On Seabirds And Sleep
rating: +27+x

We keep the exhibition space open for anyone who wants to use it. We never take anything down: the only person allowed to remove a piece is the one who put it there.

Many pieces stay up forever. There's nobody to take them down.

We Don't Know Where We Left The Birds
(T. N. Kumar, 1987, Crayon on Corrugated Iron)

the sunset here is that weird palette
of a huge golden circle on the horizon
and then the regal blue of tired clouds
with spatterings of black inky seabirds

they crawled out of the desert
(this is odd for seabirds, yes)
and screamed pentathol notes

we took one from the sky by plucking it in midair
it started leaking when we cut it and the pitch
dribbled out of the incision and coated us all in
a deep darkness which despite all soap and fire
never got free of our cloth or knife or skin.

Oh, yeah. I remember Kumar. Decent enough chap. I was always confused about the crows, though - I mean, he calls them seabirds right at the beginning. I guess he just thought that since the crows were next to the sea, they were seabirds? Whenever I asked him about it, he just shook his head, you know, kind of grimaced a little and walked away.

Last I saw him was '92. Did he kill himself? I mean, that's just what I heard, anyway. You'd know better than I would, right?

the pitch stuck to us, an odd
combination of resonance and
resignation caused and caustic
meant it was not ever going to
leave our hands. we had killed
a seabird and you should not
kill anything which flies if you
cannot do the trick yourself

it rung in our minds as we bravely leapt into unconsciousness
but when we closed our eyes and opened our minds all that we
saw was that huge golden circle and regal blue and countless
black seabirds being pulled by us down through huge pipes like
we were fracking the skies and driving these living thinking
beautiful things down into the dirt and caging them in the most
horrible of prisons and forcing them into those human simulacra

we did not get
as much sleep
as we should
have preferred
but none of us
thought to ever
say a word.

Man, that guy was a ghost. He'd kind of… I dunno, "shimmer", I guess you'd call it? He shimmered a bit when the light hit him just right.

I mean, obviously the birds were probably metaphors for something, but I'm not sure what.

we could not keep our pupils dilated
because the sun was always at the
edge of our vision and so we tended
to have to squint even in the night
for the glare was not quite blinding
but it made the corners of our eyes
itch like they were being salted by
malicious things which hated us for
perfectly understandable reasons

corvids make me uncomfortable but
not because we killed so many it was
actually in my childhood when I saw
a crow ram into the side of the wall
of my grandfather's old shed which
is actually what I am writing this on
since he died in august of last year
so I tore down the shed and the
bump that the crow left is almost
impossible to see but I can tell

the crow wriggled and it made me
sad to see a thing which used to
be animate slowly but surely fall
out of its own mind and into that
hypothetical great beyond which
even now I don't think I can quite
bring myself to believe in because
when that crow died there was
no soul spirited from the body

when the light left its panicked
eyes I knew that it did not go
anywhere because a candle flame
snuffed out does not go to the
source of all heat and fire.

It didn't quite constitute an information leak. Out of context, you couldn't deduce anything of a sensitive nature. So no, it wasn't punishable. And as far as I'm aware, it wasn't us that killed him.

It was certainly concerning that they took the brain.

of late the
dreams have changed
a little bit from what they used to
be because I no longer go to the sunset and
there aren't any birds there only men of iron and steel
who are riding on steeds made of copper and formaldehyde and
the whole thing just reeks and the stench of arcing
makes me want to vomit but I keep my mouth
shut tight and the contents of my stomach
ram against the inwards facing side
of my teeth and I coat
the graves below
in digestive

but there
is a way to stop
the awful things that
we created, because a free crow
flies higher and further and greater than
uncountable crows in cages so we, that is, I
and the rest of the seers of seabirds in sleep went
to try and save the rest of the dreamspace
from the awful things that the fracking
of the sky had brought into existence
the whole industrial machine could
be undone from the core of it if
only we could recall that vital
piece of information which
for some reason was the
one thing somehow
not etched deep
pitch in our


we don't know
where we left
the birds.

He told me the birds were in Memoriam. I never really understood what he meant by that. But, well, y'know. Poets don't write to be understood.

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