Caa! Caa! CAA! CAAAAAA! Kaun haaaa? That sound. That piercing call. That untimely, unseemly monosyllabic poke. Why? What’s the matter? Why now? This sound? That’s sharking into me? And ourselves? And the body of the politic? And each and every part of it? CAAAAAAA! Not a good sound, but it’s rising from everywhere, evoking a writhing sigh. Why?
Wake up! Listen! Come to your senses, time to, about time. Where have you been? In the age of cockadoodledoooo? That’s not the wake up call any more? The chickens have all been had. Killed. Stripped. Skinned. Gone into the tandoori and the tandoori all gone down the gullets. There’s no chickens here anymore to be had. The era of the chickens is over. Don’t be chicken. Are you chicken? Are you chickening? There. No. Please don’t be chicken. Chickens are the stuff to slaughter. And then to butcher, piece by piece, twelve, Sir, or sixteen? Gizzard, or no? And the neck? Wrung and limp and lifeless? Would you like that? The wrung neck? Of the chicken? They are things to rub and marinate, with this or that, red chillies and pepper, or honey and garlic, choose what you will. But chicken? Terrible end. Don’t be chicken. Although it is reasonable that you may be feeling like one at the moment, a chicken on the run, about to be wrung.
Quite. Right. A chicken’s not the bird to be at the moment. A raven is. The shroud of darkness, floating about, calling Caa, CAA, CAAAAAA!
They’d taken over our skies, these darkened wings and their clouds. These darkened wings and their shadows. These darkened wings and their flap that reek of something vile and acrid that will drop on you and suddenly you will no longer be you but something that even you cannot recognise. They will swoop. They will pick. They will tear. They will snap. They will do what they are wont to do to prey. They will prey on prey. They will pick flesh off bone. They will tear into tendon. They will snap your joints. They will leave you dead. Or gone. Have you ever noticed birds of prey overhead? Or what they do when they find what to prey on? They keep circling. And circling. They keep boring. And boring. They locate. They identify. Then, with a siren whoop and a deft swivel, they lock onto target. CAAA! Curse. Cursed. Banished. Marinated in the alphabets — NPR, NRC — and skewered. Roasted. Over a bonfire of papers. Your own papers. The papers that you thought you would wrap around yourself; the papers you thought would insulate you. Those papers, they will stoke the fires you will burn in and be gone.
But Papers can also save you. Get that piece of Paper. You are flesh. You are blood. You are bone. You are soul. Your are consciousness. You are a being. You accept space. You breathe in. You breathe out. You sense. You feel. You see. You talk. You are a shape. You are of a height. You are of a girth. You are weight. You are. You have a mother. Someone gathered you. You have a history, written into your genes that any qualified person can read and interpret. Nobody is denying that. Nobody can. You are. You are here. But do you have papers? Your flesh is worth nothing if you have no papers. Are you anything without papers? CAAAA! CAAAAAAA!! You are being announced. You are now bidden. The rooster’s been assigned the job, and he has to mimic the Raven, for a Raven it is that calls the shots. CAA!! This is the palace of the Throne of Papers, what do you bring to it? No Papers? Be gone!
Oh please afford me now
A barren stretch of sand
Abrogation it is, and how
The new law of this land