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I Hired A New Orleans Street Poet To Write A Titmouse Poem

I took a slight detour from my Texas birding vacation to meet up with Non Birding Bill for some non birding shenanigans in New Orleans.  It’s fun, it’s like we’re on some strange, romantic hook up in a weird little city.  Walking around the French Quarter turns you into a dial of the great big live radio.  People looking for money, don’t stand by passively with a cardboard sign, they sing or play music…or write poetry.

We walked over to a place called the Spotted Cat where we ran into a friend who was with a voodoo priestess.  The VP was telling me about a healing she’s doing this weekend for the Gulf Spill (should be good for birds?) and then she pointed out a gent with a desk across the street who was a Poet for Hire.

So, I asked how much, he said he’s like between $10 – $20, but whatever is good.  We negotiated style (he does haiku) and I told him to write in his favorite style.  He asked for a subject and I said that I wanted tufted titmouse, he asked a couple of questions then requested 15 – 20 minutes to work…leaving us plenty of time to be serenaded by a man singing like Sam Cooke on a bike.

He handed me a brown piece of paper with his typed up poem, we handed him $15 and thoroughly enjoyed the results.  I typed up the poem below:

Tufted Titmouse by Matt, New Orleans Street Poet for Hire.

No mere reedling, the tufted titmouse;
it’s crest announces its nobility among
oscine kin

And well it should be respected, regal feathers
over tiny eyes

and the observer debates which is keener…
the attentive point of the crest, soft as a pillow,
or the snappy beak, tougher than a nut
of gourmet seed

You can band these birds
but they won’t be banned
as they drop titmouse turds
and nip at the crimping hand

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