Dream 47

Let me tell you this.
You don’t know him.

You imagine him
in a place of dreams,
a place with not walls but a broad plain
on all sides of him,
a spread of sand,
thin grass,
dry shed skins
to warn off all who approach the line
he’s drawn around his balls.

You imagine him with balls,
a player.

Your voice is an etch,
your veins itch,
your song is the shriek of a wound,

but you don’t know him.

He’s not the place
of dreams,
the archway face,
the doorway body.
He’s not the dreamed hands
holding the dreamed map.
He’s not

the figure.

He’s the kinetic energy
of your pelvis, the mass
of your femur, the velocity
of your toes, the moment
of your sole printing
each next section

of ground.

There
and there
and there
and there.
He’s the dark walk,
the turning,
the going.

The not knowing.

First published in Creatrix

East Street

From the roof of the flats on East Street I can see the ships in the harbour and on the sea lined up, coming and going and waiting.

All night from my futon lying on the nylon carpet in the ground floor flat on East Street I can hear the cranes unloading the stuff from Asia and I wonder if the ships go back empty because the ore is loaded at other ports like Hedland and Dampier.

Opposite the flats on East Street is a red pillarbox from which we can send a letter to anywhere.

In through the western windows and across the flat on East Street sweeps the sea-scented wind, past my bin and bookcase and over my desk and out.

When a sheep ship comes in, the air on East Street smells like a sewer in a third-world country such as England in the time of Dickens.

The sewers under the ground around East Street don’t have much of a history as far as I know.

When a sheep ship is tied to the wharf the air on East Street brings me the sweat and shit of thousands of captive bodies whose flesh will be sold for profit.

The red pillarbox on East Street somehow still belongs to the government, or perhaps it belongs to the Queen whose initials are probably not on it, or perhaps like the wind on East Street it belongs to no-one.

When the air on East Street smells of captive bodies it’s hard to work without closing the windows and lighting a candle scented with rose or vanilla.

The candles in the flat on East Street were bought from Dusk, a candle retailing corporation.

The candles in the flat on East Street are made from wax taken and modified maybe from the hives of bees, maybe from some black-slicked well in the earth, maybe from somewhere else: I’ve never thought to ask, and I don’t suppose the assistant in Dusk would know.

When my daughter was in the flat on East Street writing, on the paper she’d bought from a stationery retailing corporation with money she got by selling her time and labour to a fast food marketing and retailing corporation, her first paper letter to a friend in Brisbane, she lit her own candle also bought from Dusk but made with soy wax.

No bees were harmed that day in the flat on East Street or so she said.

As she wrote I cleaned the windows and oven and the visible parts of the fridge of the flat on East Street to maintain my good relationship with the property manager from the accommodation and lifestyle marketing corporation, who is coming on Thursday to inspect and report to the owner, a chef named Michael who feeds the workers of the mining corporations, and I saw how the candle grew smaller and the letter grew longer and the gases from the candle and our bodies put smells in the air.

The report on the flat on East Street will say ‘Clean and tidy throughout’ and ‘Tenant presents a lovely home — thank you.’

Craig’s eyes were clear and focussed

25 August 2012

There was almost a fight
at Perth Poetry Club today
but it wasn’t cool
it wasn’t funny

Some poor kid
He’s at least 50
probably older
but he doesn’t get it
He calls me a stupid bitch
a lesbian
Not for the first time
I wish I was

Later Chris reads Steve’s poem
about the dominatrix
I don’t want to think about it
Some poor kid
full of booze and drugs
finds his tongue between a prostitute’s
pantless legs
It isn’t cool
It isn’t funny
Even if once
someone did
take a photo
of me at a student party
tequila slammed
with my head in some loser’s
unzipped lap
It wasn’t cool
It wasn’t funny
But you’ll have to forgive me
I was only a kid

Afterwards a few of us
sit around
Lorenna is drinking too fast
Her eyes are starting to glaze
She’s a colourful wrap
around a ball of darkness
She says I should try
The Spirit Molecule
Craig agrees
Sometimes with Craig it’s like
he’s hearing some other voice
and can’t really see me
but today he’s okay

I try to go home
but I get on the wrong train
end up at Cannington station
There’s nothing there
just buses to a couple
of shopping malls
I come back to town
but I miss the home train
The next one doesn’t come
for twenty-seven minutes
I’m hungry

I don’t want Chinese Vietnamese Vietnamese Chinese Korean Mexican Japanese Italian expensive-hip or Greek
I want my mother’s cooking

I end up in Outback Jack’s Bar & Grill
A shed full of tourists and carnivores
A giant green styrofoam croc
hangs
upside-down
on chains
from the ceiling
The girl waiters
wear synthetic Akubras
The boy waiters get to look normal
The peppermills are a metre long
and painted
to look in-didj-enous
On the walls grey photos
hang askew
A man kissing a camel
A man on a horse
kicking up dust
Wheat
growing
where once there were trees

The screens play music videos
Tamworth country
St Kilda rock
Here’s INXS
Michael Hutchence
His face so fresh
I remember watching this video
a long time ago
in someone’s college room

Michael Hutchence
had too much X-factor
for Perth
but this was his hometown
and those kids with guitars
were his mates
In some warehouse
some carpark
he sings
Don’t change a thing

In the end the poor kid hanged himself
in a hotel room
a long way from here
One of his friends
wrote a song
You’re stuck in a moment
and you can’t get out of it

There was almost a fight
at Perth Poetry Club today
It wasn’t cool
It wasn’t funny
But a poetry professor
came to hear the words
some kid
bought one of my zines
and Craig’s eyes
were clear and focussed
He says he has
a guitar again

Grandfather

Your faded black trousers look like charred treetrunks.
Your eyes are like shy leaves. Above them floats
your white hair, like a vague afternoon moon.

I put my hand on yours: rough bark.
You breathe slowly: wind in dry branches.
You say something: a crow
or a saw.

You’re a still man
in a stirred-up country.
Tell me your old old story.

First published in The School Magazine Touchdown