Monday, December 26, 2011

Flamingo Watching [Kay Ryan]

Needless to say, I identify and overly identify with the flamingo, here, as I am meant to. She is the odd kid in high school, the arty one in a dull, stale office.  The unnatural elect scorned by the "natural elect" who are less interesting and yet oddly and perennially empowered by their mediocrity.

Ryan's rhymes and twists, slanting and sinuous as the flamingo herself, are a joy. This is a good poem to type out, a fingertip-happy ear-snappy poem. And by the way, since I had to look it up, I might as well share. Furbelow: A ruffle or flounce. [by folk etymology from French dialect farbella; see falbala]

Flamingo Watching

Wherever the flamingo goes,
she brings a city's worth of
furbelows.  She seems
unnatural by nature--
too vivid and peculiar
a structure to be pretty,
and flexible to the point
of oddity.  Perched on
those legs, anything she does
seems like an act.  Descending
on her egg or draping her head
along her back, she's
too exact and sinuous
to convince an audience
she's serious.  The natural elect,
they think, would be less pink,
less able to relax their necks,
less flamboyant in general.
They privately expect that it's some
poorly jointed bland grey animal
with mitts for hands
whom God protects.

Kay Ryan, from, Flamingo Watching, 1994, in The Best of It, New and Selected Poems, Grove Press, 2011.

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