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Grackles orüSáunícuse Mark Doty Eight o'clock, warm Houston night, and in the parking lot the grackles hold forth royally, in thick trees on the lip of traffic, and either they're oblivious to the street-rush and come-and-go at the Kroger or else they actually like it, our hurry a useful counter to their tintinnabulation. Now one's doing the Really Creaky Hinge, making it last a long time; now Drop the Tin Can, glissando, then Limping Siren, then it's back to the Hinge done with a caesura midstream, so it becomes a Recalcitrant Double Entry. What are they up to, these late, randy singers, who seem to shiver the whole tree in pleasure when somebody gets off a really fierce line, aerial gang of pirate deejays remixing their sonics above the median strip all up and down the block from here to the Taco Cabana? They sample Bad Brakes, they do Tea Kettle in Hell, Slidewhistle into Car Alarm, Firecracker with a Bright Report, and every feathered body— how many of them are there, obscured by dense green? seems to cackle over that one, incendiary rippling, pure delight, imperious and impure singing: the city's traffic in tongues, polyglot cantata, awry, expansive, new. ...


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