The Blackness of the Grackle

“The Blackness of the Grackle”

The grackle is black as sin, he is like a religion,
he is Satany-satin, slick as the sail of a submarine,
he’s a heat-sink, the anodized fin on the cylinder-head.
The grackle collects the light, he collects information,
while about him the cosmos, slovenly, radiates energy.

The grackle recalls the black of earlier absences:
of the night, of the time when no eye recorded the lightfall,
of all other electromagnetic tones on the spectrum;
but he reaches back to bend those more primitive darknesses
to a greater sophistication: to state by not stating;

like the brilliant burn of the black of tropical fishes,
like the sable faces of certain macaques on display,
like the caves of the Ritual Primate, the funeral’s raiment,
like subfusc, like Cary Grant’s elegant easy tuxedos,
like the gold-crested lacquer scabbards of samurai swords.

The grackle’s a black hole, the earpiercing wince of the anvil,
the pure click of an incompressible fluid imploding
and hitting itself as it meets in a clap at its center,
the creak and the splitting of timber, the crack of a timbre,
the berserker’s shriek, the rip of heavy silk tearing,

in his strut, his effeminate deadly swagger, his waddle,
his enraged samurai waddle, his overdetermined,
his strenuous Hachiman entrance, the birdgod of warfare,
his lumbering takeoff, a jet fighter-bomber clearing
the runway under the maximum payload of armament;

and in all that blackness–matte-flocked as it would seem to be–
there seems only one thing that is radiant: his gold-milled eye,
like madness, hysteria, overcontrol, hyperthermia,
it’s a concave disc to dissipate waste radiation,
the amberbright stare of a warning light showing at midnight;

till all of a sudden the whole point of the metaphor,
what his natural similes meant, is revealed in a flash,
as he spreads his wings and sinkingly measures his glide,
and his back blazes and flows in a wave of iridescence,
as a current discharges, leaving a blob in the eye:

his elegant dress, that requires no pigment to swagger,
but lets its grain fluoresce with waves of diffraction,
like a crowd drilled with cards to form the face of a leader,
like a blind, a burst of X-rays, a gold-trimmed bookedge,
reveals on the earth a sudden parcel of sky.