Alastair McCollum
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Hoodlum Birds

The fearless blackbirds see me again
at the footpath beside the tall grasses
sprouting like unruly morning hair.
They caw and caw like vulgar boys
on street corners making love to girls
with their “hey mama
this” and their “hey mama that.”
But this gang of birds is much too slick.
They are my homeys of the air
with their mousse-backed hair and Crayola
black coats like small fry hoods who smoke
and joke about each other’s mothers,
virginal sisters, and the sweet arc of revenge.
These birds spurn my uneaten celery sticks,
feckless gestures, ineffective hosannas.
They tag one another, shrill and terrible,
caroling each to each my weekly wages.
But they let me pass, then flit away.
They won’t mess with me this time—
they know where I live.

                      Eugene Gloria