Parking Lot Gulls
Birds, to us, are great symbols of freedom,
For who, given the wings, would remain
Earthbound? Who, if they could just flap
Their wings and catch the wind, wouldn’t
Rise up and go, leave the Earth behind,
And seek the skies and what they offer?
Out over the ocean horizon at a paradise
By the sea, you can see them flying, out
Over the boundless sea, as the sun drops
Down over the edge, filling the surrounding
Sky with colors so vast that it makes you
Wonder whether it could be truly real,
But then you also see Gulls in Parking Lots.
Have you ever taken time to wonder why?
Could it be that there is some pecking order
Among the birds of the air, some ancient
Inequality, leaving some to fly in paradise,
While others mire above the concrete sea
Of commerce looking for garbage like a rat?
Maybe there is some cosmic force of ancestry
That binds them to a radius, or at the least
A narrow path, inside which they never stray.
Are there then dissenters within the race,
Constantly squawking against oppressive
Traditions that limit their freedom in flight?
Does one bird have a dream where all birds
May one day be equal, wing to wing, one day
Flying boundless wherever their god given
Wings would take them, not just some but all?
Perhaps it is merely economic, and these birds
Like rats simply go where the food is, and so
Freely choose to live on a continuous supply
Of scraps, rather than risking starvation,
For what, a view? I can’t feed myself, nor my
Hatchlings with green lush grass, nor any
Optical illusion of color. Maybe they have
Different beauty constructions. Maybe their
Magazines have pictures of rubble and brick
Or cracks in the sidewalk, banana peels,
Apple cores, and plastic soda can rings.
Or do they have some kind of fair system,
Where every bird takes their turn, living
At some point, here, there, and everywhere
Before their time on Earth is done? Would
You trade time working in a corporate world
Of commerce, for a moment of peace
At some point, on a lazy beach in the Tropics?
How quickly when I try to humanize the birds,
Placing my values on them, does their freedom
Disappear. Let me instead learn from them,
Perhaps given enough time, and freedom,
Knowing you could go anywhere is enough
To finally value what you have been given,
And soaring, anywhere, is enough just because
You are a bird, and flying is what you do.