Thirteen Ways of Looking at Alfred Hitchcock's Blackbirds
by Deborah DeNicola

  1. I
  2. Among the summery hems of Bodega Bay
  3. The only moving thing
  4. Was the overseeing eye of an overweight blackbird.
  1. II
  2. He was of the dark Hitchcockian mind,
  3. Like the jungle gym's tangled bars at the playground
  4. Weighted with blackbirds.
  1. III
  2. The blackbirds cawed in the stillness
  3. Anticipating their raucous role in the pantomime.
  1. IV
  2. A heavy-set man and a platinum blonde
  3. Are one. A double-chinned man
  4. And an underpaid blonde and a blackbird
  5. are one.
  1. V
  2. He did not know which to prefer,
  3. The inflections of the cast
  4. Or the innuendoes of the press,
  5. The trained blackbirds’ shrieking
  6. Or the puppets rubber-banded
  7. To the actors’ wrists. The terror
  8. Of the attic scene or her terror
  9. Of him just after.
  1. VI
  2. Avian attacks filled the open fireplace
  3. With barbaric beaks. An animated swarm
  4. Crossed the room to and fro.
  5. Horror traced through the shadow
  6. An apocalyptic cause.
  1. VII
  2. O swarthy fishermen of Bodega Bay,
  3. Why do you dream of golden gulls?
  4. Do you not see the nets around your boatshoes
  5. Flooded with blackbirds?
  1. VIII
  2. I know the noble infatuation of the eccentric director
  3. And his lucid, stalking rhythms.
  4. And I know too that an ignoble obsession is involved
  5. In what I know.
  1. IX
  2. When Tippi drove her silver Aston Martin
  3. Off the set, it burnt black rubber in the path
  4. Of one of many circular driveways.
  1. X
  2. At the sight of mechanical blackbirds
  3. Striking fallen children
  4. Even the bawds of Metro Goldwyn Mayer
  5. Could not cry out so sharply.
  1. XI
  2. He rode south of San Francisco
  3. In a glass coach.
  4. Once, a leer pierced his eye,
  5. In that he mistook his leading lady
  6. For a chirping blackbird.
  1. XII
  2. The film’s frames are still playing.
  3. Royalty registers must still be chiming.
  1. XIII
  2. It was 1963 all afternoon.
  3. Rooks and plovers were screeching
  4. And they were going to screech.
  5. In her torn green suit,
  6. Tippi hid in the cedar limbs.
Packingtown Review – Vol.6, Winter 2014/2015

Deborah DeNicola is the author of six poetry collections including Where Divinity Begins (Alice James Books), two award-winning chapbooks and most recently, Original Human from WordTech Communications. Her spiritual memoir, The Future That Brought Her Here; from Nicholas Hays/Ibis Press reached #1 on in Psychology and Social Sciences. DeNicola edited the anthology Orpheus & Company; Contemporary Poems on Greek Mythology from The University Press of New England. Among other awards, DeNicola has received an NEA Fellowship, and won Packingtown Review's Analytical Essay Reward in 2008.

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