what kind of bird am I

12/01/2022 0 By BuddyCushman

The other morning the song “What Kind of Fool Am I”, sung by Robert Goulet, strolled into my head. Who knows why these things happen? – I don’t. I mentioned it to someone and then it wasn’t there anymore. Then, on my walk yesterday morning, it came running back into my head, waving its hands trying to get my attention – which wanders when I’m wandering – and, now back again a few minutes ago. Except, when it showed up this morning I had been flipping through my favorite book of Zen Koan stories and came across one titled, “Koyo’s Garuda Bird”, and immediately, not a nano-second later, Goulet was singing “What kind of bird am I.”

Think what you will. This is entertaining for me, unexplainable stuff (um, possibly there are explanations in any old copy of the DSM-IV), and it became a legit question, and again, in one of those very brief periods of time, I knew the answer to that question, for me – a cardinal or a red-winged blackbird. This one one day, that one the next. I could write why and how come and in fact have two poems in different books of poetry about cardinals, and a long-ago song about a red-winged blackbird – “I’d like to fly on the back of a red-winged blackbird,”, which also made it – as a poem – into “my startled heart”, though the fact is these days I see myself way more likely to be flying on the back of a dragon. Any color will do.

Yesterday, when Goulet showed up again, on my walk, I had made a kind of vow/intention that I was going to try and talk as little as possible until a Zoom Oakland thing at 7pm. Did pretty good with that too. There’s more space for fun when I’m not filling most of it with spoken words. Then, when I arrived in Oakland via the web and it came time, in a small group, to speak, I mentioned my intention to have a day of quiet, following which I rambled on and on, thousands of examples of the English language of words escaping from my beak.

So, a couple of minutes before showing up to the keyboard now, the thought came to me that perhaps the true answer to the question posed by today’s post title is this – I’m a magpie. Chattering, whistling, trilling, and warbling.

I could always put on my red-flannel shirt. Maybe then I’ll know what kind of bird I am.