Idiolexicon: 5/31/2007

Glenn Bach

from Atlas Peripatetic


Is it true? No more phone booths?

What should one expect—

    —the first telephone concern?

    —the home company?

    —the first lists?

    —the automatic dial?

    —the highest mark for good service?

    —a random gathering
        of people listening to stories
        about who lives in the great cities?

    —a more representative group
        lined up for protection
        from the elements or privacy?

Coins or calling card,
sitting at home
looking at pictures
of pay phones
on the other side
of the world.


Like it or not, these flocks
of permanent residents of shore,
some mornings all hope. They stay,
these crows and seagulls from
the rain and the urban origins of escape,
of a boat, sorry until the day
they fly. No story is true, the parrots,
thousands of miles of thread,
face new orders, find
what home. We creatures, so far
from places we carry far.

Conures green with red
spots, small patches of red,
yellow spots, they have never
flown. Roost and breed
in one of the beach cities,
spotted in valleys and counties,
in cities flying low over freeways,
coastal bluffs, let go or escaped
and made home thrive, grown
to the climate of tropical plants,
eucalyptus and coral, in a tree
the calls of green birds flying,
the birds, the parrots.

The day of the parrots and the radius
of their roosting, groups of foraged
miles, most afternoons they returned,
four flowering trees all separated,
the trees a cyclone. The parrots flew
over grounds and sometimes landed
in trees overlooking yards. In the trees,
pink flowers, discarded petals
on the sidewalk, the petals often falling
beneath the tree, their meal,
their bills, their perch,
chattering, fighting,
preening (caring).

When the parrots return (mutual),
one sound like a drill in response, in unison,
in and out of the sun, watch and listen
silent until the next sun wakes.

Dawn wait, watch
roof for the morning wake,
sunrise up, stillness,
mere minutes of sight,
chatter in a swaying, soon
parrots roost, circle the early sky.


different instances
of “I”—by location
general food advice
for newcomers—the soup
a bagel or a piece
of fruit—the crepes
the coffee—free food
if you sit there
long enough

who cares—of early morning
(slow—and the truck
is popular) someone more
familiar with the cuisine
magic carpet—no matter
what—fly by this city
(eldest son) (youngest
son) a bare minimum
of ingredients (north)


a lot of bite
(crisp) bitter
rivalry dates back
years—one old
woman working
alone—other staples
old favorite—the man
lives up to the name
of modern language
holy land on four
wheels—a relatively
short line—stand out
from the slew—stood up
to an hour long walk
to recommend warmly
not for the faint—a long line
even in rain (surprise)


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