11.7.2013

since you left I have had to reshape my idea of what love is

 

love used to be coupled in your hands
between your arms
chest to crumpled cheek
bone to rib cage bone

 

love used to be chocol­ate smeared bod­ies
showers together
two lives that didn’t quite fit
but we made it any­way
remarkably

 

soon I’ll be with someone new
someone I can’t dream up now
soon their hands will be my love
their eyes on mine
over a crowded room
hands to hip bone bend
will mean

 

love

 

but the trick is
chan­ging what love means
without for­get­ting what it once meant

 

I don’t want to for­get
that love once meant
you

 

and that to you
love once meant

Seafarer

closed gate
lost sea­farer
ocean rises
lost sea­farer
returns home
alive
a child runs

Computers

Com­puters
are boxes
hol­low with air
and other things
that blink but
it’s the box of air
that’s mainly there cos
com­puters are boxes of magic
mak­ing the intan­gible
into our every day
and every­one knows
that magic
comes from thin air
or from a box

Untitled

I am a mobile hot­spot
Of hap­pi­ness. I want to share
My wire­less joy
With every­one in this
Big cruel city.

Our Future

so I said, we go together now

in this clapped out car

with the hand break off

drink­ing gin from a jar

down down round round

 

I met him in West­ern Aus­tralia and the sun­set over the ocean didn’t mat­ter because he was look­ing at me with a pair of fluor­es­cent ideas, before I knew it we jumped the fest­ival fence where we danced with bare feet, where we danced with a cigar­ette in one hand, and our time for each other in the other

 

we go together now

in this clapped out car

with the seat­belt off

drink­ing time from a

down down round round

 

in the morn­ing the sun shone onto our dream stained mat­tress  and he told me that he flies out the next day to one of the min­ing towns out Kar­ratha way where death smells like watered down dust and loneli­ness is the only home you’ve got

 

he drives the trucks there

and he drives them in circles

down down, round round

 

and I told him it was a choice but he asked me what sort of choice it is when you’re nine­teen and alone, hated school, Mum’s on the pokies, and they’re pay­ing $120 grand a year. You’ve never seen that kind of money in your life.

 

but four weeks on and one week off isn’t enough time for a love story, not when you run out of things to talk about because the rocks don’t change, the circles don’t change, the times don’t change, but some­how the love does

 

before he knew it he was thirty

he real­ised he never had time to love anyone

because he spent eleven years

driv­ing rocks around in circles

round round down down

ori­gin­ally pub­lished in Bur­ley Issue 3 2012

Birdwatcher

this is the story of a bird­watcher
stuck in the city
because he’s too damn frail and old and broken to leave
the sky­scrapers are built around him
cage him
all he could see are snip­pets of sky in this unfa­mil­iar place
where even the stars seem rearranged

 

so now he sits atop high-rise bal­cony
wait­ing for a breath­tak­ing bird to appear
gaz­ing out over the con­crete can­opy
and he’s been wait­ing for years
yeh, he’s been wait­ing for years

 

stay with me now, because his moment is com­ing
he’s feel­ing it now, because his temples are drum­ming
his ear drums are hum­ming
the rising sound is quickly becom­ing
a sur­ging, emer­ging, con­ver­ging beat
urging up from the soul of the earth to his feet
from his feet to his heart to his eyes complete

 

and he sees
the bird of his dreams
fly across the sky­line
on blue shim­mer­ing wings
with a call that will chill you
like the dawn wind

 

and he knows that her feath­ers
are hold­ing his heart together
and in this moment
he will watch her forever

 

but even as she rises she is fall­ing
even as she sings she is cry­ing
deep in her heart she is call­ing / out
to those dream­ing and lying

 

and its not so much that he hears it in his ears
but feels the mean­ing in his mind
and her cry sets him free
from his cage inside

 

she says
don’t be afraid
when the stars rearrange
in this world we will change, be remade
so don’t be afraid when the stars rearrange
you don’t need to be saved
you will be remade
don’t be afraid,
yeh, don’t be afraid

 

and with that final call

he sees her shim­mer­ing wings collapse

her slender neck does crack

and she falls

leav­ing empty air again

 

he runs to her

 

he finds her caught a storm­wa­ter drain

oil slick in her wings fuels his dismay

cigar­ette butts stain her shim­mer­ing feathers

and her wing­tips rise and fall with the waves

 

he holds her broken body in his hands

while he holds her echo in his mind

don’t be afraid

when the stars rearrange

yeh, don’t be afraid

Breathe

We share this apart­ment, a sink and a win­dow
A book­case, a teapot, no rug on the floor
Two bed­lamps, two laptops, tooth­brushes, two house­keys
A dead­lock and chain on the door.

I shoplift from Wool­worths, you find food in dump­sters
I smoked your tobacco, you drank all my wine
I read all your nov­els, you read all my poems
We both paid your speed­ing fine.

You chipped my last tea­cup, I lost half your chess­set
You let my my plants die when I went out of town
I can’t stand the morn­ings, you like to rise early
If I’m up, you’re just com­ing down.

You kissed all my work­mates, I fucked all your school­friends
You don’t like my mother, I pissed off your aunt.
You don’t show for days, and then brought home two girls while
I sat in the bath and read Kant.

Always when the shops shut, we run out of con­doms
You ripped my best stock­ings that time on the couch.
As nights threaten winter we nest in the doona
Curled up like two kits in a pouch.

I can’t stand your cook­ing, you hate all my music
I mess up the kit­chen, you scratch my CDs.
Unspoken agree­ments for spoken dis­cus­sions
No Niet­z­sche, and no refugees.

You won’t come to bed, and I won’t call to ask you
But then in the morn­ing, you won’t let me leave.
We circle eachother, I inhale, you exhale,
Half full and half empty, we breathe.

I Have Been Learning About People

I have been learn­ing
About people. She
Flicks a flicker of cigar­ette
Into the golden air like
She doesn’t mind that she might
Set the sky alight.

 

I have been learn­ing
That people are like row­boats
Pressed together at low tide
Rub­bing salty flanks with each
Rolling wave, find­ing where
The joints are weak­est,
Where they can let
The sea into the soul.

 

I have been learn­ing
That people are not fra­gile
Like glass; they are fra­gile
Like lan­guage
And mean as many things
As there are syn­onyms
In the stars
And are as dis­tant
And close
And require as much patience
And time
As the stars.

 

I have been learn­ing
That I will never stop learn­ing
About people
But per­haps I will under­stand people
Like the sea under­stands
The belly of the row­boat
And the night under­stands
The shout­ing stars
And the glass under­stands
The end­less desire of gravity.

 

Here are my joints. Here:
I am salt and read­i­ness,
Let the sea into my soul.

Cinnamon

Her name is Syn­onym
I mean Cin­na­mon
I mean another word, for a sort of
solil­i­quy, a sol­it­ary melody
She shrugs off, sug­gest­ively
other’s nom­inal uncer­tain­ties
dis­carded unresign­edly as the sky takes off a cloak of clouds
She speaks but when she’s spoken to
a broken whis­per for the chosen few
who chose to listen in
to Cin­na­mon, and her scin­t­il­at­ing syn­onyms
she’ll speak to you too
softly for the sec­ond­ary secrets to shine through
storred in sea shells
& small spells of silence

 
her stor­ies are a cal­cu­lated sci­ence
designed for those
who deign
to lay their voices down
and let their lungs rest a while
and be rewar­ded by her smile
say­ing things that can’t be read in books
learn­ing in quantum leaps and light years from her looks
with the kind of know­ledge that is still
but never sleeps
dreams of a hill that you walk up
tumble down
walk up
tumble down, forever

 
some say she’s too clever
for her own good
but those that would
let their ears free know
that know­ledge is a cycle and a stream
an iter­a­tion not a clean
begin­ning to end

 
so still your exclaima­tions
find a friend
like Cin­na­mon
and sort through those earswhile synonyms

Snailshells and Freezerfrost

 

I am Cinder­ella and I’m look­ing for my pumpkin

I’ve time to wander, pon­der, I’m not look­ing for a prince

Rather the rolling joy of shiny orange curves

My pre­ferred mode of travel

 

I try to explain it to my friends:

A pump­kin? is that what you’re really look­ing for?’

Is this some kind of metaphor?’

-A simile?’

-Ana­logy?’

Do you have an allergy to nor­mal ways of get­ting around?’

What’s wrong with a nice, orange ACTION bus?’

-

In someone else’s garden

Mus­ing among the veget­ables– was that it?

A zuc­chini, bin bag black diri­gible, to float over the land­scape like a squash balloon

Star­ing down at cit­ies, up at the moon

But there is no room in this world for that kind of princess.

 

So I went to see the Bone Mother, best I could do,

No god­moth­ers’ set foot in the place that I live.

Baba Yaga had eaten a snail out of house and home

Made a nest inside the shell

Wobbly juices still dripped

Off the walls as she dipped

Her fin­ger in a pool of fat and wrote on my out­stretched arm:

 

dig

 

So I softly shrieked and left at once to scrub my arm with seven kinds of soap.

-

It was spring and neither super­mar­ket nor veget­able garden had the right kind of pumpkin

I bought myself a MyWay card and con­tem­plated lettuce as a means of get­ting around.

Slimy.

When I could bear it no longer  I found myself a rain­coat and thick rub­ber gloves and knocked on the freezer door where Baba Yaga was hanging out these days.

 

One bony arm unfurled from the ice and threw a hand­ful of frozen peas at me before point­ing to the ground

 

dig

 

I dropped the peas and they rolled away

Down, along, around the garden path

And around behind an aban­doned oven–

A giant rot­ting orange pump­kin carcass.

 

Remov­ing my rub­ber gloves I dug into the sop­ping flesh

with my nails until I found seven seeds.

-

I am Cinder­ella and I am wait­ing for my pumpkin

It’s not about the jour­ney, but what gets you there that matters.

I’ve pressed seven shriveled seeds into seven kind of soil,

I’ve bor­rowed a bicycle and painted it orange.

 

And the seeds that don’t turn out to sprout pais­ley couches or hills hoist clotheslines, just might become vines with furry leaves.

And the ones that aren’t eaten by giant snails, or killed by freezer frost,

Might one day bear me big round fruit

And the ones that aren’t hol­lowed out to be lived in by witches

Might one day take me places.