For the birds


March ’14

O was having breakfast at a café by a pretty little canal. It was a sunny morning so O had decided to fork out most of the coins that had been stashed away for a couple of days now in an attempt to assimilate the mood the turn in the weather suggested.

Three pigeons swerved into the scene from the right—or had they come from behind and to the left, only to then land from the right?—disturbing the air and the cheap napkin the waiter had placed on the edge of the small round table that rocked on unstable legs when O jerked forward, reflex action, to save the napkin from falling, coffee spilling from its cup into the saucer.

Rats of the sky, some people call them. But with their bobbing heads that jerk back and forth when they walk, if grounded, or the side-to-side tilting that suggests uncertainty, & those blinking beady eyes, they really don’t resemble the cunning of rats. Their little legs and feet don’t service them with the speed or manoeuvrability from which a rat’s cunning can be surmised. Pigeons rely on those awkward little legs when gathering enough feed to service their small-chicken sized bodies, to keep their miniscule hearts beating. It must take a huge percentage of their days, this foraging: fighting amongst themselves for enough food; awkwardly yet incessantly turning and curving; chasing away or running from other pigeons, erratically tracing lines around their pecking orders.

Another pigeon, pecking, turned the corner made by that potted Citrus. This particularly poor bastard had landed in a tussle of string. Its probable confusion or indifference had effectively left him shackled by the string. It had entangled itself around his twig thin legs; retarding the already impoverished gait his body offered him. He continued on in spite of his chains, searching out crumbs that fell from the table. Luckily his wings are much larger than his feet and in an inexplicable moment he’d taken to the sky. O wondered how long it would be before the bird would again have to land as he bit into his croissant.

May ’15

November 6. Like a path in autumn: scarcely has it been swept clear when it is once more covered with dry leaves.

A cage goes in search of a bird.1

If only O could, or would have slowly gotten up from his table, careful not to knock it with his upper thighs as he unfolded into an upright position. He’d have to be very conscious of the things, like the coffee; now spilt from the cup into its saucer, arranged on it’s circular top. Were the table to wobble on those unstable legs, unsettling his breakfast, the pigeon in question might have been scared away.

O would then have to be even more cautious about the way he would be folding himself again, this time into an even more contracted form than a sitting position, something like a crawling/squatting position. His new posture might resemble a hunting type of pose, especially that he would be watching so intently, fixing his gaze on the bird, extending his arms out verrrry sloowwwly.

But it’s not a hunting operation being imagined here. Although he would be intending to take hold of the bird; at which point he’d be aware the pigeon would probably have been completely freaking out, O’s becoming form, instead of wanting to ensnare the bird, could have been intending to free it of the tangle of string—an alternative to projecting his foul mood onto the pigeon trickle-down effect.

Empathising with the bird’s situation, O’s fingers and hands would have to first become the air in which the pigeon stood, its eyes scanning. They’d then have to take the shape of the bird itself. He’d have to be ever so concentrated now, any wrong move might provoke it to take to the sky in an instant.

Once in his firm but not too tight grasp, O would cradle the pigeon to his chest, hoping the beating of his heart would calm its nerves. He might even stroke the birds back.

He would have already imagined that the butter knife was too blunt, so after unsuccessfully trying to untangle the mess of string with his free hand, he’d take his cigarette lighter, turn its flame down to low, and with a couple of fingers extending from the hand that held the bird to his chest, O would attempt to separate the two bound red legs and use the flame from his lighter to free them of their predicament.

Franz Kafka, Blue Octavio Notebooks:

The Third Notebook. Exact Change. Cambridge 1991. p. 22

Starship 13: Geld Alkohol Feminismus Sex - Cover Monika Baer
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  2. Editorial Starship 13 Martin Ebner, Ariane Müller, Nikola Dietrich, Henrik Olesen
  3. Greer Lankton Greer Lankton
  4. New New Impressions of Africa Jakob Kolding
  5. Contents
  6. Lost in numbers Karl Holmqvist
  7. Interview with Robert Bittenbender Robert Bittenbender, Robert McKenzie
  8. Das Lamas-Haus Florian Zeyfang, Lisa Schmidt-Colinet, Alexander Schmoeger
  9. Clouds Stephanie Wurster, Vera Tollmann
  10. Das Licht ist so hell Hans-Christian Dany
  11. Mollicutes Tenzing Barshee
  12. Crumbs Gerry Bibby
  13. Petting Zoo Francesca Drechsler
  14. Lee Miller Ariane Müller
  15. Dull and Bathos Jay Chung
  16. Liotard Christopher Müller
  17. Littoral Madness Chris Kraus
  18. aus: Am kühlen Tisch Amelie von Wulffen
  19. Visiting Highgate Cemetery Mercedes Bunz
  20. sub rosa Scott Cameron Weaver
  21. Institute of Flexibility Marte Eknæs
  22. The Bank of England Museum David Bussel
  23. Die kleinste Einheit (eine verrufene Münze kursiert geheim) Ulla Rossek
  24. Circles Drawn in Water: Play in the Major Key Lars Bang Larsen
  25. Orgy Marte Eknæs, Nicolau Vergueiro
  26. Circle, Senki, Mingei, Starnet Richard Birkett
  27. Untitled (F.P. #2, H.B.—  part 1 & part 2, Q.B. #2, Q.B. #1) Liz Deschenes
  28. 3 bad habits Monika Baer
  29. Moneydreams Rainer Ganahl
  30. Mathieu Malouf Mathieu Malouf
  31. Hallo, Dr. Fanta Max Schmidtlein
  32. Arts & Foods Amy Lien, Enzo Camacho, Ilya Lipkin
  33. Die Morschen Monika Rinck
  34. 1976, 1983, 2015 Julie Ault, Lucy R. Lippard
  35. what am i doing here David Antin
  36. 1. Get on board! Peter Wächtler
  37. Vacation Tobias Spichtig
  38. if you did, do we share something now? Lou Cantor
  39. Marinoni Tennis Club Ariane Müller, Martin Ebner
  40. Valparaiso Martin Ebner
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