The 2003 Collection is titled
Parrots of 2nd Street.
Like it or not, flocks of these
noisy, squawky parrots are
permanent residents of the Belmont Shore section of Long Beach,
and some mornings it's all I can do to hope they stay on 1st
Street and not come over and visit my neighborhood. They make
the crows and the seagulls seem quiet and civilized. Just
how did they
get all the way from the Amazon rain forests to Long Beach,
anyway? And, more to the point, why do they stay? Do they like
it here, or are they just lost?
Some interesting urban
legends surround the origins of my exotic neighbors.
One story tells of their daring escape from a pet store, another of
an eccentric yachtsman who kept them
on his boat until the day he fell drunkenly overboard, another recalls a wealthy, reclusive
widow who felt sorry for them
and freed them so they could fly back to their native rain
forests, which they never did. No matter which story is
true, the parrots aren't native to Long
Beach. They were brought here by circumstance, and chose to stay
here, thousands of miles from their native habitat.
Parrots of 2nd Street's common thread may be its characters'
journeys to and from the places they are familiar with - coming face to face with their new
Like the parrots of 2nd Street,
many of us (myself included) have traveled far in order to find
what we now regard as home. We humans are migratory creatures,
so many of us are thriving far from the places our ancestors
came from. Traveling far, we carry our culture and stories with
us. They are ultimately our most valuable possessions, as
they add to the experiences and learning of others we come in contact with.
jon_bohrn @ augustpoetry.org