birds are not real

birds are not real, but birdfeeders are
so are the squirrels that raid them
        angels are real
so are the bless’d anvils where angels are beaten into existence
	with imaginary hammers 
carnations and dahlias and oleanders, not real
sugarcane is real, cocaine is unreal
	horse lemons, real
	flag wax, real
	frisbee golf, real, but illegal in all fifty-seven states
yesterday i re-read revenge of the lawn 
by richard brautigan, this time with my eyes open
watching out for stray lawn darts
        richard brautigan is real
but bird’s nest soup is not 
i have an uncle named jay bird, yeah, that’s his real name
       he lives in florida 
which isn’t real, unless you’re a snowbird and enjoy shuffleboard
and don’t mind all the whackadoos 
        politicians are real
        and taste like chicken 
two fish swimming in a fishbowl, neither will speak to the other
they swim in angry circles 
one fish starts to think, and think 
        and think
then swims up to the other and says: oh yeah, well, if god isn’t real
who changes the water?
birds are not real, but flying fish are
	roosters, not real
        flamingos, not real
        pink plastic flamingo lawn ornaments, real 
today i am re-re-reading revenge of the lawn 
but this time much slower, looking for clues
i know d.b. cooper is hiding in there, and bigfoot 
        canada is real, but only in picture books 
the cellphone superglued to the palm of your hand is real 
        but your facebook friends are not
	and guess what- neither are you
hidden messages emitted from fluorescent lights are real, but i’m unclear 
on the science of tinfoil hats, will they save me from electromagnetic madness
or just cook my potato-shaped head even faster?
my distress is real
(and i don’t want to live in a world with no birds and an evil cabal of imaginary 
squirrels selling birdseed on every street corner and artificial flamingos playing 
frisbee golf with my naked-as-a-jay-bird uncle in a town with no carnations where 
the kool-aid flows like streaming reality shows and mr potatohead is the mayor) 
tomorrow i will re-re-re-read revenge of the lawn 
        this time backwards 
in the bathtub, with the lights turned off
        birds are not real 
        but their shadows are