The Parrot in the Liquor Store (Wild Thing)

The Parrot in the Liquor Store (Wild Thing)

I’m standing in the liquor store
staring at a bottle of Pinot Grigio
when Wild Thing by the Troggs
comes on the store speakers
and I’m thinking, to quote Leonard,
that song is a shining artifact of the past
and just as I’m thinking that
one of the Troggs launches into
a bizarre ocarina solo
and I turn around to find myself face to face
with a large blue and yellow parrot
perched on the leather-gloved hand
of a lady who has seen hippier times
never at a loss for words, I say,
“that’s a nice parrot”
and the lady says
“I have three more at home
one of them is a real man-hater
but this one here is my favowite
he’s a vewy, vewy, vewy nice pawwot”

she says, nuzzling the parrot, nose to beak
the parrot inflates its technicolor plumage
let’s out an almighty squawk
and displays its full wing span
and I’m thinking
Wow, there’s a ocarina solo in the middle of Wild Thing,
who’s that on ocarina
I think it’s the lead singer
what was his name,
Reg Presley, I think,
yeah, that’s it
Reg Presley.”

This first appeared in Open Link Weekend over at earthweal.

Taking part in Open Link Night over at dverse

31 thoughts on “The Parrot in the Liquor Store (Wild Thing)

  1. Sherry Marr

    Well, I LOVE this poem, and was expecting the parrot to be bobbing in time to the music, as parrots are known to do……..but a pretty perfect encounter, nevertheless. Love the inner dialogue accompanying the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Yes Sherry, I too was a bit disappointed in the parrot’s knowledge of 60’s rock. Hope you survived all that heat out on the coast!


  2. earthweal

    Wallace Stevens loved irrupting bizarres like ocarinas and parrots. It says that every moment is latent with blazing revolution. In the saying of it, at least. I remember hearing that song on a radio at summer camp when I was 8 or 10, channeling a fearsome and enthralling Dionsysos. – Brendan


  3. Steve Simpson

    A captivating read, Jim, and I was right there with you. I have Wild Thing on vinyl, and I disagree with Leonard. I think music is a wormhole to the past, it sends you to places in your memories.

    Here’s something I probably shouldn’t admit. Although I very much liked the original Leonard Cohen (I hope that’s who we’re talking about), I now see him as, er… um… I can’t think of a polite word, a hollow narcissistic poser?

    A great piece, and illustrating this, the scene reminded me of another song (other times and places): captain matchbox, wangaratta wahine, perhaps particularly Australian, but may of interest.


    1. sdtp33 Post author

      Thanks Steve, enjoyed wangaratta wahine, very bonzo dog! Leonard is a complex figure, but his middle period albums, The Future and I’m Your Man are very good!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucy

    The flow of a conversation, endless thought coming through linking back to the song. This is proof that everyday life can be art, especially as I had a theatre prof who always said that anything in life, no matter how routine, can be theatre and certain cultures portrayed that too. I think it was Western African theatre that has those beliefs? I honestly don’t remember for sure. I love this poem and someone else here compared it to Wallace Stevens–and I don’t think there’s a more apt comparison than that. It says it all, quite frankly, with the honest and diverging nature of his work. Sometimes, simple, but it was also complex just like this poem. Layers upon layers, and again, I adored that loop back to the beginning. Such great stuff, as always!


  5. Mish

    Wow, you took a rather bizarre moment and transformed it into the ordinary in this commentary as it circles back to the song. All of the details transported me there, It was “vewy” good!



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