The first cicada
awakens in the cypress,
the mountain still dark.

Uncrinkling his wings
and instruments of music,
a few raspy notes.

Raised on root juices,
he has true eyes and false ones,
more raspy notes come.

Now ticks and buzzes,
then the first timbal note;
it's a courtship song.

It's Pablo Casals;
it's my alarm; it's five o'clock;
the membranes tremble.

A duet outside,
now a whole cello section,
a congregation.

Song all down the hills,
sun breaking over the peaks;
open the door to pee.

"Good morning, Pablo."
Their hearts are already off,
their abdomens beat.

In the treed medians
of Chungshan North Road, Taipei,
a choir of bells.

Cicada masses
in the shrill-leafed canopies
above toxic streets.

They are the music;
they are the late-spring-summer-
island takeover.

In Chinese called ch'an,
said to be noble hearted.
Why trapped in a cage?

At Yangmingshan Park
a grown man, Ziploc baggie,
cicadas inside.

Not really singing,
only a disturbance squawk,
such a dumb outing.

On the mountain bus
a boy holds one upside down,
he gets a squawk too.

A long time ago
Chinese caught those which sang
in the key of C.

History, it's dusk;
Pablo has played hard all day,
he needs some shuteyes.

His abdomen's sore;
he folds up his music stand
and mica wings.

"Night to you, Pablo."
Noble hearted, also proud,
he does not answer.

            Monk's Hat Mountain,

Mike O'Connor | Sailing to Keystone
Contents | Mudlark No. 7