The God of the Mockingbirds

17 Jun


In February the mockingbird had to start singing. He woke up the whole neighborhood.

When the sunlight was long enough a part of his brain grew. It made him listen to other birds’ songs around him. He’d memorize them. Then perch up as high as he could go. Yell them as loudly as he could. He wanted to do this like he wanted to breathe. There were about five kinds of birds that sang in the neighborhood. Sparrows. He’d sing their five songs over and over.

If he sang well enough, a female would come to hear his voice. Perhaps stay. They’d build a nest, mate, have children. In eight months the male children would be compelled to go yell from a high place. The female children would be compelled to listen for the loudest one they could find.

He sang through February, our mockingbird. Through March, April. He started just after midnight, finished just after noon. A few prospects came.

No one stayed.

Out on the edges of his territory he heard his fellows. In March they too started at midnight. Ended at noon. Now occasional silence. Their mates had come. They’d take breaks to gather twigs for their nests. To eat and grow strong. Their songs were still like the sparrows. But now a different tone. Before: come see me. Now: stay out. The new songs were about him.

Still, at midnight he sang. At noon he stopped, exhausted. May came and he was growing thinner.

May passed and June and the mates at the edge of his voice were less and finally none at all. They’d found others, paired off. They were getting fat and ready. The men sang still less; they were fixated on dive bombing people and cats who passed too close to the trees. Pestering crows.

Their hormones had changed. The bits of their brains that had grown to learn the sparrows’ songs went back to sleep. They had new purpose. They spoke to their brides in true voices. Mockingbird language, not the sparrows’ high lonesome notes. It was a croak, but to the one they loved it contained multitudes.

But not him.

Every day at midnight his longing woke him up. Made him sit in the high tree on the high hill and scream come see me. He knew it was over but couldn’t stop. The feeling kicked in on a clock whether needed or not. Starving, lovelorn and lonely, raggedly screaming from his branch, it occurred to him that this might never end. Soon the other birds would have chicks. Next spring their better genes would be out on the phone poles. Just a hair louder than him. Every year the fight harder. No one had any choice in the matter.

Once upon a time an ancient mockingbird needed songs to keep sparrows away. To guard his trees and seeds and bugs. Now songs only warded off other mockingbirds. This while there was one male per female. Many chicks were born, many too fell on their heads. Got snapped up by a cat. The race sustained itself perfectly by accident. The genes of every living mockingbird were adequate to eat, nest, sing and reproduce. There was nothing to fight over. No need for anyone to suffer alone. We can stop this, thought the mockingbird. I just have to tell them.

He prayed to the God of the mockingbirds for strength. Opened his beak to sing. His song, like the song of the sparrows. But it said: we can all be at peace, my brothers.

The God of the mockingbirds was with him. His voice so strong that he felt himself falling back and back. The music coming out of him like light itself. They heard him for miles. They had no idea what he was talking about. Their song brains were asleep. I’ve done it, he thought, as the lawnmower roared over him. His bones barely made the blades stutter.

20 Responses to “The God of the Mockingbirds”

  1. Atlanta Man June 17, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    That was deep, and sad. Good work!

  2. MD June 17, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    Probably your best work. Thank you.

  3. Abracaxandra June 17, 2017 at 5:56 pm #

    Still confused by you… I loved this very much.

  4. chad June 17, 2017 at 10:09 pm #

    Never was there a peace, only war

  5. fuck em June 17, 2017 at 10:34 pm #

    This is why you’re king.

  6. Strobing glittering June 18, 2017 at 4:22 am #

    So this is what you get up to when you’re not harping away on your daily shallow currents, out of misguided angst that they’ll stop loving you if you don’t deliver every Sunday. You sly dog you.

    To be fair, entrepreneurs and writers have good ideas and bad, good execution and bad, and occasionally the best of both. And honestly I’ll read it all because it’s honest. So feed us twice daily you faggot. Pretend you’re a fucking bird since you admire them so, and we’re a bunch of raucous chicks with our disgusting little maws yawning for the nutrients. Our little watery eyes shut in greedy entitlement. Anyways I guess that’s why Twitter is a bird.

    • Anonymous June 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

      Twitter is a bird because a bird of the air shall carry the voice and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. I thought everyone knew that.

  7. Strobing glittering June 18, 2017 at 4:36 am #

    Mockingbird was alone because his voice sounded gay. Females sensed in that gay tune that he’d already chosen not to kill off invaders.

    • lol June 22, 2017 at 12:34 am #

      underrated comment

  8. The Empty Subject June 18, 2017 at 9:16 am #

    We’re all the mockingbird

  9. Xwarper June 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

    The Los Angeles writer stared forlornly at his screen, tapping a key the same time every few seconds.

    His eyes were bleary with alcohol and cocaine. His limp penis, dried with come, lay in his lap, sated by midget women from Brazil. (He had eschewed his usual Russian preferences in favor of supporting his own hemisphere.)

    He did not vote. He did not earn more than $50,000 a year.

    And yet in his heart, was he not an angel in poetry, a Bukowski of postmodern times when even pennies were denied to one of his stature? He was.

    Perhaps in the year 2040 a statue — or some monument, perhaps something like George Washington had in the Capital, but located in Malibu, overlooking Tom Cruise’s mansion — would show an outstretched hand of the writer, pointing west toward the Pacific, where he had drowned himself in the year 2038, a hairy gray nutsack floating like a life preserver above him, under the moon, the faint harvest moon.


  10. Little Timny June 19, 2017 at 7:36 pm #

    Suck my duck buck fut laser bacon

    • Xwarper June 20, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

      Delicious Tacos fired his laser bacon at the charging alien, reloading quickly. The space station turned slowly, and he ran down the hallway.

  11. digital devolution (@digital_devolve) June 23, 2017 at 11:05 am #

    So… you’re worried about having a stroke?

    I saw some robins beat the living Christ out of a crow last week. They had him on the ground in front of me. Maybe he was a first-year crow; he really didn’t seem to know what to do. I hate robins and I would have been happy to swat the little fuckers for him, but he broke free and made it to the park a few blocks away. The robins spent the whole rest of the day making their dumbshit “cheep cheep” noises and dive-bombing cats. Must have been a whole new generation of dumbshit robins hitting the ground.

    I think of you every time I drive by Dick Hannah’s car dealership with the big “DICK SAVES!” banner.

  12. J.A.F.O. June 26, 2017 at 6:43 am #

  13. Anonymous July 4, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    Feeling suicidal that DT hasn’t posted recently.

  14. CK July 26, 2017 at 1:25 am #

    Oscar Wilde’s Fables allusion?

  15. Graybusch August 5, 2017 at 7:45 pm #


    This was on some other level. Great piece. I know I’m a little late been busy all summer in the kitchen, probably addicted to twitter, and the thought occurred to me what has DT written, it’s a joy to find numerous stories to read from you when I hit your website.


  1. Talk to Her for Me | delicioustacos - January 28, 2018

    […] a unicorn saved him. He got a job and married a nice girl and was eaten by a vampire. There was a magic bird. It died alone too. All ridiculous. But it was about how he was afraid. She was afraid too, she […]

  2. Reader Mailbag: Are You Happy Now | delicioustacos - June 23, 2018

    […] snap awake. And that fucking mockingbird, which I came to terms with writing a story about. This year he did get a mate. Built a nest outside my kitchen. Good for him, I thought. Story […]

Leave a Reply to Anonymous Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: