The Pigeon King

*For A.F.

You are not the story you are seeking—

not on this calm October morning,

not in this quiet downtown library

where you walk, soft-footed, on the carpet

towards the effulgent fiction section.

Look at me. I am shaking. And you

are a chimera wrapped in smoke and denim.


You raise your hands in rumination

of the volumes stretched the length between us.

I put down my pen in apprehension,

but you don’t know I’m here, nor do you care.

It is a story your fingers solicit—

the alchemy of true transformation.

Does such a book exist? For any of us?


You were not the story that I wanted—

I craved an anointed queen; I got the pigeon king,

squinting at books and shuffling three languages.

Is it hope that draws us to these holy places

where books and man are the only miracle?

Or is it another cloudland gimmick from a king

in need of a book, by a woman in want of a story?


*This poem is a poetic response to A.F.’s exquisite poem about writing a novel: “What I Asked For.”

This poem was originally posted on October 17, 2012. I’ve since revised it for the tenth time, and I’m considering doing an audiobook version of “The Pigeon King” over the weekend.

About Courtenay Bluebird

Courtenay Bluebird is the creator of Bluebird Blvd. and The Bluebird B-Side. She is a published writer, career journalist, and professional photographer who likes books and sweets. She laughs loudly and sincerely both in public and in private.
Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Ah! Ah!
    Holy cannoli!
    Wait– I have to read it some more.

  2. Did you ever hear the story– I think from Homer– of the sybil who can see everything? Only not exactly what she wants– she sits in a cave and the answers come blowing around her, written on leaves, and she reaches out and plucks them from the air. That’s what I thought about, reading your stupefyingly wondrous poem.
    I am so freaking excited about this! Wow, CB! Wowowowowow!

    • Is THAT the story of Sibyl? (I just went scurrying across the ‘net to read about sibyls— my Greek/Roman literature background is very thin.)

      Having read up a bit: Thank you, thank you, thank you, AF! I am flattered beyond words. Even your comments are little snippets of gorgeous writing!

      You are an amazing writer. I’ve never written a poem-in-response before this one— to you (and for you)— but suddenly, I had something to say (to you), and it seemed v. important that I put it together as a poem.

      Happy and speechless: that’s me. :)

  3. wow what very special moments just happend here!

  4. oh hey yay i agree, wonderful poem!!!

Hey there, cupcake! How are ya?