Awake too late
in reverie inanimate
yet conscious and constrained
besieged with vagary
bound within myself
and over again
wrapping my perceptions
a dull reverberation
as I fall out of bed.
Mowing the lawn?
You’re doing it
but I care just enough
to provide for you son
Don’t break your back
staggering around your stack
with a thrashing howling living machine
rock shard and cut grass spraying
sweat cooking on your back…
No! you take that mower
and you rip it apart
scatter its guts all over the yard
let the blades rust in the Summer sun
then you go buy another one
and repeat this every weekend
until every inch of earth on your land
is home to some ruined piece of machinery
and the lawn will be
the least of your worries.
Take it from me, I’m a puzzling man
I’ve framed all the jigsaws I’ve ever done
and when I’m gone that’s all I’ll leave behind
puzzles and garbage
pornography and dreams
and my shack with views of the ocean deep.
Author’s note – Long story short, I went a bit crazy the last few weeks and nearly bought an alleged ‘house’ (in reality a run down rubbish-strewn shack in the middle of nowhere about four hours away from where I, or anyone else lives). In between dealing with all the loan sharks and real estate double agents, I spent a long time inspecting the place with the caretaker. It was a deceased estate, and the family hadn’t made even the barest effort to clean. And as I stood there in among the busted asbestos panels, tangled fishing rods, faded filth magazines, and all the accumulated detritus of another human’s life, I had a bit of a moment…
All lined up in my sights
my little duckies in a row
a dozen windows open all at once
and then at last I’m home
fading red wine melancholy
paired with your sacred text
my evening hums with electricity
as I bathe in your eccentricities
discovering and recovering
aspects long lost, now resurfacing
or carefully concealed, re-emerging
fragments I once discarded
re-birthed in wanton laughter
your songs are a lullaby to my soul.
Greedy as a starving dog
I consume your musical words
graceless in my unrestrained gluttony
your glorious expression surpassing me
your clever deceptions delighting me
you lead me along the garden path
you get me higher than heaven itself
and for all the hours I should have slept
I would make your poetry my gentle bed
comforting myself within your essence
your thoughts become my convalescence
and with your loving holy hands
and your blessed, messy, crazy heads
you wrote me out of hell.
I live in a small flat overlooking a main road, facing the expanse of the city’s South-West, staring right down the barrel of the setting sun. Local daylight saving time kicked in a few weeks ago, and rather than dealing with an extra hour of searing heat and blinding light pouring into my glorified shoe-box, I have taken to walking in the evening.
“To a store that sells curtains?” I hear you ask. No, not to the curtain store. Just wandering around my suburb, blending in with the dog-walkers and lycra-joggers, you know. Walking.
This place used to be a slum, with houses crowded close together and built tall and thin with adjoining walls, whole blocks of terrace homes with fences and tiny balconies decorated with wrought-iron. Some are modern castings, replicas created for more recent owners who pay millions of dollars to live in these done-up 19th century flophouses, but others are rusted and worn with a hundred years of weather and traffic exhaust.
Further down the street I walk past a mansion from the same era, sold in the 70’s, and converted with fibro and asbestos into a pile of tiny flats, now crumbling gradually and gracefully and only rarely collapsing on the students, artists and minimum wage scrapers that reside within.
My eyes are drawn again to the wrought-iron work on both the restored terraces and that old mansion. All I can think about is that iron, once heated to a glowing white, then bashed, hammered and twisted into shape by sheer will and muscle. I picture this blacksmith, some huge burly bloke with biceps like gnarled wood and a grip that would break the bones of my hand, not that such a fellow would likely offer to shake the hand of a modern dandy like myself, but you get the point.
This huge guy, this big dude, this strong, fucking manly bastard spent his days in a workshop that was hotter than Hell itself, his unshaven face black with forge-soot and scorch marks as he uses fire and raw strength to delicately manipulate the burning metal into flowers, vines, broad and narrow leaf shapes, ubiquitous fleur de lys, these patterns of intricate beauty that adorn hundreds of homes, once thousands perhaps.
And I doubt one person was doing all the terraces in the city. I suppose there would once have been a street that rang with the striking of a hundred hammers as they worked, a legion of skilled craftsmen, people who could never conceive of the future into which some of their work would survive. Schools of technique that competed with each other maybe, and maybe some conventions that were universally taught. How many horse-shoes and hobnails did an apprentice have to make before they let them have a crack at this stuff? I wonder if I could study these lattices for long enough to understand what it all means…
A young man ambles past me, about my height but thicker in the arm and shoulder, tattooed hands and low-slung jean-shorts. I jump when he speaks with a smoke damaged voice.
“How high are you bro? You’ve been staring at that fence for, like, ages.”
“I’m on my way to the curtain store!” I say, maybe a bit too quickly. He nods, and walks away without saying anything else.
“Should I go to the curtain store?” I consider it for a moment, but that guy is right. I am definitely too high for the curtain store. And it’s getting dark anyway, so there would be no more sunlight in my flat “So who needs fucking curtains?” I turn around and begin to walk home.
Most people wouldn’t sleep
with a weapon in their bed
but you never met
my axe girlfriend.
Fumbling picking with prickly fingers
chords that jangle when they should chime
callous growth and my forlorn hopes
I’ll make these cliches dance in time
a worn-out phrase born from naivete
climbing chaos like a jungle-gym
can’t persuade myself to save myself
wandering hands play a lonely hymn
reveal yourself to me
with your melodic screed
crows strung along a telephone wire
reaching heights I couldn’t aspire
someone’s gotta feed these chickens.
Out of the frying pan
and into the bottle
is a constant battle
bless my stars bless my claws
overlook all my obvious flaws
this boiled meat
tastes so sweet
be safe, my dearest of friends
and have a crabby Halloween!