The Baron The Big Ish Newsflash Jimbala Old Man Time Real Radio This Is Not Art Smokey Sydney PEN Shadow

Pigeon: This Is Not Art Smokey

Poet: Andy Quan

Poem: A word from the feral pigeon

Parent: This Is Not Art

Click here to enter the sweep

23 other sweepers chose this pigeon

A Selection of Sweepers:

  • Berndt
    (Surry Hills)
  • Ed McDonnell
  • Thomas
  • Tom
  • Johny Kamerosa
    (Glass House Mountains, Queensland)

See all sweepers

A word from the feral pigeon

Press play to listen to A word from the feral pigeon read by Andy Quan

prologue: feather

The quill and shaft, the side branches
attached by barbules and hamuli
the barbs together: the vane.
Evolved as insulation structure
or mating markers, considered
only a secondary purpose: flight.


Rats of the sky, with wings
why us? Not the lucky farking doves
—a few shades lighter— who escape
disdain, logos of lefties world-over.
We’re mascots of the displaced, crowded,
overpopulated, but our cooing as beautiful
their excretion just as corrosive.

Meanwhile our carrier cousins
whoring for acceptance, purpose
or someone else’s folly. Our benefactors
benign, theirs make them race and race.

We possess secrets read from the soles of feet
are familiar with the kind and the crazed
know shapes to salve loneliness
accept gifts as meant to be received.

Look at these heavy tulip bulbs, the torsos
we lift into the air. Can you? We guard
your immobilized heroes
bring them and your concrete piazzas
to life, are smartly unromantic
about the outmoded countryside,
have no need for medals,
our collars, iridescent violet-green
bind us to no master.

The Poem The Pigeon The Poem