Dignity

The Seagulls used to be Angels
according to a Nordic legend that
I probably don't understand.

They have become this way, it seems,
because we simply,
                slowly
forgot about them.

& as I stand outside in the warm night
                smoking,
I can hear them squawking
a seething, teeming mass of white feathers

& cold hard beaks poking at discarded
styrofoam chip boxes,
                ketchup packets
& chicken bones:

all the detritus out here by the coast
in one of so many forgotten towns…

The thought that these
strangely mechanical seeming
beasts could once have been
our sublime idols seems oddly appropriate:

Now that we have
desire as disposable convenience
what need do we have
for the Magnificat;

for prayer or pilgrimage,
supplication, meditation & incense
or any attempt, no matter how naive
to transcend the brutish fact
of materiality;
existence & mortality?

So the seagulls scrabble among our waste
like avian beggars, safe
only because wings bring freedom,
& ignored or else quietly despised
by the normal
& respectably employed,

like the homeless people
who hide & die
behind the houses
& in the filthy streets.

Dignity is denied to the forgotten.

2 thoughts on “Dignity

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