Cambridge Book Review

[Issue #14, Winter 2007-2008]

Canto 90 oh this is good

R. Virgil Ellis

Oh this is good
this casting about for a voice
parrot from the perch of no voice
having fluttered up there knowing home
singing Polly-rhythms
or all voices at once

meaning here not the deconstruction
of the launch-tower of Babel-onia
or even Apollonia crabbed and flowering
nebulae cloudy bursts of language
but the song from interstellar

static a voice like Voyager
coming 3.5 billion miles syllables
of what it finds there
unlike Voyager this parroting
comes de-programmed

gaping at the opening cage door
shifting from one claw to another
oh this parrot is ready to spring
full of May full of May full of May
let all caged birds sing

one could write the poem
of language freed from itself,
not the language poem but the un-language poem
that Polly sings a while, something like this:

Up from the hive the dying Toynbee spins
while doomed workers break-dance
all the way to Pollen-esia.

Blue guitarists fret
umbilical strings (who would say chords)
while baby fastens to causal nipples.

Nothing shines brighter
than the thing-in-itself
while ragged beggars description.

The spas must fill with bodhi-builders
while technicians chariot the sun.
The only way we'll get here
is if none of us (say all of us) go.

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R. Virgil (Ron) Ellis lives near Cambridge, Wisconsin. He is Associate Editor of Rosebud magazine as well as its art director and web author. His chapbook Bone Flute has just been published by Parallel Press. He has numerous print publications as well as CD's and DVD's of his performance poetry. His most recent release is a CD entitled The Story of Andro: A Rock Cantata, reviewed by Wendy Vardaman in a forthcoming issue of Free Verse. His site is


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