SONG: In the Albatross Museum.


“In the Albatross Museum” [Download]

ARTIST: grant.

SOURCE: Based on Science Friday, 8 Jan 2021, “Giant, Toothed Birds Once Ruled The Skies”, as used in the post “The toothy mega-albatross”.

I do have a soft spot for spoken word, and Amanda Gorman’s inauguration reading reminded me how much I loved recordings of Dylan Thomas reading about long-legged bait when I was a child. So I borrowed a Thomas line to kickstart this engine. I probably should have had the good grace to delete it afterwards, but I like it there. I like the parallel between elbow and wing and foot and steps left in mud.

Of course, it had to be about the toothed albatross. (I just lucked into a reference to the satellites watching elephants.) The idea here is that paleontology is discovering more and more about the past, and if time really is infinite, then we must ultimately recreate the past, because infinite means *everything* will happen.

The stately birds we overlooked are still there, behind us, but just as we con imagine them, some entities equally far in our own future can imagine us imagining them, and probably with a level of detail that we cannot imagine. Ultimately, the past will be recreated at will.

The present, though, remains a challenge.

I didn’t think I’d get the recording or UPLOADING of this done because my site is running into resource limitation issues. Too many bots going through too many pages. The limit should have been lifted by now – I did some stuff in the back that tuned it up better – but I’m still getting clocked out. Annoying.

Also, trying to repair my good old laptop – it’s still not right. Super annoying.

But I did this here. Organ first, then some beats, then read the words with only the keyboards in my headphones, then cut them up and spaced them out, and here we are.

I like it.


In the albatross museum…
We have stars at elbow and foot
We spread our wings and take a step
Above the clay, the dew is wet
And mute, the silent sunrise greets the morning flight.

In the albatross museum…
A span as wide as mothers’ minivans
As shrimpers’ boats with thermos coffee
And a beak as long as barbed harpoons,
With bitter teeth to better catch the wide-mawed mothers of fish

In the albatross museum…
The wind is calling out locations now
The clay, a cluttered web of drying prints
A cuneiform not yet composed by scribes
Who gave us names but never learned our salutations

In the albatross museum…
We could count elephants from space
Only to know how badly they’re endangered
The smoky lens, the eyes of strangers’
Faces, vacant and transfixed by falling sand,

By DNA spirals, their zippers undone, uncoiling
Rude confetti in the marrow in the center of the cell
In this intelligence, we cannot think it
Though we think through it, we can redo it

In the albatross museum…
Over the screaming of the gulls in our ears,
Over the sinking silence of drowning years,we’re told
Time has no end, so we can’t stop thinking
Puzzle pieces on the carpet, muddy fragments over scaffolds

Though we fly low between the waves,
The future watches from radar stations
Tracing our outlines in screens we can’t conceive
In the albatross museum…

Points of light in grains of dust,
Mending every joint we busted,
Trusting time will come for us,
We will be glad at last.
In the albatross museum…

When the past is over and we’re known.
The secret spills in sand regrown
And we are home, we are home, we are home
In the albatross museum…