Amateur

(‘The Independent Type’ exhibition, Melbourne, 2009)

Dead poets placed, plastered,
exhibited, all the words
I’ve missed, and I try
to copy what’s left
into my head
using my dilated pupils and blood-framed lenses
But I’m too late
The uniformed man comes
The lights are going out
The sun is going down
on Melbourne
again

Live poets flicker dark
in my peripheral vision and sudden-
ly appear between my
eyes, Dali’s ‘Annunciation’,
an onslaught of lines, all the words
I’ve missed, and I try
to play live
using my amateur voice and uncertain fingers
But I’m too late
The bar is closing
indefinitely
for renovations, the owner
broke, the poets
too drunk for text

I protest
But the lights are going out
I resist
But the lights are going out
I cry
But…

The doors close behind my coated back and scarfed neck
I’m sent out
before I can begin
Sentenced out
into the lungless dark
Walk west again
Against the wind

What do you think?