Lo Sfratto

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven….
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace….
(Ecclesiastes III:1-8)

What anger worse or slower to abate than lovers’ love when it turns to hate.

Wisdom comes by disillusionment.
(George Santayana)

I don’t understand why people would want to get rid of
pigeons. They don’t bother no one.
(Mike Tyson)

© Sean Byron (Flickr)


First of all, I just want to say that it’s appalling the sites that come up when you google the phrase “dead pigeon.” Honestly, people ought to be ashamed of themselves.

And then the other thing I need to say is that they aren’t dead. Or, at least, if they are, that I didn’t do it. (The Pigeon Saga properly begins a few weeks ago: see Part I and Part II to get up to speed.)

But here’s the thing:

About pigeons, they were never wrong,
the Old Masters: how well they understood
their inhuman position; how they shit everywhere
While someone else is reading or resting in the living room or just trying to take a nap;
How when your company is silently, impatiently waiting
For supper to appear, there always must be
a bird who wanders into the kitchen, crapping
Behind that crate we keep next to the radiator:
They never forgot
That even the cuddliest chick must foul its nest
Anyhow in some unholy spot, such as under the couch,
Where the birds go on with their birdy life and the producer of electric
shock devices, designed to keep pigeons off your ledge,
seems like an increasingly good deal.

The encyclopedia tells me that pigeons nest for something like 30 days after hatching. I made it to Day 24. And then I heaved their asses off the balcony like they were baseballs (they flew, okay?). After which, armed with rubber gloves, a face mask, and a bucket of bleach, I cleaned both the half-inch thick layer of guano they’d left on the shelf on the terrace and their various “accidents” spotting the living room floor (evidence that they’d been wandering in during the night to enjoy unlimited crapping privileges).

It was the bird doo under the sofa that really did me in. I mean: I’m not that way, you understand? I don’t go, like, all Felix Unger at the sight of a little organic filth. But there’s a limit. Plus there was that Dr. House episode where some guy comes down with six different incurable viral diseases that eat his brain because he hangs out on the roof where the pigeons live.

© John Donges (Flickr)

A few hours after dark, they tried to come back, which meant I had to head out onto the terrace again, waving a mop and shouting like one of the crazed peasants in Frankenstein. But they ain’t swallows, and I ain’t Capistrano.

After that they spent a few days befouling the neighbor’s terrace (she never goes out there anyway) and then the rooftop across the way, and then they disappeared to enter permanently into the pigeon mysteries.

It’s good to have new experiences. And it’s also good to admit when you’re wrong.

Die, pigeons, die.


Posted on 23 June 2007, in Italy, Italian, Italians (in that order), Tales from the Road, Write ... che ti passa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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