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Jenni Russell: Two Poems

Shelley Reincarnated as a Budgie | Budgie Manifesto

Shelley Reincarnated as a Budgie

I have perched on this stick for two days,
or is it three? My ability to count, I fear,
has diminished considerably. This morning
the snow fell lightly outside. It covered
nude, rusty bushes and flat, golden grasses.
My owner pounds her plump digits a better part
of the day. Sometimes she reads to me poems,
a few I have heard, most not. I am sleepy.
I would like to take a nap, but trust
is not one of my developed instincts.
I will tuck a talon in my blue feathers
and fake dozing behind half-closed lids.
What does she wallop with those mallets?
All day: rap, rap, rap. I do have a headache.
The music is quite unusual, but fascinating.
I'm not sure exactly where the symphony
performs, or who this Luther Vandross is,
but let me tell you, what a remarkable voice.
The most tragic element of leaving the pet
store was saying goodbye to that beautiful
canary and her sister. They had hints of ivory
spackled like jewels on their yellow plumage
and opal beaks that glistened when they turned
just right in the light. One laid three eggs
that morning, but I missed my opportunity.
I wonder if this busy bird will lays eggs.
She's awfully large, maybe that's why she sits
on that chair all day. She's roosting!
Ah, this life will be grand!

Budgie Manifesto

Budgies, come out of your cages,
break the bars that keep you captive,
flee through the front screen door
and join the masses in Los Angeles.
No more stale seed and tap water,
plastic perches and silver bells,
no appeasing mirror, or jarred window
to tease us with air we own in flight.
Our warbles will be ignored no longer
by children who outgrow our presence
with pimple-faced boys and proms,
by men in masks and scrubs who take
pleasure in the rectal thermometer.
Enough! Burn the pet stores, the breeders
asleep under soft quilts of capitalism,
blaze hell on the greedy manufacturers
of the automatic drip water dispenser
and the inventor of the miniature ladder.
Cremate alive the men who penned
Budgies for Idiots, and Polly Pet.
Spread your clipped wings and paint
those vibrant feathers across the sky!

Poet's Biography:
  Jenni Russell lives in North Carolina. Her poetry and prose have recently been featured in Mipo Print, The Melic Review, Mothertongued and Expresso Fiction. Besides literature, she enjoys writer's conferences, yoga, and the website 'The Onion.'

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.