Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Daily Horoscopes"

“Not For Me to Have”

I am trying to put my finger
On something that doesn't want to stay put,
Like a child catching a pigeon –
Seems so near, yet out of reach.
The bird doesn't seem aware
As I reach out my hand to grab,
The pigeon takes off in the air –
Not for me to have. Not this time…

“Wearing my Heart on My Sleeve”

Today I’ll wear my heart on my sleeve,
Revealing soft underbelly to all –
For friends and enemies to see
My soreness, puzzlement or joy.

I hate to be exposed to the crowd,
Yet, it’s essential to sort things through:
All foes – to be weeded out
The truest of friends – I’ll keep.
I don’t know if am happy or ready,
There is more for today from the stars!
To invite you to dinner, my dearest,
Or spend the evening with you in the tub!!!

“Imaginary Lover”

You are not what I have imagined,
But here you are - ready and willing to love;
I’ll erase from my head all sketches,
I will love you for who you are.

“Domestic Bliss”

Domestic bliss turns out not to be so blissful,
As though my energy had been caged up.
The day ahead, I pray, would reinstate my spirit –
So tired of pacing in my newest trap.

The gates, I pray, would open wide tomorrow
Enabling me to control my nerves,
Letting in sunrise and love, and hope,
Suspending battles with …myself!

Sparrows – Observations

I feed sparrows 3 to 4 times each day on weekdays for three years now. These are my independent observations.

To an average onlooker sparrows may have look like one grey, faceless flock of …birds. Most of my co-workers don’t have an idea what these birds are called. If I would call sparrows “robins” or “finches” they (average onlookers) wouldn’t even try to question my knowledge!! Most people I know can only be certain that these birds are NOT pigeons! Growing up in European countries, I have always known names of local birds as well as plants, garden flowers and trees.

Color and Size. The female sparrows are more grayish and evenly-colored; the males have deeper colors with an addition of dark brown and black. Males are easily recognized by black collar around their necks. Girls are being girls (!) - I found them prettier and even cute. Males have more serious, somber looks! In terms of size, I would say they are about the same. Even when females are with eggs, it is undetectable. Unless they stay in their nests the entire pregnancy!

Feeding. I feed them mostly with plain (supermarket) bread. I have tried to feed them assorted seeds but the sparrows have very little or no interest in it. In terms of feeding manners, sparrows almost never fight: they have tendency to take/confiscate from others as if “others’” piece of bread is tastier (“grass is always greener…”) They let others to take from them without protesting. Thinking of exceptions, I’ve noticed that during mating season, birds get very agitated and frantic and may start skirmish easily, but it is not common during other seasons. In fact, during brutal winter weather, birds stay close to each other; when there is food they make enough noise to call for other birds to join and to share. Another example of aggressive behavior while feeding is when youngsters do get introduced to “communal” feeding grounds. They usually approach food in rather charging manner and make aggressive noises – scare tactics? As they get more mature, they follow general rule of sharing and acceptable behavior.

Nesting. In my observation, only males are involved in nest-building. However, I would call them lazy “builders” as they get easily distracted when they see me and …food! Whatever “building materials” they were carrying in their mouths, i.e. feathers, pieces of paper towel, dry grass, etc., they drop it and after brief feeding often forget about their duties.
I am not sure that sparrows really “build” their nests: most likely they try to improve/make livable any hole or crack they could find. During dry and cold weather I noticed them hiding on the ground in heaps of dry leaves.

Mating. Starting in February though April there are noticeable differences in sparrows’ behavior: they get very agitated, aggressive and nervous. During this period even their facial expression (!) is different: withdrawn, exhausted, suspicious etc.
Not all but most of males are involved in courting rituals. They dance with such dedication and persistence that is …enviable to me!! Male lowers and stretches his wings that they almost touch the ground. In that position he is hopping in front of his “girl” for hours, absolutely certain that he is irresistible in that pose! I can only imagine how very exhausting and muscle-straining this courtship could be! I have a feeling that older males are more skillful in this sort of dance.

Injuries. I have mistakenly thought that males are more aggressive than females during mating period. Not at all!! Females defend their rights/virginity (!) with unimaginable bravery and fight just as hard!!! I did observe that during this period birds are often get injured. Most disturbing injury is when they get their eyes put out. I noticed only females with this type of injury. Most likely they get injured by males’ beaks during mating. The eye is closed, looks hollow underneath the eyelid and tearing heavily. I assume they get blind in injured eye however, after the mating season is over I haven’t seen birds blinded in one eye. Whether they die or recover, I wouldn’t know.

A couple of days ago I was watching one female sparrow that couldn’t stand on her feet as if she was partially paralyzed. She could barely fly, couldn’t land easily. While on the ground, her body was tilting to her left side; she was having difficulties keeping her balance and was basically sitting on her belly… I was trying to pick her up but she wouldn’t let me near. I was throwing pieces of bread close to her and she ate. I watched her a few times during the same day but didn’t see her the following day. I would assume that her thigh was injured but couldn’t have closer look.

When I watch two birds fighting, I have noticed that they use their beaks and feet and those are most dangerous weapons! It reminded me of (animated) dinosaurs’ fight!!
Sparrows’ beaks and claws are very strong and sharp. I think this is how my sparrow-girl’s thigh was injured.

When the bird is sick, it is not translated in their facial expression, however, their body language says “I am not well” or “I think I am dying”... They blink a lot and their blinks are long. Yet no matter how sick they might have been, they rarely lose their appetite. I have noticed that the sick ones are always left alone.

Babies. In June - July first baby-sparrows make their first flights or should I say, their first fall. They don’t actually fly, they throw themselves from their nests, catching waves and, may God help them!... For many of them their first landing would be their last one… Some baby birds are falling out from their nests too soon and are too weak to maneuver. For homeless straight cats it is indeed feasting period.

Parenting. Whether mothers or fathers are better parents, I could only make my assumptions by watching them during feeding. Babies could be easily recognized by their cute oversized yellow mouths. They hopping and flopping their wings frantically, demanding food from whoever is nearby! Most responsive to their demands are, as strange as it may sounds, males! They stuff babies’ mouths with crumbs/pieces of bread whether it is their baby or neighbor’s! Sometimes, they feed them with pieces that are too big and make little sparrows choke. I don’t think males are worried too much about that, as long as baby keeps its mouth shut for awhile!

Personal Hygiene. Like all birds, sparrows do have fleas and probably other parasites. Just like chickens, sparrows like sand/dirt-bathing. But during cold seasons when the ground is wet and dirty, I’ve watched them bathing in our little park’s custom-made waterfall. The temperature is rather cold, yet they don’t mind! Most likely itchiness from fleas gets unbearable.

Visual memory. When I go out for a smoke during the day, it usually takes less than 2 seconds for “my flock” to “recognize” me! – If one sees me, it immediately sends a signal to all of them, wherever they are. There are other people go out for a smoke or simply standing in front of the building during the day. Yet “my” sparrows don’t approach them, don’t consider “them” as the source of food.

There is a small park that separates the Nursing Home from the residential area. Many times, especially in the winter, I was greeted by my birds hundreds of feet away from the Home/feeding spot; many times they were following me when I was walking away from the building when taking my lunch breaks. I don’t know what their visual memory or sense of smell like, but I do know they unmistakably recognize the “source of food” very well!

Look closer at sparrows or any birds for that matter! At first, their faces all look alike! As you get used to them, you couldn’t help noticing they are …different. Just like human faces, some are pretty, some are shy, some – serious, some are friendly, some are grumpy, some are little “brave hearts”!...

We, as humans, share 97% of our genes with pigs, 70% - with daffodils, I am sure with birds the sharing percentage is somewhere in between, which makes them our ancestral relatives!!
April 15, 2008

"R. & N. Wrote Together”

R: " I put my arms around you
And I hope that I will do no wrong,
My eyes are on you and I hope
That you won't hurt me......."
* * * *
N.: “I let your arms to encircle my body,
I trust you will do no wrong.
Search for the truth in my eyes, in my soul -
I am just as scared to be hurt…”
* * * *
R.: "I want to touch you velvet skin
Caressing softly your warmer lips...
Just when I have forgotten to cry
Just now I have no empty hands..."
* * * *
N.:”I feel your kisses on my skin,
Your touches are making me dizzy...
Hands of Love are never empty,
You may cry, my love, from being happy.”
April 29, 2008

"Five-Course Dinner"

My heart, my darling,
This evening
I will serve a five-course dinner:
My love, my feelings, my desire
And maybe more, if I’m inspired!

The course will be sweet and spicy,
Like a middle-eastern exotic drink …
We will look at each other in silence,
Dreaming through a five-course treat.

I will read your life in your eyes
Your needs, your wishes and desires…
No words. Words are useless at times…
* * *
I’m so good at reading souls and minds!...
January 26-27, 2008

“Not Friendly February Day”

Not too windy today, not too cold,
Yet so unfriendly this February day…
…I have seen this dream once before –
Screaming silence, nothing to say...
* * * * *
Looking at night at the vastness beyond,
I am a tiny grain of antimatter,
One careless touch would start a black hole
Of twirling thoughts, forever scattered.
* * * * *
My anger, my aches – beyond this space,
Breaking my heart again and again…
…The weather is gloomy and grey,
It may snow today, it may rain…
* * * *
This cycle, however banal
Is ending right here, right now.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

“Looking for matching Love, Spirit and Soul”

*************To R.T.

I’ve traveled a lot
Guided by my Soul,
Looking for Love,
My Ultimate goal.

Looking for Spirit
Which is balanced and light,
Looking for Soul
Deep and soft as summer night…

My Soul is searching for its equal,
Deep and poetic as bottomless lake…
My Love is longing to find its match,
To fall in love. Just once again…
I am looking for Love and Spirit and Soul
To please and to match my own.
April 26, 2008


***************To R.T.

We kiss on the lips a Lover,
We kiss on the forehead the Dead,
We kiss on the cheek a child,
And where would one kiss a Friend?

I wouldn’t kiss you at all, my dear,
I would hold and squeeze you hand…
You are the freshest breath of air,
You have inspired me. Again.
April 28, 2008

“Tesoro mio”

*****************To R.T.
"You are a Creator when you create a poem,
You become an Angel with soft, white wings,
You become a child, pure and innocent,
You are in Heaven and cannot be reached...

Whether your verse’s for your eyes alone,
Whether for countless eyes to read –
You have captured my heart and my soul,
When we’re gone, our souls would live.

You are far but nothing is “far” for the soul,
I am always with you holding your hand,
Not sea, nor mountains would separate two souls,
They are the rays of sun after the sunset...
April 29, 2008

“The Opposites”

"Day and night,
Black and white,
Heaven and hell,
Freedom and cell,
Living and Dead,
Cursed and blessed,
Wanted, rejected,
Mistaken, corrected,
Useless and handy,
Tasteless and trendy....
So on and so forth,
As before as henceforth.

Fortunes are found,
Wasted and lost.
Some – moving backwards
Some – moving forth.

Immoral or decent,
Cheater or cheated,
Some are the winners,
While others – defeated.

What kind of a place
Is the world we live in?
Is it God’s joke
Or …punishment?

I have lost, I have found,
I’ve misplaced many times...
Tell me, where art thou
And where am I?

I have sensed you are near
But the joke is such
I can see, I can hear you
…from the opposite side...

The whole of the world
Lives in opposite halves:
What lies underneath
Is reflected above.
In pain we were born,
In pain we will die.
Whatever the question,
No answer in sight..."
January 21, 2008

“My Portrait by Jean Baptiste Gregoir”

"At times, it seems strange
That by reading your words
Sent from half-world away,
I could “hear” your voice.

I could only imagine
The way you sit
And cross your legs,
The way you speak,
Slowly and softly,
Searching in my eyes
Between the words
And making long pauses.

It is an absolute need,
An ultimate desire
To hold you in my arms
Each hour of the day,
Each minute of the night,
Drunken from love…

To whisper my dreams
Gently in your ear,
To kiss your cheek
And smell your hair…

You seem so inviting, yet distant…
I’m searching for love in your heart,
I am kissing your delicate fingers,
I think I am falling in love…"
April 23, 2008

“Sad Evening”

When we met for coffee one evening
You said I was gloomy and sad –
Sad I was as there were no feelings,
I wanted to leave; I was boring and flat…

I didn’t want you to like me,
That evening was a wicked dream…
I was sad as there were no feelings –
Please forget me and …forgive.
March 6, 2008

“If only once I had a chance"

If only once I had a chance
To take it back or to reclaim
Words which flew away too fast,
Promises that were half-meant…

If only once I had that chance
To unkiss the ones I didn’t love,
Not making love out of lust
But only when in love…

If only I had courage,
If only I was brave
To speak my mind right then and there
And not to walk away.
* * *
Chances were and will always be there,
Do not blame, do not hurry things,
Never pity yourself, don’t despair,
Compassion more kindness brings.
April 6 – 13, 2008

Natalie in Riverdale