I like a dead bird. I like a live bird. Any kind of bird is allowed to hang out with me.

Israel's ground invasion of Gaza has raised troubling questions about the sovereignty of those who have historically been oppressed. May I be forgiven for extending my sympathies to the poor, stateless wretches? For I too have suffered in a walled purgatory. My Palestine is called The Crate.

Let me tell you something: I've been doing this for years. Waking up, sleeping, walking around, chewing, biting, chasing things, the whole bit. All of it. I am experienced. I don't need anything new in my life. I have my things. A man in full I am. A sponge soaked to the max. The maximum guy, hey!

Perhaps you're not familiar with what the crate is. Maybe because you're not a jerk. And if Steve is reading this, yes, Steve, I have to speak the truth! Steve—you've put me in a crate! The very word, "crate" denotes smallness, captivity, a pressing-in from without. I like to roam. I don't sit still unless I choose to sit still. I have a style that's enforceable. Everybody wants to see me. Squirrel in the yard running wild. Where am I? In the despicable crate.

We won't dive deep into the reasons why this crate has suddenly polluted my happy home. Suffice it to say that one darkened soul that will hereafter be referred to only as "Steve" made a very unilateral determination that I am lacking in certain areas of hygiene. Fine, Steve—and you're lacking in how good I look when I run through a field of grass. My hips switch back forth while my back end shakes. The stalks of grass brush against my flopping ears as I gallop forth. It's hypnotic and there is no doubt I am looking good. I can't say that about you Steve, but I certainly would not put you into prison because of it.

In the crate, I see the bars. Through the crate, I see the stars. Unencumbered wisps of sky. Shine upon my maudlin eye. In the crate, I gaze above. Through the crate, I send my love. If the love comes back to me? On that day, I will be free.

I'm talking to you, Steve. Steven. Steve.

[Image by Jim Cooke]