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They listen and mimic and remix what they like. They rock the mic outside my window every morning. I can hear them sing the sounds of the car alarms like they were songs of spring. I mean, if you can talk it, a mockingbird can squawk it. So check it, I'm gonna to catch mockingbirds. I'm going to trap mockingbirds all across the nation and put them gently into mason jars like mockingbird Molotov cocktails.
Yeah. And as I drive through a neighborhood, say, where people got-a-lotta, I'll take a mockingbird I caught in a neighborhood where folks ain't got nada and just let it go, you know. Up goes the bird, out come the words, "Juanito, Juanito, vente a comer mi hijo!" Oh, I'm going to be the Johnny Appleseed of sound.
I'll get the nitwit on the network news saying, "We'll be back in a moment with more on the crisis." I'll get some asshole at a watering hole asking what brand the ice is. I'll get that lady at the laundromat who always seems to know what being nice is. I'll get your postman making dinner plans. I'll get the last time you lied. I'll get, "Baby, just give me the frickin' TV guide." I'll get a lonely, little sentence with real error in it, "Yeah, I guess I could come inside, but only for a minute."
I'll get an ESL class in Chinatown learning "It's Raining, It's Pouring." I'll put a mockingbird on a late-night train just to get an old man snoring. I'll get your ex-lover telling someone else, "Good morning." I'll get everyone's good mornings. I don't care how you make 'em. Aloha. Konichiwa. Shalom. Ah-Salam Alaikum. Everybody means everybody, means everybody here. And so maybe I'll build a gilded cage. I'll line the bottom with old notebook pages. Inside it, I will place a mockingbird for -- short explanation, hippie parents.
What does a violin have to do with technology? Where in the world is this world heading? On one end, gold bars -- on the other, an entire planet. We are 12 billion light years from the edge. That's a guess. Space is length and breadth continued indefinitely, but you cannot buy a ticket to travel commercially to space in America because countries are beginning to eat like us, live like us and die like us. You might wanna avert your gaze, because that is a newt about to regenerate its limb, and shaking hands spreads more germs than kissing. There's about 10 million phage per job. It's a very strange world inside a nanotube. Women can talk; black men ski; white men build strong buildings; we build strong suns. The surface of the Earth is absolutely riddled with holes, and here we are, right in the middle.
It is the voice of life that calls us to come and learn. When all the little mockingbirds fly away, they're going to sound like the last four days. I will get uptown gurus, downtown teachers, broke-ass artists and dealers, and Filipino preachers, leaf blowers, bartenders, boob-job doctors, hooligans, garbage men, your local Congressmen in the spotlight, guys in the overhead helicopters. Everybody gets heard. Everybody gets this one, honest mockingbird as a witness. And I'm on this. I'm on this 'til the whole thing spreads, with chat rooms and copycats and moms maybe tucking kids into bed singing, "Hush, little baby, don't say a word. Wait for the man with the mockingbird."
Yeah. And then come the news crews, and the man-in-the-street interviews, and the letters to the editor. Everybody asking, just who is responsible for this citywide, nationwide mockingbird cacophony, and somebody finally is going to tip the City Council of Monterey, California off to me, and they'll offer me a key to the city. A gold-plated, oversized key to the city and that is all I need, 'cause if I get that, I can unlock the air. I'll listen for what's missing, and I'll put it there. Thank you, TED.
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Rives recaps the most memorable moments of TED2006 in the free-spirited rhyming verse of a fantastical mockingbird lullaby.
Performance artist and storyteller Rives has been called "the first 2.0 poet," using images, video and technology to bring his words to life. Full bio »