Brother Crow of Pearl Avenue RSS

Brother Crow of Pearl Avenue

06 April, 2016: Brother Crow of Pearl Avenue


by Bruce Weigl

Brother Crow of Pearl Avenue

Madame X kept a crow
whose tongue she had split

with a razor to make it talk.
Its wings were my blue desire;

its beak black and pointed in perfection.
I love you she'd say into his face

and then hold him into splendor,
into sunlight on her arm

where he spoke to us
in a voice that sounded

lost inside the hollow bones,
so I thought This must be the world opening,

how the spirit doesn't die
but takes the shape of crows

whose tongues are split to make them talk,
and what I tried to grab onto,

digging with my nails into its flesh,
was a holy life.

"Brother Crow of Pearl Avenue" by Bruce Weigl from Sweet Lorain. Northwestern University Press,1996. Used by permission of the author.

Bruce Weigl was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio. He has published many books of translation, memoir and essays, in addition to over a dozen books of poetry. His most recent poetry collection, The Abundance of Nothing (TriQuarterly, 2012) was nominated for the Pulitzer. He won the Lannan Literary Foundation Award for Poetry in 2006, and has won many other literary awards, including The Cleveland Arts Prize and also an award from the Vietnam Veterans of America for “contributions to American Culture.” Since 1998, he has been a Distinguished Professor at Lorain County Community College, the first person to be appointed to that position at the college.


Write a prose poem on the word “plaid.” It might involve a memory of a piece of plaid clothing worn by you or someone you know, it might relate to Scotland, or it might reflect the abstraction of crissing and crossing.

Diane Kendig
Claire, right you are. ^^^
But it's due to a LACK of rather than a tippling of. However, if you have never been to the Haven in Jamaica Plain, I highly recommend it. Best haggis I have had outside if Loch Lomond.
4/10/2016 3:06:27 PM

Claire Keyes
Diane, you must mean Dewer's! You haven't been tippling lately, I guess.
4/7/2016 11:21:52 AM

Diane Kendig
Cara, I LOVE haggis, love it, and for my vegetarian husband and squeamish others, they now make a spicey, lovely vegetarian one. Heresy to us, but really, a great treat. Also, if you get to Boston, go to the Haven in JP, where they trickle a stream of Doers atop their haggis.
4/7/2016 9:55:41 AM

Diane Kendig
LOVE this ^^^, Cara!!
4/6/2016 11:20:37 AM

Cara Armstrong
The last time I saw a family member wear our family tartan was when my dad wore a scarf my mom had made for him the first year they were married and in 10 days, he’ll be dead 16 years. It’s been awhile. She couldn’t actually find the right plaid so she got Black Watch and added red yarn fringe on the ends. Close enough. Maybe the original was a ripoff anyways. I imagine some sheep’s intestine flopped on to torn highland cloth, criss-crossing into greens, blues, and blacks and someone thinking, hey, let’s warp in a line of red, that’ll look good and behold, my family plaid, woven out of a dead man’s kilt and haggis castoffs. There’s a lovely dish. Nothing like minced sheep heart, liver and lungs mixed with oats and boiled in a stomach to get you going. Lip smacking. Larousse Gastronomique says, “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour". We may not come from a line of culinary wunderkinds, but we’re survivors, hovering on the border. Blood is salty and we like the taste of it.
4/6/2016 9:18:08 AM

READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.