© 2022 MTPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

"Is The Ouzel Stupid?"


Though you've spent
your life practicing,
you still don't seem
to understand
how water works.
You aren't supposed
to bounce
that clear pool
then hop the gravel
bottom of the
fastest current
like a robin on
a courthouse lawn—
or flit back
to your rock
and dip like a fat
boxer at a shadow
without arms.
Birds don't work
that way.
Jesus, nothing works
that way.
I'd sooner believe
a small gray
had paddled
the Mississippi to
the Continental Divide.
Bring me my Polaroids.
Bring me
my binoculars.
Bring me
the God damned
bird book.

The Write Question blog
The Write Question on Facebook
The Write Question on Twitter
The Write Question podcast

Greg Keeler is Professor Emeritus of English at Montana State University. He received his M.A. from Oklahoma State University and his D.A. from Idaho State University. His areas of specialization are in the writing of poetry and fiction and in contemporary literature. He has published three books and numerous poetry collections and chapbooks. He has also had six stage plays produced, produced ten tapes and CDs of his satirical songs, and published many articles in popular and academic magazines and journals. His acrylic paintings have been exhibited the M.S.U. Library and in galleries in and around Bozeman. He illustrated Jim Harrison's chapbook, Livingston Suite. In 2001 he received the Montana Governor's Award in the Humanities.

"Is The Ouzel Stupid?" was published in Keeler's 1991 collection American Falls.

Related Content
  • Backdrop: spirit mountains,rustling trees, sounds and scentsof late spring. Evening sunsquanders deepest crimson.To this we drink and to our livescome…
  • Saif Alsaegh was a young boy living in Baghdad, Iraq, on September 11, 2001. At the time, he and the other members of his family didn't even know where…
  • Now that wet street smellevening rush hour,and I have a flat tire.This morninga dead dog in the ditcha black roamer who would come inand leave our yard…
  • why print books he saidwho needs books these dayseverything's on the webwell i wouldn't know i saidi still enjoy turning pagesin a chair by the firestill…
  • We have just arrived.We are standing on the south rimlooking down, feeling our bodies slipand fall away from us past the cliff faceinto that deep space…
  • questioning gods and warsare acts of treason.hell is the reqardfor questioners;prison for not playingby the rules. notdoing what you're toldcan get you…
  • ——Follow MeI know a place where barb-wirewreathes the heaped bones of horse.I know where we can shoulder our brightrifles and bag a twine stringof…
  • I hit the townthe way some strangersteps off a bus...collar up,head down, feet first.I said what I couldunder my breath,saw a star hang it upabove the…