Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

poem-circled July 15, 2016

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 9:11 pm
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Once pain and loneliness was devoured

in hamburgers, milkshakes, and pasta.

But she wanted love, and she imagined

love came to the lithe more easily.

So she huffed and puffed and starved and carved

batted her eyes and bagged a boy.

But life means sacrifice and imperfection

and lack of twenty four hour adoration were devoured

in grilled cheese sandwiches, chocolate and pies,

until her perfect image was compromised by

becoming oversized.  Never her fault of course,

bilious and blaming others for her bitterness

She huffed and puffed and starved and carved

and when the right size was realized, and devised an escape,

climbed into bed after bed until one was willing to buy

more permanent access: a perfect lie.

Objective achieved once more bilious gases expand

The desperate, devouring girl pretends to have fun,

a reality show with an audience that’s blind and dumb.

Whatever the  social media illusion that feeds our delusion,

eventually we must face the conclusion of our own prostitution.

What do we sell ourselves for?




poem-taped December 17, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:25 pm
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Once upon a time

you sent me cassette tapes in the mail,

one sided conversations taped in the car

on your commute to the radio station,

elucidating the state of our universe

and illuminating that eternity

I was so fond of,

while people glanced from their vehicles,

confused or amused as you talked to yourself

but really me.

Once upon a time,

I talked to you,

but really myself,

elucidating the state of an imaginary universe

that would not become real,

no matter how many words wrapped around it,

or how many miles of magnetic tape professed it.

Once upon a time

we shared a fairy tale,

and when I listen to us now, I wonder that we ever believed

in the intensity of the narrative we told ourselves.


poem- bangles December 9, 2015

Filed under: Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:05 pm
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When you gave me these bangles,

(artisan made, grown-up gift for the babysitter)

you oozed confidence, security, achievement.

In your warm brown house with its plush carpet, modern art,

and dishes spun on a pottery wheel,

you were cozy cool, the perfect mom in the perfect family:

professional husband, professional mom, two cute kids.

You had it all together.

But everything dissolved,

first family to divorce,

then your mind to madness,

finally your body to cancer.

Now you are dust, and the memory of you chimes

on my wrist in tarnished bronze and copper bangles,

and jingles, “Celebrate now, for who know what the future brings?”


poem-shatter May 25, 2015

You are bound tightly by mirrors

Gazing at yourself through refracted light

Every flaw magnified infinitely

Every hurt reflected back




you into fragile glass: you

naked Royal Doulton figurine



morose multiplicity in a million pieces of silver.




I want this to have a hopeful spin, but perhaps that will be part two tomorrow?  It feels complete in thought, so I’ll stop.


poem-perception is reality May 9, 2015

Oh, I know the row you hoe

is dreary and full of woe!

or so you are inclined to think

but we are not defined by your narrow ink

We see you fear to be seen as less

You shout. you rave, you wave distress

It’s not about what we do, dear,

We are not the problem here.

We watch serene, your freak out scene.

We see your strengths, your skills, your care.

We know you’re kind and very fair.

You’re really great. Don’t be irate!

You perceive attacks where there are none.

There’s no one talking at your back.

You do not seek to clarify,

Oh, my, how you leap to conclusions

Each based simply on illusions.

I know perception makes reality

but I encourage you to find serenity

Ultimately, you can not be

great when you can’t see what true,

and when people are contentedly accepting you.


weak words September 11, 2010

Filed under: Commentary — Shawn L. Bird @ 1:01 am
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Sometimes people do cruel things and when called on it, they whisper platitudes. They repeat positive mantras that they imagine make them seem calm and mature, when in fact the contrast between their words and their behaviour emphasizes even more how absurd they are.

How confusing for children who hear “I love you” while being emotionally abused. Picture the wife-beater cuddling his broken wife and telling her that he’s sorry and won’t do it again.  Of course, history shows time and time again how those words mean nothing.  The behaviour is repeated again and again.  An apology is nothing if the behaviour continues.  “I love you” is not an excuse to destroy someone.   “I respect you” is not an excuse to steal a business.  “I admire you” is not a reason to spread vicious rumours.  It’s all about power and manipulation.

I believe that words have power. We can set things into being when we write them down. I have seen this in my own life. Yet, for those whose words are meaningless, somehow the power has been removed.  I find this confusing.  You would expect that repeating “I’m sorry” or the “I love you” would make it true eventually.  Perhaps the problem is that the speaker doesn’t actually internalize the words.  If the apology doesn’t come from a gut-wrenching awareness that makes change imperative, is the person really sorry?  Doesn’t “I’m sorry” really mean “I won’t do it again?”  If the “I love you” doesn’t come from a heart that wants only the best for the other person at whatever the personal cost, is it genuine?

I keep wondering if repeating the mantra can bring the change.  I have been told that these types of manipulation can be related to borderline personality disorder.  These people (usually women) use words (and  possibly cutting and suicide attempts ) to manipulate others, to attempt to weaken and destroy.  They can’t understand real connection and affection.  They don’t know what love and respect actually look like, so they can’t respond in appropriate ways with other people.  Their words don’t fit their actions.  They believe they are entitled to everything they see, and don’t believe others have any right to have another perspective of their actions.

Surely that can’t explain everyone, though.  Why can’t people see the contrast between their sweet words and the brutality of their actions?  Is it narcisism. ignorance, or denial?  Sneaking around, twisting words, lying.  None of those behaviours make you friends of worth.  Eventually people figure out who you really are. 

When we’re faced with such people, what do we do as watchers?  When we listen to someone who feels the manipulation and doesn’t know how to respond, do we step in?  Do we try to show the perpetrator the reality they’re ignoring?  Draw their attention to their erroneous impressions?  Even if we face them down, what are the chances that they will actually accept the information and change their behaviour?   I’m thinking that for most people, ignorance is bliss.  I suspect they imagine they are existing with impunity because no one has observed the dichotomy of their lives.  Therefore, they will continue in their ignorance, while they wonder why people stop interacting with them and their relationships fall apart.   At first glance, people might be attracted to the façade, but it won’t be long before they realise the shallow reality and break the relationship.  After all, once people see how dishonourable someone is, they usually don’t stick around for long.   

Like the old adage that you can give someone enough rope to hang himself with, eventually people watching will see that the words and actions don’t co-exist.   The weakness becomes obvious to all.   When your smile doesn’t reach your eyes and your nervousness shows everyone that even you know you’re lying, truth will show itself.

Words will be the weapons of their self-destruction.


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