A one-eyed parrot? I think, she remarked,
That this whole account is self-indulgent,
Self-serving, and likely a waste of time.
Self-referential is the preferred term.
In the visual language of tarot cards
Each icon has both a sound and sense.
Inside sound is sense, the flesh-cloaked ghost,
Ba, the man-faced bird with deep regrets.
The parrot is both a noun and a verb,
Paradigm for all human inflection,
The first name, first noise that Adam made,
The primary offense of the first person,
Initial issue of original sin,
The monotonous magic monogram
Stitched on every subsequent handkerchief.
The rebus represents the letter 'I',
Or 'Ta' in your language, the ninth in number.
What do you mean by my language? she said.
And from where do you hail? Not Nineveh,
For I can spot one of our own right off.
You bear the gawdy look of an import,
The tropic theme, the bright garish colours,
The exaggerated sweep of tailfeathers,
The oversized feet, the prominent beak,
The tacky styling and the offensive lines.
All these are the unmistakable signs
That mark a product as made offshore.
And who are you to belittle my plumage?
I am a son of the race of mesomorphs.
No Ninevite, dwarfish, foul-breathing,
Hirsute, fat-fingered, flat-nosed, double-chinned,
Will come close to the ideal that I cherish.
The forests of paradise, where mankind
Corresponded closely to model life,
Are distant indeed from this fallen nation.
And your garb! You should look on yourself through eyes
Schooled in the delight of naked perfection.
The women of my land, if they dress at all,
Will dress themselves only in lingerie.
It was a shock to witness the fashions here.
You dress like one of those bag ladies
Stinking under thirteen winter coats,
Swaddled in her whole wardrobe despite heat
That strips the more fortunate down to skin.
Take a tip, Marguerite, and disrobe.
Not likely, bird. You dislike it here?
It's true I came here from out of town.
True too is my dislike for this place,
These climes, the smog, the traffic, the people.
That accent you hear that impedes my speech
Is the distaste with which I speak your tongue,
A language which, although not dead yet,
Is surely fated to turn to nonsense
That passing time will bury undergound
To sit forgotten in unread inscriptions.
And I am not fond of Nineveh at all.
Odours linger here that do not endear:
Unwashed human bodies, rotting trash,
Exhaust, greasy cooking, a whiff of fish.
Are you a foreigner, then, an immigrant
Who comes for the avenues paved with gold
And stays to draw the dole and fulminate
Against the state of civilization?
If you don't like it here, go back home,
Drink palm beer in your third world shanty,
And we will pursue our business unhindered
By your whines, complaints and negativity.
Better yet, we'll deport you and your kind,
Put you on a barge, tow it out to sea,
Then, once out of sight of shore, sink it.
The parasite who wriggles overmuch
Invites action from his disgruntled host.
Liber Jonae Contents