Attacking tyres with pavement chalk
he wields his stunted, white baton -
designed to torture those that dare
to overstep their time & venture late.
There's something lumpy
in his gait - the way he lumbers,
one car to the next - leaning down
to mark the thick, black tread
that makes me think he should
revolt & write a poem, in cool,
white, running text, on slick
black tar, instead.
getting a handle
I woke, at thirty seven, screaming
let me go
in a nine year old's voice.
I should have released my end
of the chain a long time ago, allowed
you to take your black dog to the grave.
Instead I clung, with these same hands
that prayed at your funeral, threw
moist peat on the lid of your coffin
& waved goodbye from death's batmobile.
You once walked on your hands,
as we children clapped, held captive.
One day you walked out.
I couldn't hold you.
Twenty eight years on
in your grip.
You slide the ticket in your pocket,
ponder steel and glass
in the ladies room of Britomart.
You stand to leave. An LED laments
your passing with a flush,
surprising as the steam, not hot -
a hush of mist from pipes -
that wets the bonsai ferns
beside the city's railway tracks
and adds a further feature to the
architect's idea of waterfalls -
crying on its black stone back.
This cool, green under-ground
encloses microscopic life,
just like the pocket
where your pen and notebook
share their space with what will
take you to another place.
buy a dress at the mall
suitable for funerals
wear it to Jacq's party
with hibiscus in your hair
you look nothing like Morticia
you watch us like we're cheerful peasants
rainbow puppets hung from strings
give us your regal smile - aura bouncing
around the room, annointing furniture
we revere you, as if
you were some kind of saint
in the evening, the third indulgence
(after Anne French)
steam rises, fragrant, from a hot bath
you are about to test the water
toes wriggle, creating ripples
that travel up your body
in layers, taking years away,
defoliating time. earlier
you shopped - bought a capsicum
he'd never have approved of.
you dined by candlelight, a shadow
dancing with itself at the table
while you appreciated the sparkle
of a single stemmed glass.
On the bottle
"to comfort and reassure"
as if it could hug you
like a mother -
take a drop of this:
feel loved, wanted, wished-for
instantly secure, surrounded
by Brandy and the smell of
Rose. Star of Bethlehem
in the ingredients, connecting
you to the deeper, ancient
Mother who folds her
arms around you - delivers
herself on a baby feeding
spoon, mixed with water.
Mar(c)k II Love
Upstairs on level three
the Saatchi guru puts his
lovemarks on the corporate map
& down the stairs & leaping
up them fast - Marc Ellis:
curly hair, with blonded tips,
& hooded eyes that
smile just like a thug
about to steal your purse.
You tread on past &
down the wooden steps
toward the deck. He looks
back once (perhaps he thought
he'd seen you here before) &
as he does, you picture him -
a streaker with your juicy lovemark
branded, in blood orange, on
the smooth skin of his neck.
the wallpaper disturbs the atmosphere
the air electric with it's patterned skin like a storm coming
all four walls are thick with it scarlet
welts standing up electrostatic hair an era
petrified in the glare of dusty yellow bulbs
as still as a snow globe,
unmoving as a many-legged fossil embedded in stone
i want to pick strips off the place it makes
me nervous i must attempt to trick
this fastidious mind erase the detail
find a sparser place to be close my eyes
remember another time a pretty birthday frock miniature roses
red on white a lacy frill bought
by my (now dead) father
my first long dress
that moment I went in to pee
and couldn't find the fast path to my bottom
coffee with a crush
The second hand threatens -
we never get to be alone like this,
wedge a stolen hour in,
sip lattes & chip away, with forks,
at lemon tarts - bittersweet & treacherous.
We tread on ground we've
fallen through before yet urge ourselves
to leap across to new terrain, spongy
The minutes bridge us.
We meet & hang amongst families
consuming eggs, bright side up.
A river of patrons drift in & out.
Somehow time fixes itself.
Not slow/excruciating like waiting
out the rain but slow/delicious -
chocolate melting on a pink tongue,
pavlova sliding in baby spoonfuls
over parched lips.
We have to savour this, disprove
the equation now + here = nowhere,
fingers embracing a warm cup and
across the table - a feast.
drinking in the neighbours arms
the stumps assault me in the street
sawn-off shotgun limbs
- a criminal exhibition of
evil garden art -
the hedge now separates
into six tall men with
afro, green & glossy hair
arms truncated mid-chat
across the council strip
their hands haunt me
with tattooed pasts that
might have held a beer
another pointing to the view
the yachts sailed here
during the Cup
a phantom passing
barbecue tongs while
being told a story of a
giant fish his brother caught
fingers splayed and
hands two feet away
but not today
on the face of it
your mother throws out death -
she bags it up, as if the scraps
need something to be buried in,
"Pak 'n' Save" - thick, black lettering
embedded on it's crinkly coffin.
if only she could have saved
those bits of skin & bruised flesh,
peeled off & abandoned at the sink,
spread them on her garden - made
the dying bed a fertile place to grow -
all moist & thick & comforting.
her face is cold and pale like
apple cucumber. she did not wish
for this still life. she dumps the bag of death
with fingers pinched - as if
it were a rodent in a trap,
its carcass, warm
with recent life.
chatline girl goes missing
the girl next door is gone now -
young, blonde, nubile thing
with a highschool photo grin
& braces made of wire -
a telecommunicated mystery.
the chatline girl, without
a trace, is history
& people are starting to enquire
what kind of chat would coax
a girl up coaxial lines?
you'd think there would
be warning signs. has her Barbie
vermicelli hair been sucked
into a telephonic siphon,
strand by twisted pair,
taking the chatline girl &
all her accessories with it?
will they excavate a trench
then slice & wrench
the loaded cable hernia free -
like the boy, found whole, inside
a burmese python - the mother silent,
watching, in the distance?
if she turns up unexpected
will she simply say, hello?
hold a moment please?
just transferring you now?
i don't like to watch
an instance when a chatline girl
goes missing, leaving behind
her family, home & that
dangling, disaffected phone
which she had (not long ago)