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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend
“Santa Monica Pylon” by Amy Bernays
Two poems by Buff Whitman-Bradley
The legend of unJim
The story goes this way
There was a poet
The story goes on
They grab that poet
Now the story is about half-way through
And he’s singing
Thump! They land
We’re getting close to the end now
So naked Jim he just yakkety-haks
Now they story’s over
In the myths of parrots
In the myths of parrots it isn’t clear whether God created parrots or the other way around.
The name of the first parrot was All-Over-the-Place, because there was nowhere that parrot wasn’t. All-Over-the-Place has feathers of every color and was not male or female—that came later.
One day All-Over-the-Place thought, “I want to go somewhere.” But since the parrot was already everywhere, there was nowhere else to go. Still, All-Over-the-Place couldn’t get rid of that thought—“I want to go somewhere.”
Then All-Over-the-Place got another thought: “I’ll make a place to go.” So All-Over-the-Place pulled out great clumps of blue and brown and green and gray feathers and bunched them up and threw them away. And those feathers became the world. The blue feathers were the waters and the gray and brown feathers were the land and the green feathers were the trees and grasses and all the other plants.
“Terrific!” All-Over-the-Place exclaimed. “Now I have somewhere to go!” On the way to the new world, All-Over-the-Place noticed something. “Hey, I’m smaller.” It was still a vast parrot, to be sure, but no longer an endless one.
Standing in the very middle of the world, All-Over-the-Place looked around and said, “Not bad. But it needs something more.” Now the parrot pulled out a mass of bright yellow feathers and threw them far above the world, where they became the sun. A smaller bunch of pale yellow feathers thrown in the opposite direction became the moon. Thousands of little white downy feathers became the stars.
“Better,” said All-Over-the-Place, flying around the shiny and shimmer world from east to west, from north to south, from day to night and back to day, admiring the place. And as it flew, All-Over-the-Place noticed that it had grown smaller still.
Days and nights came and went—too many to count. All-Over-the-Place started to get a little bored. “Isn’t this a dazzlingly beautiful world I’ve made?” the parrot asked itself. “Yes, of course,” it answered. “Then why am I feeling so out of sorts, so blues and blah?” it asked. “It’s because… well…I imagine it’s ah…Wait! I know! I know! It’s because I’m the only one here! There’s nobody else to enjoy this with me!”
All-Over-the-Place got busy right away thinking up creatures to fill the world with. That’s when the parrot got the idea for males and females. “I’ll make the first ones, but if they want any more, they’ll have to take care of it themselves.” With its marvelous feathers, All-Over-the-Place began making creatures of every sort. To each one the parrot gave a name and a task.
“Your name is Giraffe,” All-Over-the-Place told the giraffe, “and your job is to rise quietly into the trees.”
“Your name is Human.” All-Over-the-Place said to the human, “and your job is to pay attention.”
“Your name is Starfish,” All-Over-the-Place said to the starfish, “and your job is to live in the sea and to move as slowly as the great constellations.”
“Your name is Heron,” All-Over-the-Place told the heron, “and your job is to know the shape of water.”
All-Over-the-Place created thousands upon thousand upon thousands of beings and gave every one of them a name and a life’s work. And each time it made a new creature,, All-Over-the-Place grew a bit smaller.
In the myths of parrots, it is not clear what All-Over-the-Place did when it could not imagine any more creatures. Some parrots believe that that is when All-Over-the-Place created God and said, “Your name is God and your job is to remember.”
Finally, All-Over-the-Place chose to be female, because she had given birth to the world and everything in it. After she created a mate for herself she saw that she had become the size of an ordinary parrot and she knew that her great powers were spent. All-Over-the-Place changed her name to Just Here and with her mate flew deep into the rain forest to live and die the way everything does.
In the myths of parrots, the humans do not pay attention.
In the myths of parrots, the world breaks and flies apart.
I the myths of parrots, it all becomes parrot again.