Liber Jonae CAPUT ONE Page MEM


And I myself could not explain my speech.
What circuit dreamt these memories up?
Fictions like these only invite scorn,
Bemuse others a bit before they turn
And dive into some more likely lie.
However, once started, I couldn't stop.

Being wise to portents displayed above,
Parrot flocks arrived from as far afield
As Cathay to the east and Spain to the west,
As Kilimanjaro to the south,
And to the north Greenland's verdant pastures,
But to witness my beak emerge from the shell.
When the momentous event in fact occurred,
The very angels in heaven did shudder
And did squeeze tight their long-lashed eyelids
Against the triumphant screeches that arose
From the huge multitude on hand.
A bodhisattva countless leagues distant
Woke from parinirvana and came
By a mystical self-telekinesis
To find what it was that had disturbed him
From the snooze of supreme realization.
Upon arriving at my treetop nest,
And upon seeing me, wet and featherless,
Discarded eggshell shards underneath,
Pronounced what most birds believe to be
A brief but beautifully sublime blessing
In an unintelligible foreign tongue.

But what's a bodhisattva? said Armand.

It is, I said, a legendary beast
Now extinct from this planet's risky climes,
Described in Pliny's Natural History
Where the exaggerated claim is made
That even an immature bodhisattva
Can weigh up to seventy metric tons.
But much of what we know of this creature
Derives from a Tibetan medical tract
That bears the quaint title, in translation,
The Bodhisattva's Great Cosmic Stupa
And Circumambulatory Consciousness,
With the subtitle, Statistical Studies
And Analyses of the Principle Effects
Of Random Subcortical Lesions in Cats.
Most of this tract is now, sadly, lost,
Due to a certain Doctor Fitzgibbons,
Full professor of moral philosophy
At the Nineveh State University.
He expunged large parts of the ancient text
Due to poor diction and scrambled grammar,
Being under the odd, mistaken view
The whole tract was written in Urgo-Turk.

I begin to perceive, interrupted Armand,
That you're truly no ordinary bird.
Please pardon my thoughtless and hasty tongue.
It often takes advantage of my absence
To entertain itself in random walks.
However, you'll not fail to appreciate
It's only with greatest respect I voice
Despair at the price this merchant demands.

I'm a bargain, I said, at any price.
What clock-radio can rival my power?
In addition to other accomplishments,
I'm an AM, FM, shortwave,
Police and citizen's band, marine band,
One man band radio receiver,
And there's no frequency that's beyond me,
For none alive has keener ears than I.
I hear the flat crackle of comet tails,
The hydrogen whisperings of distant suns,
The continual hiss from the collision
Of two dim galaxies in Cygnus A.
I'm more farseeing than Finn MacCool,
The Irish thumbsucker and finlicker,
For I too have eaten forbidden fish,
Or it ate me, as I now recollect,
The same thing in the end, inside out.
There's no insider more inside,
No privileged observer more privy,
No prophet more profitable than me!
I'm worth more than thirty other birds
Rolled up into one, feathers and all,
Stewed for hours until the flavours combine.
And if it's music you want, a songbird,
I outwarble them all, in pairs or flocks,
Out-sing nightingales and larks alike,
And do all requests however obscure,
All the golden oldies of Babylon,
The Nabucco and Semiramide,
Do all parts myself in counterpoint
Providing synthesized orchestration
With built-in baritone flugelhorn.
But it's true that I am, I must admit,
Not the most trustworthy of time-pieces.
Yet how can you hesitate at the price?
This, my friend, is the deal of a lifetime
And if you can't afford to snatch it up,
Your finances clearly need some guidance.
Luckily, I'm a financial consultant,
An investment counsellor of first water.
Human wisdom, you know, isn't confirmed,
Until threescore and ten years have passed,
And so none are known to beat the market
Until too late, until assets sell,
Until estates finally liquidate.
But alpha like mine is beyond compare,
It brings unholy returns in just days.
Buying me is like buying good luck.
Once you've paid the price for this service,
And filled out a two page questionnaire
To establish your taxation parameters,
Client aversion to residual risk,
And beneficiary or next of kin,
I will parlay your miserable pittance
Into a fortune so incredibly huge
It will maintain twenty generations
Of chinless parasites in polo ponies,
High-powered sports cars, personal chefs,
And solid gold knicknacks for the mansion.
And here's a tip I let you have for free:
Never try to employ market timing
In making any investment decision.
If you were to buy on the nine days
The stock market reached its all-time highs
And sell again on all-time low days,
Research shows that you would lose a bundle.

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