Domestic Tranquility

These are things every Olomong can understand. We are not the plodding, stooped flock others take us for. We are not a laggard species. We feed the magnificent Red-Ferin, subsist on the waste they return to us, mill about in our titillating old fashioned social groups, pride ourselves that our rookeries are superior amongst flightless species, and that our futures are ensured by the resident magic of the past. Some of us aspire.
Care worn and feather weary, we have not always had both the time and the inclination to cipher the physics of our ordinary ennobling structures, nor have we always had the intersection of idleness and ability to act on something as frivolous as thought. No one should belittle us for keeping a raptor-eyed focus on our own near-handed tasks, the nearest day’s needs, and to be not looking into the next gathering month’s ovulations.

e are things we can know. Through our obsidian prism of sloganism, we can segregate entire fields of innocent knowledge and fence them into domesticity with merely a comfortable ordinary. The entire predatory muddle of cause, effect and consequence can be siphoned through the sloganeer’s gizzard to come out but one tethering sentence:  one mighty, balanced phrase we can sing in its ballooning brevity beside our usual mating cries and screeching, cramped declarations of territory. With this bending and construction of information, our popular entreaties roll out, though the tenets of this thought-shortening gift: as kindly as understanding, as proud as knowledge, as unstoppable as assent. longer enough to wonder:  an Olomong must know. An Olomong must liltingly recite his barrel breasted affection for the lore of the flock and the flock’s bountiful breakers of understanding. Now we have a common knowledge that can be passed as one set of one-sided dirt scratchings, one series of dawn summoning clicks, one burst of glorious insemination driven into the unknowingly infertile. In the branches above, even the precious Red-Ferin, whose support gives us purpose and whose leavings give us life, cackle in imagined pride at how we have resolved our world. One line at a time, our lot is getting better. The Red-Ferin look happily down over us and despite their habitual reserve break into trumpeting song:  celebration and boasting and mating cry mixed. I am sure if they could reach down to us, they would peck the back of our heads in congratulation, mock mount the most comely of us, praise the weave of our fathoming feathers.
And, profitably, there is some small element I hear anew in their joyous carnival of laughter: I think respect, perhaps, or something very near.

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About Ken Poyner

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After 40 or so years of publishing and writing, writing and publishing, I find I am squirming into my late fifties and probably have had not much more impact on the world than the average water bug. But I have at times enjoyed it. My poetry books ("Cordwood", 1985; "Sciences, Social", 1995) are out of print; more but my collection of flash fiction, "Constant Animals", is available both in paperback and e-book format. Links to vendors are at In addition to all that, I have an interesting wife: one of the world's top raw power lifters in her age and weight class. Who would have imagined it?
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