Monday, March 16, 2015

Three Poems by Kelsey Bryan-Zwick


As a silhouette in concert
with the blue above, starlings
swarm, swoop, dive

A dark flock forming
patterns in movement
a shadow that shapes
and heralds dusk
called the black-sun
called murmurations

These birds
speak like parrots
whistle like car alarm
click, rattle, and sigh

Called the fool
called the jester
originate reverb

In 1890 at Central Park
common starling are released
to celebrate its appearance
in plays of Shakespeare

These birds thrive to over
a hundred million fold
and make their way
to the West Coast
where I see them now

Three of them, perched on wire
had I always mistaken them
for crows in the distance

Is this what the red-shouldered hawk
is after as it circles, did I pray for this
for something like passenger pigeons
to blot out the sun, to sing of
to reorchestrate the stratosphere

To be full again of sounds
murmurs so like cowbird, magpie
gradation of blackbird, raven, crow
the click and rattle, gibberish

Remixed, oh! to dance
at the starlings' eclipse
that scatters the light
as an inversed disco ball

Adelpha californica

the wetted wings
make dank and dizzy
circles, tampered loops
weighted down

orange and bespeckled
in stalled motions
bullied in the breeze

a final gust carries
brown matted velvet
flap across the lake
at the mercy of the wind

adrift sky plankton
swallowed whole
in the whale blue
mouth, disappears


I dye my hair red; shades of copper, brass, amber
in the hopes that a hummingbird will mistake my braids
twisted and pinned, for the plastic flowers of hummingbird feeder
the profile of my exposed neck, for the clear glass jar
of sugared water; evoke tropical punch, nectar rush

That those tiny birds might possibly dart
half a millimeter closer, in confusion might pause
in a double take long enough in front of me
that I might, in real time see the details of this speck
of a bird, actual spectacle, small vibrant

Not in photo, not from afar
not faster than comprehension
instead, as magic pulled from
the sky

I would go so far as to weave my hair into a nest
with twig and olive branch, sit in stillness like a stoic
trying to coax them into laying their pearly little eggs
above my left ear, let them perch on the rim of my glasses
if I was not so scared of crushing them in my sleep

Kelsey Bryan-Zwick is a poet, a bookbinder, and an artist from Long Beach, CA.  As a child she lived in Spain where she fell in love with green olives, the smell of fresh bread, and learned to speak Spanish.  At UCSC she received a B.A. in Literature/Creative Writing-Poetry.  Kelsey participated in Write Bloody Publishing's Dirty Dozen Workshop and she is a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee (Cadence Collective).  Her poems can be found at, in A Poet is a Poet, No Matter How Tall:  EPISODE II Attack of the Poems, and in Poems by Sunday.  Kelsey's recently published chapbook, Watches Synchronized to Awestruck, is hand-bound by the poet and available at Gatsby Books.  Her next collection is due out in 2015 by Sadie Girl Press.

1 comment:

  1. When the humming bird makes her nest in your braids and sits on the rim of your glasses, she will see the world from special poets point of view and when she circles your head and looks you in the eye you will see into her soul and both of you will be changed for the better as we are by your poems.