound MIG she mouths
him softly and deposits him at her
master's feet, adulation and triumph
powering her tail.
By Steve Rose
There is not much I know about pheasant;
except once I had it cooked in honest mustard,
and it was quite pleasant.
The reporter stands in the hurricane chamber.
"This is...a category three," he wheezes,
skin pulling from his face.
I am in Iowa where there are no hurricanes,
but where a windstorm
brought us the Ring-necked Pheasant.
I'm waiting for a windfall of money;
I don't care where it blows in from.
Some of my neighbors say they'd never
take Illinois money, but how would they know.
Prairie pride stains cheeks red.
Indigo neck echoes the rich dyes
reserved only for kings, only for queens.
It shimmers in ultraviolet hues,
a spectrum of color, and history,
the human eye cannot see.
sibling victory
spotting a pheasant from the
back seat of the Ford
in every letter you write your loneliness
to me obvious as color
but i know better than to succumb
you will find wing someday
Ring-necked, I ring with color
above and below my priestless collar,
green head, masked for your red death.
Don’t shoot, go home, cook up your meth.
Kill yourself, leave my wild speckled body alone;
Iowa, O Iowa, my accidental home.
Poisoned streams, rivers, lakes, ferti-laced fields,
Thanks, wind, for blowing me free, unconcealed.
What poor stewards we have been, uncaring curators
while these beauties crossed our roads.
I used to see them in the morning scurrying
but when I see them now hardly ever but when I do
I know they are numbered with numbers smaller than our numbered days.
We ringed their necks with our forks our guns our knives our greed.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings:
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and panting beats the ground.
Ah! what avail his glossy, varying dyes, 115
His purple crest, and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes un-fold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
Frosting feathers.
Spots and dots.
A glottal trill and
cocoa velvet thrills
the air where
electric blue sky
meets roots above
ground, one thousand
miles from the sea.