“Unmistakable” is how Sibley describes the black and orange American Redstart.

As a novice I trope toward the easy ID,

but that gives the garish undue value

so I miss the confusing warblers.

Like peace groups gone quiet in the face of fierce hatreds

& the one Official Narrative.

Yet at some point the We vs.THEM

must credit the stories* of the other side

& value co-existence above just survival. That’s unmistakable.


*Or perhaps it’s a lack of imagination. Mine was caught by a piece in Tablet: A New Read on Jewish Life, called Parallel Lives: Imagining a Different Future for Israel and Palestine by Eyal Megged. It was Eyal who pointed out to me that Moshe Dayan’s quote is parsed and cut to suit the One Story.



2 thoughts on “Anger, terror, and racism come about because of an over-attachment to the One Story that’s trotted out whenever it’s convenient but gets us nowhere. We need leaders who can detach themselves from their current nonproductive narratives and selective histories. Or new leaders. Or better editors of the current leaders’ stories. John Kerry needs help!! (a 420 character 9 line poem by Patty)

  1. Love American Redstarts. The “Halloween Bird,” I call them. I’m a novice birder too, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with acknowledging the beauty of the obvious. In fact, my boyfriend, who is an ornithologist by profession, is occasionally grateful for my awe at creatures that are now boring to him. Sometimes seeing things through the eyes of a beginner can help remind us of the beauty that lies beneath.


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