Thousands of persons, old and young, who pay little or no heed to the song of the Field Sparrow or the Vesper Sparrow or the Fox Sparrow, recognize instantly the characteristic little motif of the Song Sparrow. And the bird lays an additional claim on the friendship and sympathy of all, by the fact that it is a frequent winter resident in the northern States.
Always as he begins to sing he throws his head backward, and points his bill at an angle of about 45 degrees, and this position he retains until the song is finished. He seems intent upon sending his little prayer of thankfulness straight up to heaven, by the shortest route. Over and over again the sweet and sincere little petition is offered — and who can doubt that it is heeded?
from Birds of America, T. Gilbert Pearson
Another in the Academia.edu series, in which I make up poems for the titles of articles that adademia.edu thinks might by me.
Relaxation for Concentration, Stress Management, and Pain Control Using the Fleming Method
Lie on your back
like a frog with a finger to its chest.
Kick your legs.
Kick quite a lot.
Now give up.
Feel your skin,
thinner than paper, thinner than
that film between layers of onion grade fives put under microscopes.
Feel the skin under the finger wrinkle.
Feel the lead in the air seeping in.
Kick. Kick half-heartedly.
Lie back, all muscle and skin.
Belated thanks to Farzana Doctor—now a Lambda Award winner for Six Metres of Pavement, woohoo! yay, Farzana!—and Sharanpal Ruprai, who host the Brockton Writers Series in Toronto and welcomed me there for the Toronto launch of Gay Dwarves of America in early May. They like to mix things up, something that always makes me happy, so the evening included readers of memoir (Donna Kirk, with a memoir of meeting, after her adult son’s death, the mother of a daughter who died on a plane on 9/11), poetry (the soft-voiced, confident, mesmerizing young Doyali Farah Islam reading from Yusuf and the Lotus Flower), and novella (Alec Butler with a piece about growing up intersex in Cape Breton).
People turned up from many corners of my life — former students from Kelowna, now living right down the street from the venue in Toronto, friends from my summer camp, family friends, my mother-out-law, my dad, my sister, my friend-from-babyhood—and packed the warm brick-lined Full of Beans Coffee house on Dundas.
I got to meet Zab, Gay Dwarves’ wonderful designer, and thank her in person for such a handsome book (I especially love the little notebook pages for “Puke Diary.” They make me happy.) and to remeet the equally wonderful Beth Follett from Pedlar Press, who treated the manuscript with such affection and respect.