031.1: Neil de la Flor:: Vireo Gilvus 031

The warbling vireo, Vireo gilvus, is known for its unique song, which the Cornell Lab of Ornithology describes as "a rapid jumble of rising and falling notes." This description also fits the featured writing by Neil de la Flor, which creates a poetic warbling, constantly changing and varying notes, tone, mood, and approach. The warbling of de la Flors’ poem, however, is not the lyric beauty of the stereotypical poems inspired by birdsong. This poem does not have the lines, rhythm, and most importantly song expected of lyricism. Instead of the perfect arrival of a beautiful spring, we read: "Meta enjoyed sex and a lack of context". The food is not the scrumptious, juicy berries found in the bushes at the side of the dirt road in the forest at the edge of the meadow, but burgers from McDonald's.

This warbling does two things. First, it acknowledges that the world of birds has changed just as the world of poets has. Birds nest in the crook of steam vents of fast food restaurants rather than in the crook of a tree branch. The warbling also, in breaking the stereotype of bird song, shatters the illusion of how we hear a bird's song. To focus on the beauty of the song is to ignore that the song has a function or a purpose. Birds sing not to amuse us, but rather to survive and procreate. De la Flor's song reflects this natural struggle in the modern world. This is a true birdsong, one that embraces the mundane, the ugly, the difficult, and the onward drive of life. Andrew Wessels

Vireo Gilvus: The Boy Who Found Solace in The Asymmetry of Time Within the Dissymmetry of Human Relations Within the Context of Interning the Dead in the Arctic Circle

When They Ate, They Made Love

Meta enjoyed sex and lack of context beneath the mirror ball in Cesar’s Ballroom while Billy played slots and chased miniskirts around the slots. Meta hated references to nautical motifs and the preposterous notion of Moby Dick. Billy wasn’t amused either.

He said:I want to tie you up.
 I want to eat you like a chicken.
 I want to zigzag down your back until you’re mine.

She said:I want to be scrumptious.
 I want to know Methuselah’s secret.
 I want to copyright my favorite genes.

Humans Can Fly

But when they do, they avoid direct sunlight when inamorato. After Woolworth’s, Meta and Billy always ate Big Macs & fries at McDonald’s. She was the Grimace to his Hamburglar.

Inside A Small Pocket

In her favorite pocketbook Meta secured a shitload of sand from Denmark. Just in case, she said. She pulled me aside but I couldn’t hear much. Nothing could tear her away from Bingo night. Nothing could tear her away from sadness.


A relation between two things where the first has a relation to the second, but the second cannot have the same relation to the first.

When Kids Gets Too Much Information About a Chance Meeting

Meta met Billy in Denmark while he was serving overseas after the war was won and, fortunately for them, they practiced safe oral sex at all times, which meant they didn’t have sex but kissed heavily and heavy petted, which is—according to Meta—the best sex there is, except for head. It’s kind of like a Big Mac without the meat, she said.

Upon Recovering From Too Much Information

Meta revealed secrets about quantum paradoxes, like how great sex can be between strangers, or grandfathers, even when I had no concept of sex, or spaceflight. I thought se(x) was just a letter in the alphabet and now it was responsible for everything, even the existence of puppies. Okay, I said. I was always obedient dressed as a girl.

When I Was Nineteen

I was really twenty-five. I went on a date to a fancy Italian restaurant on Ocean Drive with a skinny skinny make-up artist who was nineteen and who was dating a Polish make-up artist while we dated. The guy expected me to pay for dinner because I drove a red Honda Prelude and wore a leather belt with the letter G. On the way home, I dumped him and picked up another man. This time this guy didn’t care about fancy food or belts with the letter G because after he bought me peppermint ice cream he unzipped his pants. I guessed he liked me.

Terrified & Wigless

Meta dreamed a tiny iceberg with red see-saws and little little humans, who were really just small boys dressed in navy blue pea coats. The little little human boys played with makeshift airplanes and kites in her presence. They shouted cactus-head and funny lady to her face. The boys, all manifold dimensions of z, (z being the boy who found solace in the asymmetry of time which really means noting to you as a reader) ran furiously to the edge of ice. They jumped in, she said. Head first. The end.

On the Futility of Treatment

Meta refused the assistance of psychotherapy and electrocution. She enjoyed shoplifting and time travel instead. Chain-smoked, choked a man once for touching her breasts, bad-mouthed holy sisters and nuns of this and that order because of their stupid habits. She was a florist and raised show poodles.

On the Futility of Digging

Meta hollered at Billy to dig faster but he wasn’t a polar bear. He wasn’t even twenty yet when they met and he wasn’t sure Meta was the woman for him, but it didn’t matter, she owned him. Meta made up stories. I stowed them in my pockets because I knew they were real real.

In Media Res/istance

A Poem by Meta read aloud while driving north on I-95 in her Chrysler station wagon somewhere between Palm Beach and North Carolina on approximately May 14th, 1981:

“My Little z”.

My Little z, I lost control of the weather.
(Honk, honk.)
In that moment it began to s_ _ _ _.
Billy was so afraid and I was too.
He dug and dug and dug and it was so cold we had to go,
but he eventually broke through.
The ice remained ice despite his digging. Nothing
could warm you up, not even hollering.
You were so cold.
And we were too.
As I lowered you feet first into the filthy sea,
I filled your peacoat pockets with sand—
just in case.
My little z,
(Meta, who is z?) (Shut up and listen.)
no one ever knew.
Love always,

I had no clue.

Chocolate Doesn’t Help

Nestlé Crunch was Meta’s favorite because the crunch reminded her of walking on ice. Meta told me she nicknamed her little boy z because she couldn’t speak his name out of respect for the dead. He became the lowercase boy she gave up to ice out of respect for his size and scope. Eventually z’s memory swallowed Meta whole. She said, in other words: He would not stay still, stay silent, be goddamned, be modest, be seen and not heard. He broke out in tongues of condemnation and praise. He was the high note that smashed the glass and spilled the liquid, [i.e. uterus & bomb]. (J.W.)

On the Military Underground Resistance

She said:I swept the bloody streets of Copenhagen and gave them the finger. I planned my escape with a Virgo inside my tummy—or was he holding my hand? I can’t remember.
She said:Anyway—. I understood the politics of sex. Confessed to no one, not even goats. I always carried a big bag of tobacco, a piece of herring, diary, vitamins, postage, and such things that could be taken underground when the time came, like watches and penicillin, gold, knife and garter belt—my ragamuffin.
She said:When the time came I lost my map and a hairy beast snatched me up, made me beg, took him (or my womb) by the arm and killed him.
She saidI kicked him in the nuts.
She said:He _ _ _ _ _ _ _ my lights out. (Or was it my womb?)
She said:I don’t remember where I come from.

So long, she said. Never tell your children what I’ve done.