Magpie’s Dazzling / The Magpie Draws its Sorrow Line / Don’t Call Me Noo-Noo


Magpie’s Dazzling 

when the magpie comes

he skulks behind his splendor

listen as he mirrors your tongue

careful, your ear, to the mummer

The Magpie Draws its Sorrow Line


The woman who suddenly

loved me and just

as suddenly, didn’t, perches

on the thin horizon

of a painting

that is not a painting,

but a digital artifact

of the painting

never painted,


without affect, frozen,

her matted black

and white feathers

retracted, stiff, arrested even,

not flying, and without joy.

She christens as bird,

and yet, not a ladybird,

just an ordinary Catholic,

with accompanying complications.

Her single, lackluster eye

points downward,

fixed on some unseen

thing, an unfortunate bug

or shiny wrapper.

She rests, unmappable,

and yet knowing,


with her cached secrets,

a tiny black smutch

on a severed timeline

truncated by a printer,

a genetic script,

an illness,

a mystery.


Don’t Call Me Noo-Noo


My muse is dead and yet I write.

Don’t call me noo-noo.

Doesn’t matter

if it’s child, a male member,

or affection. Muse is dead

and took her magpies with her

to the otherworld of England,

weighted by coins

released into the sea

shiny, bright and tinned,

(unwelcome burdens).

Sudden droppings, tumble

in sad slow motion,

their flecked hope’s final showing.

Discarded and forgotten,

keys to nowhere good or bad,

onward, onward, onward,

your fleet of voidness in formation,

seeking distractions,

people to get lost in

for the fraction you were here,

trinkets in abundance.

My muse is dead and yet

I write.

Don’t call me noo-noo.

Save it for your black and white

feathered friends, new muses,

poetic projections, pretend lovers.

My muse

is dead and yet I write

the magpie speaks its tongues

and parrots seductive sorrow songs

to tin cans, candy wrappers

and coppers.

Don’t call me Inunu, nunu, noo-noo,

in English or in Zulu,

oh horrible objects.

I am not them. How can you

be gone?

Koss is a queer writer, fine artist, and designer with an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. They have work in Entropy, Diode, The Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Spillway, Lunch Ticket and others—plus a book coming in 2020 from Negative Capability Press. Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular.