On the balcony in the hotel in Saudi Arabia Two birds sang. They did not know they were on a balustrade of a Holiday Inn. What they liked was the sea before them And the solid wood their feet rested on. That the man in the room near their perch Was reading Tolstoy did not interest them. Had he been reading Wagner's libretto of Tristram or a Harold Pinter play, And then again had he been smirking at an essay by Derrida The birds would not have cared and would still have sung on that balcony Indifferent to the man hidden in the room. But had the man opened his terrace door to welcome the birds They would have flown away. They would have smelled the ash of reason. Their wings would become heavy. They would not want to die.