Some audience reaction after a recent reading suggests that "Iron Birds" from my booklet needs an explanation. Unless you know about Cargo Cults, "Iron Birds" will be tricky, so here's an info-dump: when technologically advanced cultures visit more primitive, isolated ones, they often give presents. After the visitors leave, a religion might develop in the hope of getting more presents, based on rituals - building imitation landing strips and planes, or imitating the behaviour of people with walkie-talkies, etc. The title alludes to the primitives' impression of planes. Some isolated poetry writers are being compared to Cargo Culters. The poem begins
You lay out words to tempt them,|
another poem about poetry.
Later they're mockingly told to "Murder the medicine men. Empty your shelves." (medicine men are the wise men, the lecturers; shelves can have both food and books). At the end the hopeful visions of vapour trails are compared to scratch marks fading on a lover's body.