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Tag Archives: Bathsheba

There are some words that seduce the poet through ululation. Ululation is one such. Then there are uvula, Pavuvu, Honolulu–and alula.

An alula, also known as a spurious or bastard wing, is a substructure of the bird’s wing that when flexed changes the airfoil of the wings, raising the pressure differential of upside and underside airflow, which helps prevent the bird from stalling. My first encounter with this word was as a teenager reading Robert A. Heinlein’s “The Menace from Earth.” His protagonist, one Holly Jones, resident of the Moon, liked to fly using her top-of-the-line Storer-Gulls. Controls encircling her thumbs allowed her to flex her alulae.

When the happy mashup of Honolulu and a peregrine falcon showed up on my radar, I could not but celebrate with this page, which is really a celebration of the word alula and its plural alulae.

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falcon alulae

flight is pull & swoop & hula
atmosphere the crafter’s tool
lift her over honolulu
climb with her into the cool
oft aloft: the sky’s bathsheba
never stall–“thumbs” up, meine liebe

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This has been a week of doing several things at once, as are all weeks, for all of us. But when a few things forestalled my journal paging, the word Multitasking sprang to mind, and solved my daily problem of what to journal-page about.

David and Bathsheba are mentioned, as they were, sort of, in Leonard Cohen’s melancholy anthem “Hallelujah.” (I have listened to one of k.d. lang’s versions on YouTube approximately three dozen times.) My new avatar reminds me of Cohen, and the paleness of my face thus makes me a pale imitation. I wasn’t trying to imitate him, though: that pesky software Gravatar kept bugging me for a picture. The hat was purchased on the Redondo Beach pier last spring by my girlfriend, who gave it to me; it was the Performing Poet’s Fedora I always wanted. I have only worn it in public performance a handful of times, but many people have said it looks good, so here it is.

As for the heart of the matter, it is, as always, the human heart. May yours be full and fresh.