B(s) Attitudes: Verse 1

Blessed are the humble braggarts for they shall inherit social media attention and superficial kudos.

GERIATRIC ORNITHOLOGY (The Gagged Caged Bird’s Song)

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.”

Maya Angelou

The caged bird

Is gagged and

No longer sings

A song of freedom.

Now instead it shrieks

A muffled atonal opus

To glorify its captivity.

Its song

Once morning ritual

No longer crescendos

Into melodious anthem

Of the hope and break of

A new day’s dawning.

Now it tweets

A cacophonous dirge

Of dystopian unrest instead of peace.

The caged bird’s

Deferred dreams

Of taking flight

Have been replaced

By desperate pre-dawn quests

Through mountains of stale birdseed

For the ever-elusive earworm.

Its gilded cage

From a bygone age

Has become tarnished

And turned a soylent green.

With feathers unruffled

It sits upon a crusted perch

Above yesteryear’s press clippings

Now irreparably soiled

By its own fecal droppings.

Both bird and cage

Sit tucked away

Forgotten under a quilt

Of ahistorical culture

Quietly waiting for someone

To remove the shroud

Of lost short-term memories.

The caged bird’s song

Recorded by adoring aviculturists

Is dusty and scratched

And plays in an infinite loop.

Its existential musings reiterating

Over and over- repeatedly until

The listener finally… notices.

My reaction to news of the queen’s passing…

TBH, when they said THE queen was dead, I thought they meant RuPaul! Whew!

HAIKU 2022 #75

Keith M. Kelley: A Self Portrait

My blues has context.
During the month of August,
I’ve lost three best friends.

Hopefully, this post will shed some context on my general mood during August. Today marks the 40th anniversary of my best friend, John Mark Williams’ death. He was shot while emptying garbage at his part-time job in Detroit, MI. John Mark was a wonderful person and a brilliant musician! He could play ”Stairway to Heaven” in the sixth grade- and I mean PLAY it not like those annoying Guitar Center hacks. John Mark made me appreciate Rock & Roll. His mother now also deceased was a supportive adult I would often run to for help growing up. He was my first best friend I buried. John Mark’s funeral was the first time I spoke (in my own voice/words) in front of an audience. I still remember how people reacted to hearing me speak. I recognize now that that trauma has had an impact on how I interact with others. I realize that all relationships are temporary and you will either be mourned or left to mourn someone. I don’t think his murder was ever solved. Evidently, after 40 years, I still wake up crying.

THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF GENTRIFICATION (from the “Urban Fortresses” series)

Picket line outside of Columbia College Chicago. Photo credit: Keith M. Kelley

The cycle starts with systemic neglect.

Without economic development,

communities become irrelevant,

and their residents command no respect.

Next comes the decay the experts call, “blight:”

broken windows prove dilapidation,

litter strewn about- with trash cans in sight.

and bespeak of residents’ frustration.

Then comes the, “urban redevelopment:”

the first wave of hipsters, and artist types,

the, “I don’t see colors, just people” types,

who raise up property values and rents.

But neighborhoods’ hipness, like new toys… fades

to blue lights and sirens’ harsh serenades.

Not necessarily writing “poetry” at 3:59 am

Some of the people you consider “phonies” are:

a. just nervous and awkwardly trying to engage you in the best way they know how.

b. being genuine, but you are distrustful of people who smile at you.

c. just some phony-ass people.

HAIKU 2022 #69.

They sell their daughters

to mitigate poverty

in Afghanistan.