From the archives – bird of paradise — by Wyk McGowan

bird of paradise

a boy at my school
got his nails done
got weave
got dangly earrings
and heels
and boobs
the students
laughed
and the staff
shook their heads
he didn’t get beaten
but hate cannoned
like fireworks
in the halls

i didn’t notice him at first
didn’t recognize the ram
in ewe’s clothing
and when i did
i didn’t care

it makes me sick
ms. jackson
venomed into the staff room air
he’s only doing it
for attention

i couldn’t be silent

teenagers and birds
have two purposes for
their garments
i said

either

they quail themselves
into the background
pheasant in the field
a camouflaged blindfold
avoiding their
peers’ damnation
i am scenery
i am grass
i am shadow

or

they dandify themselves
tailfeathers and plume
miniskirts and hairdos
peacocking the world’s eyes
hey, look at me
i am cardinal
i am macaw
i am paradise

so

the boy who no longer feels like a boy
and the girl with chain-dragging jeans
are not special
they are mohawk
they are sag
they are tattoo
they are as normal as the quiet girl
in the library
with twilight in her eyes
or
the boy in the bleachers during recess
hands without balls in his lap

from Autumn Sky Poetry 21 — by Wyk McGowan

Video courtesy of Vistadigitals

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