Brick Through The Window

 

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Trevor Poulton lives in Melbourne. He was publisher

of the regional weekly newspaper, The Central

Victorian News & Review. He was admitted to the

Supreme Court of Victoria as a Barrister and Solicitor

in 2002 and practices as a generalist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A collection of poems written by Trevor Poulton

during the 1990s. Several were published in Redoubt,

Verandah, On the Page, and the like. Several were

read on invitation to two Melbourne Writers Festivals.

 

 

 

BRICK 

                                        Through The Window

 

 by

 

Trevor Poulton

   

Collection of poems from the 1990s

 

 

Other books by Trevor Poulton

 Defining, Identifying and Protecting Old-Growth Forest

 in Victoria (2006)

 

The Holocaust Denier (2012 Novel)

 

 

 

 

Trevor Poulton

Brick Through The Window

 Collection of poems from the 1990s

 

 First published in 2018

poulton@labyrinth.net.au

 

 This book is copyright and no part

of it may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a

retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any

means including electronic, photocopying or

otherwise, without permission of

the copyright owner.

 

Cover painting by Sholto Turner (1990)

 

 

Brick Through The Window

Copyright © 2018 Trevor Poulton

All rights reserved.

ISBN-13:978-1986991797 

ISBN-10:1986991792

  

 

To my daughter Caitlin Poulton,

to Linda Heyworth who shared some first poems,

to Coral Hull for turning me into some poems of her own,

and to Fenton (d.1993).

 

 

The 1990s

If you can’t write a book write a book

If you can’t write poetry write poems

If you can’t sing drop it

 

 

CONTENTS

 

  1. Coral and me
  2. Sculpture of Ideal
  3. Fenton dies  
  4. East Gippsland old-growth
  5. Newsworthy
  6. Getting you into my star system
  7. Wildlife rescue
  8. Pink heart of stone
  9. Fenton
  10. Letter to a counterfeiter
  11. Death stored in a handkerchief
  12. Rumour mongers/idiots
  13. Royal Park (1993)
  14. Nineteen ninety-one
  15. First gulp war
  16. Voyage
  17. The Mother, a little girl and a Father
  18. Ladies of the sand
  19. This side of the lake
  20. Silencing a hit man
  21. Wordward into night
  22. Brick through the window
  23. Sea of love
  24. A woman’s perspective
  25. Lack of confidence
  26. A relationship
  27. Turning points
  28. Female Circus Trainer
  29. Flesh off the bone
  30. Regrets of a misogynist
  31. A cop’s double life
  32. Self-Portrait of a Cop
  33. Johnny Wheel
  34. An end (murdered)
  35. Police cells
  36. In the fruit box of summer
  37. Droppings of light
  38. Still-life of a god
  39. Telephone call
  40. The Intellectual
  41. Men’s only
  42. Love in the barn
  43. The Relationship
  44. Caitlin, I rebelled
  45. More than one way to BBQ a chop
  46. Driving
  47. Moving bits
  48. Mount Donna Buang
  49. A fairy tale
  50. Laying down to sleep
  51. Zilch
  52. The Passengers (Memory-Total)
  53. Wog taxi drivers
  54. Haunted flesh
  55. The home buyer
  56. Moving house
  57. Gestures of the block
  58. Leave, don’t go
  59. Dress code in Gold Street
  60. Body talk
  61. 1989 Production Room
  62. Just like to drink
  63. A neologism
  64. Rhythms of the ego
  65. Global yokel
  66. Into nothingness
  67. Police informer
  68. Song for Julie
  69. On her own
  70. Undressing for death
  71. Before Coral, there was you
  72. Lesbian wife
  73. Back to men
  74. Beast that walks on legs
  75. School classes
  76. A school kid’s wet dream
  77. The End

Bonus    Aphorisms of Trevor Poulton

Notes    

 

 

 

CORAL AND ME

 

Picture a white faced Celtic woman with a

scroll of black hair spilling onto shoulder

blades, a body stiff and eyes that are round like

that of a quadruped. Imagine her standing

next to the doorway of her lounge room. My

head, is placed on top of her shoulder, with her

back sticking to the red brick interior wall. She

swivels like a compass to her left, and then I

hold her against the door. ‘You prefer wood?’

‘Yes,’ she replies. I then put my lips to her

unexplored ear hole, and chew on a banana;

she likes the sound of blood rushing under the

roller of my tongue,

 

close to her tightening throat. We separate

and move downwards to the centre of the room

where we exchange vision and connect again

by touching feet and then fingers. ‘I want to show

you my bedroom,’ she says as she uses her legs

to elevate herself, and her poetry hands which

appear small and crooked, and are painted with

red varnish, elevate me to the level of one of her

floating hexagons. I submit to the mysteriousness:

a black and tan cattle dog with its acute face,

parked on the most expansive couch in the dim

lit room, its eyes tracking her bare feet; and, a

scant sheep dog with manic eyes attracting

anything that has life in it. I am inside its pupils.

 

She opens the door to the bedroom. There are

several lit candles all the same height; painted

photographs of elders sidled along the skirting

board and a double sleeping bag spread out on

the floor. Picture me, placing my hands, on top

of her shoulders, applying a little gravity and

we are down on our knees, with the candles

flickering about us, and she is just pivoting on

her bottom, rocking backwards and forwards

whilst I am trying to get her to straighten up,

or flatten out, and her body has lost all

elasticity and has become monosyllabic.

‘I think you should leave!’ she says.

 

So I walk out the front door out into the

Collingwood night where houses are just houses

and the streets don’t have much to say.

She is a breath behind me as I exit the

short square black wrought iron gate.

She says: ‘I’m just putting out the rubbish.’

I look back at her. Is she talking about me?

The Yarra River bends my rolls royce and me

home to Hawthorn. Picture me in my bed

penetrating white sheets, I am in love and

imagine her. Imagine now, a decade of love

and torment set to burst on the scene.

 

 

 

SCULPTURE OF IDEAL  (Lynne)

  

A sculptress deciphers white from true white

in a rough-hewn limestone block.

With fall of fragments, a bulbous woman

 

disrobes. Gauguin hips.

Surfeited on lime and stone. A rock eater,

healthy and brimming with whiteness,

reclining

voluptuously between Blue Gums,

within hands reach of tools

to smooth her hair. Contrasts

 

with her maker -

petite, vulnerable.

This other side of art

has absorbed the grief of stone, rises

under the weight of falling men.

 

 


FENTON DIES

 

Life is an accumulation of deaths.

Bodies enter and leave this untimely world.

 

The dog’s body is covered by sea,

he wiggles towards the bottom

hardened by salt.

 

My hands break the water

to retrieve his breath, and the sun

educates his skin, for him

to shake off his death

and chase his tail.

 

The suicidal dog leaps through

the damaged window of home,

a jagged ring of broken glass

that comes with another whiff of after-life,

following his concentrated dream

to a ring of green pellets

glittering beneath the neighbourhood rose

and its carapaces of snails.

 

He eats the poison

 

and flings himself back through the glass,

into this last house

that protects him from stars, his face

flinching on one side,

a throat given to tiny vowels -

 

running out of living 

 

northern walls telling Fenton to straighten up,

the body unleashing itself

until the snails and the garden

and the stars shut down on us.

 

 


EAST GIPPSLAND OLD-GROWTH

 

Time timbers down on

these philosophers of ranges.

Trunks lie stacked in sawmill yards

bark sheared from their backs.

 

Leaves download light in coupes

where money grows on trees.

In the canopy country

crowns turn grey and forlorn.

 

These are no longer kingdoms

that renovate and furnish gullies

or reshape horizons.

This is the fallen country.

 

 


NEWSWORTHY

 

Land without heirloom

lies listless and god-lost,

void of real life,

drained of essence.

 

Days of conglomerate deceit, of

electronic new age lies, smiles

of crashed Vishnu and falling seas,

spools of men and women dying

on polished factory floors,

commission flats posted to the skies.

 

Those end-looks, harsh endings

of imagination, nerve touchy.

 

Least thoughts on an expanding concourse.

Life’s mixture dulled to spume.

Insuperable engineering of emptiness.

 

 

GETTING YOU INTO MY STAR SYSTEM

 

Blackberry hair branching out

across the lands,

she’s falling from a star

with only a compass of bones

to determine which way.

 

She lands at my feet.

‘I want to make physical contact with you,’ she

says, touching my forearm.

She documents her discovery

rising like water about my waist,

rocking gently at my sides

till darkness comes.

 

Black rings inexplicably withhold light.

 

I walk with her

through blocks of buildings and books

before the sun sets on Brunswick Street,

stalking her doorway to doorway

to clarify the dimensions of her world,

strange to me.

 

She is anointed princess of the poetry scene.

Her sycophantic new earthling friends

tell her to be wary of bastard men.

 

She looks at me with her eyes turned on.

 

She speaks of flower essences and of karma,

and the passage of birds whose names exist in

intergalactic books, and of pages of the day

turning over, and of her star dogs

diving at airborne Big Bang sticks.

 

Critics creep the atmosphere outside, looking

to jam her star, me, us.

 

She’s from a galaxy called STOP!

 

On the beach at Somers the sky light cracks

the waves. We run for cover as it starts to spit.

I confess. ‘I want to love you forever.’

 

She offers me affinity instead of infinity.

 

Sea-birds disembark the sea

leaving an impression of our absence

as she determines to take me on a voyage

into deep space

 

vacating Earth for the winter.

 

 


WILDLIFE RESCUE

 

Great log of a rock,

furry bulging bloated football,

feet of stops,

moving bush of an animal,

damn the day

we became mates,

I can’t shut you

out of doors.

Tom bowler, party crasher

ramming my door.

Hold on, wombat, hold on,

I’m letting you in,

your dinner’s on its plate.

Friend for life.

Gum tree eyes that smile

like cracks of light,

I’m still repairing

the trellis you broke.

Good old wombat

with a distaste for the bush,

earthmover,

rock of a log,

hold on!

I’m coming to your rescue.

 

 


PINK HEART OF STONE

 

The stone is pink,

its interior is crystal.

 

Made of matter different from our own.

 

I was introduced to the pink heart-shaped stone

through my car door window,

being gifted it by the other.

 

She asked me to touch the stone.

My face was reddened by her sight.

My mind flat as a punctured tyre.

 

I was a non-believer,

but I relented and did as the woman said,

and felt the stone.

I returned to inside her house.

 


FENTON

 

A little rectangle

wanders about

in a black and tan coat.

Suddenly its sides unlock

to reveal speed.

 

The rectangle comes to a stop,

parks its muzzle on my shoulder,

it eyes knowing

the expense of emotion

that kennels human kind.

 

 


LETTER TO A COUNTERFEITER

(Long Bay Prison)

 

The light would be unbearable

forfeiting a generation of skin,

sandstone corridors

with peeled paint

steering your convoluted mind.

So far to the sea

that bangs the eardrums.

 

Eventually you’ll overtake the corridors,

to once again pedal the rocky seas

beyond the sandstone walls;

out into the years of light

halved,

manic over lost projections,

more bitter.

 

I remember you arched on the edge

of a river mirror,

your wet hair chanting to Vishnu,

joking with the refracted sunlight

that higher powers are really bent,

and that India is the cock of the world.

You returned home

 

rejoicing in theories of the Big Bang.

Such was your artifice,

to make psychic shifts:

stolen bicycles manifesting in hallways

of your several addresses.

 

The prison walls

tunneled with little squares of light

shape the air.

 

When you get out we’ll have a drink -

even if it’s no longer

to pedal along the edge of society

veering towards vast truths.

 

 


DEATH STORED IN A HANDKERCHIEF

 

He had made his choice.

 

The trees are a dark blue.

The moon full of views,

its light stares through

sealed windows of flats.

 

I compare different walls,

knowing I must confront

a single window with

an unfriendly view.

 

Leaves glint metallically.

I am holding a hammer in my hand

to break the view.

 

The window has always been locked,

he never let in air;

now I must shatter it

in one gulp.

 

I approach his bloated body

lying naked on a sheet of moonlight.

 

The body is restless;

it is riddled with maggots

kept warm by his electric blanket

foolishly left on.

 

I pull out my handkerchief

but already

the stench of death is stored in it.

 

 


RUMOUR MONGERS/IDIOTS

 

‘He tried to rape her!’

she said to him, who said to her,

who said to him.

‘Fucks his children,’

he said to her, who said to him,

who said to her,

talking in shafted tones,

eyes photographing bedroom walls,

documenting the intimacies

of others.

 

The lovers

suck on strawberry nipples

while sipping champagne.

 

‘Did you hear that!

He’s into pornography, abuse

of women, misogyny,’

she said to him, who said to her,

who said to him,

whispering in the gallery.

 

Phony new agers

offering comfort

to victims of abuse,

or twisted shadows

groping along walls,

spying and despising

the balance in others.

And then she said to him, who said to her,

who said to him.

 

While the lovers

suck on strawberry nipples,

sipping champagne.

 

Who’s that peeping through the windows?

It’s Johnny and Jess,

Susan, Louisa and Pam,

Lyn and Bill,

whispering in the gallery.

 

The lovers

strike back with baseball bats,

blackening necks.

 

 

ROYAL PARK (1993)

 

We enter Royal Park

with otherworldly dogs

Binda, Kindi, Fenton,

chasing away

stalkers, misogynists, psychos

and (my) superficial truths.

Stars give birth to the night.

The giant park to ourselves,

we interweave our aloneness,

wrestle over a spread of grass.

Whenever too much space intervenes,

your brown eyes with rings of green

topple on me.

 

 

 

 

 


NINETEEN NINETY-ONE

 

Out of the oil slicks

of Texas talk

a world policeman

takes his first steps.

Orphaned of imagination,

braced with towering iron bones

that rust when the oil shuts down,

a long head above

the curved millions who queue

the rim of his marathon,

soporific beneath the moon.

 

Out of the swamp

he has come, with wife

carrying his cow-hide

satchel of American dreams.

He had studied Brave New World

essayed on it at school

with thirty other pupils.

He proclaims a New World Order.

His vision kills worlds.

 

 


FIRST GULP WAR

 

My neck’s just shot out of my shirt

without permission,

didn’t even wait

for my top button to undo

popped out for no reason.

 

The lower body

protests

with sanctions,

no food for my mouth,

no shaving blades and cream.

 

My feet wriggle impatiently,

long nails set sail

out of my toes

and anchor in the harbour

of my shoes.

 

But my rebel neck holds court,

nodding my oily head

to the left and to the right;

the bulk of my body

is repulsed.

 

My heart shrieks,

‘Shoot the assassin in the head!’

Sanctions begin to gnaw.

Thousands of black haired warriors

pour ferociously out of my neck.

 

The dome in my throat

gulps,

my forehead sweats,

but my neck refuses to concede.

It likes being two metres tall.

 

After much coagulation,

a coalition of my body

concurs,

surgical intervention

is the only remedy.

 

My foot passes my hand

a long silver fish-shaped

blade.

My left hand

takes it from my right

 

and raises it to my neck.

The blade travels

across the jugular vein.

A thousand ribbons of blood

rain enough to fill a bath.

 

 


VOYAGE

 

Sails, streamers, men overboard,

ships passing and sinking,

fish flourishing,

clouds knocking together

like varieties of hats,

lanterns holding fire,

waves compressing together

like accordions

playing shanties to fists of the crew

knuckling in small breaths,

the sea surfacing,

fish eyes colliding and winking,

coins rolling on timber

splashed with jacks.

 

My eyes reside in their sockets,

my teeth cannot be moved,

my face holds itself together

with muscles,

I will not be distracted,

I will not alter course.

 

Birds flaunting their wings overhead,

balloons rafting the sky,

waves falling like sea-horses,

lips shuddering on a red horizon,

voices anchored amongst rocks.

 

My head thunders

in the opposite direction.

I resist all waves.

 

My ears point east and west.

My nose faces north.

I am sailing home,

following the tense curve of my nose.

 

 

(Inspired by John Perceval’s painting –

‘Ships at Williamstown’)

 

 


THE MOTHER, A LITTLE GIRL AND A

FATHER

 

Hills bend the earth about her

in this garden of restraint, furrowing a path

to her National Trust protected

house, and behind the four panel door

 

she keeps their little girl in heraldry

of motherhood.

 

She smokes through a black rose

smothering the trinket heart and days

twist through her garden beds, water draining

 

away into sky.

Canterbury Bells peal on their stems

as she runs beneath the arch of their child,

pulling the door shut;

bells ringing in her head.

 

Windows close like thickening glass

on a little girl’s vanishing

into a chest of drawers.

 

The house is

a fortress; hate

bulges from its parental verticals.

 

The Father waits outside

the gate

for his daughter,

 

until police come.

 

A straight breeze blows down the country street;

blue and red domes sit on top of a divisional van

without the glow.

 

Its tyres half on the footpath, half on the road.

 

The Father is told to get out of the car/to show

ID/to give a reason for being in Castlemaine/to

get out of town/he gets booked for not notifying

change of address on his licence.

 

His girlfriend is sitting in her EH Holden

Station Wagon with SA number plates; Coral gives

a false address behind her dark sunglasses.

 

‘Maybe you should leave town,’ he tells the

cops. ‘I’ll be back when the sun sets.’

 

Around dinner time the Father cruises past the house.

It is sealed like a mausoleum.

 

The divy van is crawling up the hill,

coming at him from the opposite direction,

the sun on its tail.

 

 


LADIES OF THE SAND

 

Where the ladies roll

down by the pier

messed in arrayed displays

of wanton gear,

laughing at the tilt

of bearded skies,

becoming the breasts of waves -

 

Where the ladies climb

up on the coral of flesh

drip on the sand,

roll dreams into beds

of fishermen’s needs

who thread their bodies

around the stems of waves -

 

Where the ladies waste,

and age makes waves

crumble,

lines weaken the anchors of men

and lessen the pitch of love

till the ladies leave

and newer ladies roll in.

 

 


THIS SIDE OF THE LAKE

 

The lake smoothes in

on the shore, the lip of water

polishing a man who now lies

beside me dead,

his crinkled black

hair rocking over

the blood spot to his brain.

 

A rifle lies beside him

pointing outwardly

away from his corpse,

the edge of the lake kisses its butt.

 

There is death

on this side of the lake.

 

I see this man one more time,

his body being hosed down

on a trolley in the mortuary.

I have been asked to identify him.

 

Bullet shells of my eyes

glare at the vacancy before me.

 

 


SILENCING A HIT MAN

 

You are a factory of nerves

peering over your shoulder

between street lamps and the moon.

 

Hit from behind,

your head is a picket fence.

You stagger to your room.

 

Memories flush red on the pillow.

Your number is up.

Pain stops the clock.

 

The time has come

for you to stand in a lineup

before the murdered dead.

 

 


WORDWARD INTO NIGHT

 

Nearing his full stop

Ezra Pound whimpers a truth,

you’d have to be insane

to be a book

in a place like America.

 

 


BRICK THROUGH THE WINDOW

 

Well hello baby,

I didn’t expect that red brick

to arrive like it did

straight through the eye of my house

and as I blinked

I saw an aqua tail gate

speed off down the leafy street.

Darling, it couldn’t have been you,

 

you were at your place

and in about the time it would take

for you to return home

my telephone rings,

a reminder call to say

you love me passionately.

 

I tell you not to worry,

I’ll catch the prick.

“They’re all out to get me,

but don’t worry baby

that’s their world.

It could have been a past lover

or some vindictive policeman.”

 

The second time is different.

She is standing outside the window

in the upturned garden where we

had laid trails of arguments,

her black skull screaming of poison,

her small fists rattling the glass.

 

Behind the smudged square transparent pane

I contemplate

the speckle of red under her eye.

I am standing in the emotional landscape

of my own glass interior,

transparent and fallible.

 

Out of the darkness

I cannot avoid the shuddering of her spirit

blackening down on me

in the wetness of our chimney shape

dying friendship.

 

I follow her outside

as I have so often done during our cycles

of grief,

but she keeps coming at the window

with all her emotion.

 

 


SEA OF LOVE

 

I grapple with you

in the questioning sea,

your eyes an illumination

of love, loops of  purity

pressing me to hold on.

 

The coastline of your body

shimmers that I should come

to rest between your thighs.

Questions rise and fall again

to toss you back into the sea.

 

 


A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

 

How decisive of you

to move between sheets

of an after-glow,

your face like a photograph

developed by my body

in the dark.

‘Tremulous features!’

 

Then up you get

and bounce across the room

to bring me more wine.

‘Recidivist destined to spoil!’

 

I know you’ll just fall

back into my broken arms

with more tendons than ever

and rub the sheets

on my toes.

‘Till they turn brilliant white!’

 

How silly of you

to think that you could extract

yourself from my

breathless leash

that walks the stars.

I am your woman,

the reason you now stand

so erect and florid.

‘I like your nice smile!’

 

 


LACK OF CONFIDENCE

 

I stop thinking

and then start again;

this is a mistake.

 

I start thinking

and then stop again;

this is a mistake.

 

Thoughts line up

against me,

dressed for battle.

 

I change my mind.

 

 


A RELATIONSHIP

 

She

worked on me

until

I had nothing

to change.

 

She changed

so I had

nothing

to work on.

 

We both

went off

to work.

 

 


TURNING POINTS

 

You do and you don’t

you don’t and you do

walk between the trees,

part plates from greasy water,

stroke the lines on my face.

 

You will and you won’t

you won’t and you will

stay at my place,

walk with me on water

as we fall like plates.

 

Turning a blind eye to fate

where truth hesitates to go,

reaching out

we finger the dark

but we do and we don’t.

 

Before you departed

to scratch the sky

i lingered about you

a heartbeat to your heart

but i would and i wouldn’t.

 

And here you are again,

in my arms and out, and

cruelly i push you against

the wall, but you won’t.

We are full of will.

 

 


FEMALE CIRCUS TRAINER

 

It’s you (again)

ringing like a telephone

your voice hurtling along the tightrope.

How do you say it? ‘Hello. It’s me.’

How do you manage all those phone calls

Triple 0 in vegan wear?

 

It’s you (again)

denouncing other women as slags

your crooked fingers molesting

the rings of their cunts.

But not that unusual.

 

For your next feat you say,

you’re gonna ram

a broken beer bottle up my arse.

 

You’ve organised for your male tenant

to migrate to a big tent in the lounge room,

sleep with the obedience dogs for reduced rent,

and shift another sad male clown

into his bedroom to get more rent.

 

You are the circus trainer.

 

It’s you (again)

burning your sisters at the stakes

nipping off their nipples

their floppy flaps and their fat bums

or bony cheeks.

 

It’s you (again)

ringing like a doorbell

your black bra beating against my door

your own cunt ready to slide mammal-wise

right across my body.

 

It’s that voice (again)

spiritual and reflective of pain.

 

 


FLESH OFF THE BONE

 

 

I have learned

to live alone

feel nakedness

of the bone.

 

No worm

to tend my affairs

no roof of ice

no despair.

 

Feel a little rain

slither on a leaf.

The bones step out.

There are no lovers

 

only the wind

between my ribs.

The way home

is long and tedious.

 

Hard for bones

that live alone

like fragments

on a sheet.

 

 


REGRETS OF A MISOGYNIST

 

When you said good-bye

you gave me your photograph.

Shot at, pushed down, punched up,

pointed, squeezed and slotted, brought

down, lifted up, locked down.

 

When you kissed me good-bye

your lips stopped trembling.

Beaten up, lassoed, breasts whipped,

face slapped, head washed, nose pinched,

spaded, buried like-a-bone.

 

The days now live without you

as I dig up my errors and mistakes.

Eyes withdrawn, stomach stuffed,

house shut, closed off, moved along,

criss-crossed, crossed out.

 

 


A COP’S DOUBLE LIFE

  

He manages to cross thresholds

as if people

are made of plasticine.

He thinks he’s clever.

It’s an art to be simultaneously

accurate and inaccurate.

 

On one side of the sliding door

a decadent darkness pervades:

a collection of haunted unkempt men,

& women who will dive for their drugs.

The dim light nourishes lyrical illusions.

 

Through the hotel’s sliding door

he enters Coppers Corner speeches,

censors his words.

Light illuminates from a whiteness overhead,

wiping reality with an intoxicating police

sheen.

 

He boasts a double life at Stewarts Hotel.

The trick becomes impossible

after too much to drink;

a broken glass, smashing a hole in a door.

Another night off his head and again

two conflicting realities unite,

neither room welcoming him.

 

 


SELF-PORTRAIT OF A COP

 

I am made up of many layers.

There are these four walls

about me that form a fortress

for my intelligence.

The walls

could be constructed of light.

 

If you move a little closer

you will notice my apparel,

hues of blue. Buried in uniform,

I am a walking sky

in which my body broods.

 

Undo some buttons.

You have arrived at a dead-end,

the wall of my flesh

where the sea, the sweat and the sky

meet.

I shall give you access.

 

I am Trevor Poulton

Senior Constable of Police.

 

Beneath the first layer

is a little bit of

ego, sadness and felicity

and

several shopping lists.

 

Let us go

straight to the core,

a whole lot of ideas

polarised,

awaiting some violent resolution

that will enhance my powers.

 

I am the opposite

of my own self,

layer after layer

of unresolved attitudes.

Now gently

fold the strips back,

 

tuck the sky

of my police shirt

back underneath my chin

so that I appear decent,

and let’s restart the interview.

 

State your full name, address and date of birth.

 

 


JOHNNY WHEEL

 

johnny wheel was beyond the rigid grid of

police life/ bit psychic/ took you right into his

head where it’s hard to plan your escape/ but it

appeared he’d lost his nerve like cops do/

whose glory days are waning and find solace

lifting barbells

 

in the gym/ with children peering on/ one day

they say he just pulled the pin/ some say he’s

locked up in hills Bairnsdale way/ and that

everyone’s out of his mind/ watches native

birds’ flashing wings light up the bush around

him at dusk

 

their speeding is self-preservation nothing else/

and that the spent shells of gum trees means

re-growth/ a crim reckoned once that wheels

sat on his double bed/ shared a joint/ tried to

talk him out of death but he also wanted

information/ tim

 

would say nothing/ but somehow he felt

touched/ wheels never painted the crim into

the wall but could have/ you could trust him if

there was something going on/ when you could

find him/ but he wasn’t like most cops/ writing

up tickets or out of the divy van

 

pissing on with licensees at the back of hotels/

or screwing single mums/ and separated dads/

in the housing commission flats/ we all knew

what was going on/ carlton cops could never

keep secrets/ there was a senior constable/

always drunk/ every week tell

 

you how he manslaughtered someone during

an interview/ but never got charged/ once

I read wheels name on the front page of the

sun/ asked what was the breakthrough/ just

said meticulously it was intuition/ probably

thought he was having a

 

joke/ sergeant john wheel the loner/ tracked

down/ the young constable with the broken

heart driving north non-stop/ across the border

to brewarrina/ chasin’ this poet coral when he

was supposed to be on watch-house/ wheels

brought him back for his own good/that one

 

amused us/ I used to drink with him a bit/ talk

in general terms/ at stewarts hotel/ across from

the cop shop/ where cops used to mix back

then/ seeking solace from criminals, disbarred

solicitors, junkies, civil libertarians and other

lowlife/ some the cops had personally charged

 

you could catch wheels in the slide lounge with

johnny autopsies/ hisinformers/ the points of

his eyes would tell you not to walk in/ one day

he said to me he was transferring/ said ‘it’s a

promotion & premonition’/ he said/ ‘you’ve got

to have more than one reason for doing things

 

more than one motive otherwise you go down’/

chewing his cigarette end/ wired up in stripes

and government supplied shoes/ ended up on

one of those/ victoria police protection schemes/

doing time/ he hadn’t turned crooked/ there

was a contract

 

out on him/ even the hat felt pity/ ‘one of the

few cops not frightened to overstep the mark’/

he said/ ‘but that put an end to him’/ some

reckon it was the sunny dancer took him down/

talking about johnny wheel with an old crony

the other night/ he reminisced/ ‘you don’t call it

 

burning out/ you call it fuckin’ history’/ then he

told me/ with those words it was my fuckin’

shout/ you still appreciate/ colourful language

in carlton.

 

 


AN END (MURDERED)

 

‘Do you have a brother?

Do you have a brother Tim?’

I didn’t want to give Tim up.

I asked the Homicide Squad, ‘Why?’

‘He’s dead. Dead. Killed last night.’

 

I felt the edges of my being

shot at and stabbed in the chest,

give way after so many years

of impotent observations and lies.

 

An illusion spanned through time,

from black haired follies in the yard

to the whip

of your Father’s suit and tie.

 

You could not resist

the soft caress of smack,

wheeling in money and lies.

A harness for your new suit and tie.

 

Money on the table,

fluorescent powder on the floor,

the haughty laugh of success,

wasted youth in a darkened recess.

 

I was told you died last night,

found standing against some wall.

You said you were too big to die.

Well why then are you dead,

if you fitted into your Father’s suit and tie?

 

 


POLICE CELLS

 

Put on the uniform

and you’re a different person.

You have power.

 

It doesn’t matter how young you are.

 

The jangle of keys,

the spotlights, the concrete floors

staring back up at you.

 

The needless denigration of humans

comes naturally after a while.

 

Nothing in the system

to really stop it. No higher power.

 

Anyway,

who’s he to guarantee justice -

a young constable, socially spoon-fed,

embraced by members of the public

who know much more about life

than he does -

 

broken down car salesmen

greedy bank managers

helpless social workers

ignorant school teachers

shallow land developers

crummy rock singers

drunken hotel licensees

lonely taxi drivers

 

 


IN THE FRUIT BOX OF SUMMER

 

I want to be up there

with hats,

I have worn out the ground.

I am going to shuttle

my wooden fruit box

up into the sky higher

than any person has trod.

 

I must avoid the roofs.

I will use a hammer

to nail on the wings.

 

Nanna is not my friend,

she paws all over me,

thinking my thoughts,

she is tubby and fat cheeked,

her throat is inside her shirt,

her hands are useless,

she cannot hammer,

she slumps in chairs.

 

My fruit box

is winged on the grass,

ready for flight.

 

She waddles towards me,

appareled in an apron.

I need more wind.

She lifts me out of my box

and rolls me over her bulges,

her fat balloons.

 

 


DROPPINGS OF LIGHT

 

A pact to deceive

squeezed out of lesser mouths

as my little brother and I

bloomed rebel-faced

behind the steering wheel

of the family car.

 

Smear of oil and paint tins

as we rolled backwards

down the branch shaped drive,

squeezing between fence and wall,

not knowing direction

just the perils of speed,

stomachs braking

over the lawn.

 

Lodged in green arthritic limbs

of the backyard lemon tree,

into droppings of light.

 

Bits of our lives hanging

from the tree,

citric acid passing through us

as we fled the backyard scenery

like thieves.

 

 


STILL-LIFE OF A GOD

 

The eye of the tap

surveys its realm.

A vast drop of water

hanging

from its upside-down well

is released into air,

and splashes

in a ditch.

 

The tap is god-like

full of weather,

brass handle controls.

 

It drips once again

from its mouth

onto gathering dirt,

imitating itself.

 

Beyond the umbrella of the tap

it seems it has never rained,

the soil is dry and separate

and does not swirl.

 

Another drop falls

in the kingdom

of the

tap.

 

 


TELEPHONE CALL

 

I enter the lounge room

on the black sheets

of a windy moon,

only to find myself

holding onto the telephone,

spinning on a call to nowhere.

 

Drifting on the line

I countenance her voice

throwing me into a tizz

of pitches, timbres and pirouetting

petals that crackle on the line.

 

The phone disconnects,

leaving me skeletal, un-petal like

on the floor, twisted and convoluted,

a triple-0 scream of help.

It purrs

through a myriad of black holes.

 

 


THE INTELLECTUAL

 

The pages flipped open

for me to see the print,

intellectual motifs and a lion’s head.

Although I’d resist reappearing

in the unprintable pages

 

mind and body disparate,

I still stroked your spine

capturing serifs of your breath.

Then you pulled me into the pages

chagrin increasing the grip.

 

The years since

have fallen from my hair

Jim onto king-size sheets.

Love has spread itself

thin over too many lips.

 

 


MEN’S ONLY

 

I’ve probably had too much vodka

to drink, supplied by Victor, gentle roman milk

bar proprietor

who has brought me tonight

to this men’s only baths.

 

The exercise room.

I chop away naked on a bike,

arriving where I started, merry, bones of my chest

protruding like spokes, so obvious I’m bone,

 

like the chrome press-ups, the legs of the horse,

the rings spinning foolishly on the floor.

 

Follow the hypotenuse

of my nose

right to the corrugated block of water with men’s

claws gripping the half pipe at the edge; you’ll see

naked men floating

in shallow gladwrapped waves,

eyeballs beaming an extra colour of light.

 

I dive in,

my red hair flooding

my ear lobes and nape; my penis

which increased inside the thighs of playboy

pages, reveals

 

my speechless pendulum.

 

I am thinking about sex.

 

Victor tells me not to worry about studying:

‘Learning comes with massaging your skin.’

He offers me a cigarette.

 

I giggle a bit and then laugh.

Men’s baths seems like a good place to be

 

when there’s so much unhappiness in the world.

 

Someone puts his finger to his lips;

it is perpendicular.  I notice any higher and he

would block his nose.

He tells me gently to quieten down, pointing to

a closed door.

 

Fifteen’s a bit young

to enter a dimly lit sauna chokka with naked men,

their jewels

smeared in sprog and hot steam.

 

It’s hard to feel your way out of the dark

when you’re young.

 

 


LOVE IN THE BARN

 

Tremulous lanterns

of straw scattered

by insatiable hands

 

breaking the soil.

 

The earth opens up

like a windscreen

smashed with rocks.

 

 


THE RELATIONSHIP

 

Coral, where did you get those lips from

painted blood red,

outlining a wall of teeth

and those dark sun glasses

that cut out your eyes and

turn minute muscles to stone,

and your blackberry hair

brushed back in thorns

and those arms that hover

like black cockatoo wings

before carrying you

in direct flight

across the floor,

to come to rest in stone.

 

Tough as a wound,

each dark shadow of you

leans against the next,

drawing others to your immobility.

 

I follow you to your room, where

we lie side by side in the candle light,

your lipstick melting between

two horizons, and the dark

sun glasses have vanished;

your naked face glows bird-like

as you release feelings in small packets.

 

 


CAITLIN, I REBELLED

 

You grow older, the petite

body must learn to share its room

with more and more refuse from

parents that feed their children

and use them as a dumpster

to deposit psychic mess.

 

Rollers of white waves

tumble over your bathers

flattening your back; you become

a hair-clip joining water to sand,

and then you rise up

on your soft white feet

to scuttle along the beach

up to your Father

boiled dry under the sun.

 

Courts roller-blade in:

social workers, judge-speak, solicitors.

Your two-Mothers-in-one revolve about you.

They dress you up

in tunics and Sportsgirl clothes.

You love the female attention, the glue,

your days structured

from morning till night.

 

I rebelled,

knowing your sacred garden

beyond the slate mines

where you run wild, where trees

rattle in a chaos of dreams,

and you have a special rock to sit on

which secretly moves

when you disappear.

 

If you ever need me

I am standing

just at the end of your sleeve.

I’m your Dad looking across from the stars.

 

 


MORE THAN ONE WAY TO BBQ A CHOP

 

Sitting at a darkened bar

with sunlight splitting the lounge in two,

the talk is of deals gone wrong,

Crown Casino, armed robbery

& your mate’s brother-in-law

they flung from a plane,

his cock stuffed inside the parachute of his mouth,

and how to make a business decision

over drinks

served by the usual barman.

 

It doesn’t gloom me to see

the insouciant movement of veins

that wears your associates down.

 

You say your gang’s doing fine,

pipes placed strategically ‘under the ground’

to conceal revolvers and merchandise,

and the red trikes are still out on the front lawn,

you’re running Neighbourhood Watch.

 

Dangling from buildings

only to climb again to the top.

 

You’re going for a piss.

You tell me to order you another

half Scotch and Coke with ice. 

 

 


DRIVING

 

The car is my feeling

for the day.

Mindlessly, I drive streets

to where they want to go.

I acknowledge stop signs,

argue with traffic lights,

circle around the sun,

map tree lines.

The car is my feeling

and I am its day,

we are soldered together,

sweaty, tired as a steering wheel.

 

I am the wavy line

behind the steering wheel,

that points the car

in different directions.

But the motor does not care

as long as it is churning,

and the seat does not care

as long as it is being worn.

I’m a particle of tiredness

shooting through a gallery of streets,

tired as a blown out tyre,

but I keep on moving.

 

 


MOVING BITS

 

Your curled lips part cautiously

opening an orifice stuffed with hair.

Your lips form a trap

for cigarettes.

In the God endowed years

the two moving

bits gripped your Mother’s breasts.

 

Vagary of voices and languid tunes

lie tucked in the throat

tangled cords pull

tight

when you move your lips,

the passageways yet to be cleared

for your laughs to rise like balloons.

 

 


MOUNT DONNA BUANG

 

Coral Hull ascends the look-out

above strand wire fences

and leather shaped domestic animals congealed

within wind-chilled landscape.

Each step she takes becomes goddess.

Stars pin her upright in the whirring air.

 

Clouds map the land

of an invisible skier

scything the road downwards

in sublime exercise, the swishes

resounding against our brains.

 

I am below hunting for firewood,

unplugging my worn runners

that grip the ice,

cut off by the weather

and the iron tower that bolts her to its gaze.

 

She calls out

to a billion sentient beings collected below,

‘Trevor..why..aren’t..you..up..here..with..me!’

 

 


A FAIRY TALE

 

At the end of the pier

are the figures

of a husband and wife

sewing up the sea

with lines and sinkers.

 

On the rotted board

next to them

lies a solitary orange fish

thrashing its tail.

Soon they’ll be gutting it.

 

 


LAYING DOWN TO SLEEP

 

I climb inside

the bed of my body, lean

against its sinewy sides.

 

The moon circles

inside my skull,

delicate tiny revolutions.

 

Legs lock into the bed position.

Back arches like a mattress.

 

 


ZILCH

 

Your view is twenty stories up with a plaza at

the bottom, and a water fountain that washes

cash into gobbledygook, it’s corporate culture,

you don’t have to deal in facts, ’cause a fact

breeds facts and that would take up your time,

your envelope would become too expensive.

It’s cheaper for us to lose the deal, you suggest.

But I wasn’t hiring an accountant.

 

One day you took your umbrella to a meeting

because you speculated it might rain, it was

nothing more than a possibility. And you left

papers behind, didn’t really know what was

happening, did you Zilchman, just posturing, filling in time between drinks.

 

You’re not street wise, more into illusion,

modern culture favours skyscraper crime,

inoffensive bravado, give more than you take,

you’re a member of clubs and on boards.

 

Down in Williamstown, the sea foams

like a bubble bath,

like the moon the waves harvest

the attention of self-promoters and prophets -

you’re comfortable residing there

right on the foreshore where new bodies roll in,

trees on parade and strips of introduced grass.

 

There’re other nice suburbs, Mont Albert,

Parkville, Templestowe. But it’s the necklace of

the bay, gives a feeling of grace.

 

The renovated wine bars with skillion ceilings,

skylights that hold in the weather, and bay

windows with nostrils that snuff cocaine.

 

Zilch! It’s all good.

 


THE PASSENGERS (MEMORY-TOTAL)

 

Those bird feathers that flew off her,

the taxi driver could not believe it.

The windscreen, a transparency of others

awakening as the sun

cuts through a flap of sky.

Trees fabulously barked, garnished

with leaves.

In some parts of the world

it is breakfast time. Not for Madeleine.

Her torn stockings blinding

the rear vision mirror, hands pinning her down

in the back. Don’t scratch the vinyl -

The boyfriend confiscates her sharp high heels.

Shut up Madeleine, he says, you know I care

about you -

I won’t! Those bastards at the night club

stole my hundred dollars -

It wasn’t yours anyway -

I want the money back! My own brother raped me

when I was fifteen. I want my money back now! -

her body contorting

in a fluffy dress that just holds her together,

breast precious.

Shut the fuck up Madeleine, you’re driving me

mad. Why don’t you say he raped you to his face?

You’re a psychiatric case. I’m gonna punch you

if you don’t shut your mouth -

The Maribyrnong River passes by like a gash.

Madeleine tells the taxi driver to pull over.

She does a runner.

The taxi driver checks the Mem-Tot.

The boyfriend says he’s not payin’ the fare.

 

 


WOG TAXI DRIVERS

 

Rosary beads

propellers of cards

jugs of vino

cigarette lips

yellow cabs

silver cabs

black cabs

they are off

 

creating traffic

that once carved

paths of Apennine

proportions.

These mercenaries

mastered the blood spot

of women

and pitched the marble

of Europe’s might

against the black

vocabulary of Islamic

minaret temples.

 

Today

the mercenaries

drive their taxis

from airport to city

from city to airport

down tarred roads

where hailstones melt

in concrete gutters

and passing the time beads

wiggle in their palms.

 

 


HAUNTED FLESH

 

The dead inhabit our shadows

walk servilely beside our flesh.

Little time remains

when shadow flirts with death.

 

Of others’ footsteps -

the lovers, the procreators of time,

their shadows merge with

museums and hotels,

stations and clocks,

moving imperviously.

 

Outside the museum,

there is a statue of a soldier

shot in bronze,

from morning till afternoon

his shadows parade

across the lawn

without breath.

 

In the beginning

human beings rose up from shadow

to redeem flesh,

but flesh

clings

to flesh.

 

Time is binding.

Time is unwelcome.

The soup eaters slop their soup

into crooked mouths.

No! Time has no time

for time at all.

 

The dead inhabit our shadows

clinging to our flesh.

There is no time.

The bowels are drying.

 

Listen to them as they walk -

the lovers, the procreators of time,

their shadows merging with

discos and hotels,

wine bars and clocks,

 

easy lovers in an easy time.

 

Time boiling dry.

The dead are dead.

The living confirmed.

 

 


THE HOME BUYER

(Michele’s home For Sale)

 

Gold rings threaded

through a wing of your nose

matted hair, deep set eyes

city mouth

massaged by an estate agent

marrying you to a house.

Garden encircled with stone

irises plunging in and out of the dirt

conifers saluting the corrugated roof.

 

Climbing into the hole of the magnolia

down its stem you are in

the country cottage

bedroom laid in stone.

Hollows in the walls where spiders camp,

floorboards like railway tracks

leading to ghostly rooms.

 

Down the stairs

into a damp chamber and a secret door,

a miner’s cottage on an era of land.

Many lived here before

making love in cooking smells

brushing hair back into mirrors.

 

You seek about in striped stockings

and damp flesh,

your body wanting to stick to stone walls

as an offering.  This is the house

you have been looking for.

 

 


MOVING HOUSE

 

Park the truck

Tape boxes

Shift stuff

Careful with the dream

 

Shut the truck

Start up

Park the old dream

In the new house

 

 


GESTURES OF THE BLOCK

 

Is the house that creaks

in the head speaking in voices

to invoke the dead?

 

Howling of neighbourhood dogs,

furniture in the carport

anxious to be moved.

 

Should I suspect a madwoman

on this shiftless night

or just gestures of the block.

 

Jumpeeee!

 

 


LEAVE, DON’T GO

 

You told me to leave, and go I did

to flowers, and built fences,

and you came and tore them down

and led me to a room

where you laid beside me

before the downpour.

 

I built numerous rooves

to drain away our anger,

and you raced outside

and rattled on the windows

wet clay trying to open the latches.

I dragged you back in so you wouldn’t go.

 

 


DRESS CODE IN GOLD STREET

 

Out of the finest light,

the great skin of day

hitched to sky,

a child skips onto the street

bare-footed, gravel toes,

she speaks to animals, rocks and flowers,

she weathers passers-by

blades of grass fall at her heels.

 

She hates the coming of darkness.

She knows its outward motion,

its habit

of taking things away;

but when it visits

when it speaks to her

she does not deny it power.

She sets her face to the setting sun.

 

A sunset like this is not so unusual

as it darkens her adult mood,

disconnecting me. Her body

becomes screwed to the brass bed,

a doona shrouding her

to the bridge of her nose,

an occasional headlight or

the sound of a siren outside.

 

Inside her built-in robe

there are new days to be worn,

bodies of clothes

dressed in centrifugal black.

 

 


BODY TALK

 

It’s a foolishness

to look too deep

into the body,

sunsets on the face

the mornings after,

spot fires on the chest

after sorties with drunks,

a sea of flesh that leaks,

little bits of cancerous scrub,

mottled and freckled,

a B minor chord in D.

 

 


1989 PRODUCTION ROOM

 

Eyes that fall in lust

focus on her at work,

her lengthy body arched

fingers pasting down the book.

I move to touch her lips

which edit words in the text,

places that forever seem repeated

Waanyyarra, Scholes and Galliene.

 

She is always conscious of me,

knows exactly where I’m standing.

 

As the pages turn over

the foreboding time of parting

brings listlessness to our pace,

echoing each other’s thoughts

never to breach our contract

not to have an affair.

 

Play pool at the Cumberland Hotel,

balls spin like coloured thoughts,

dreams being pasted together

only just to finish the book!

 

We arrive on a hill at my place,

looking out to Mt Franklin.

It will be now, or it could be never.

We breach the oral contract,

Diane. Once. One time. Only.

 

 


JUST LIKE TO DRINK

 

Cob was rounded like a leather ball,

sheer muscle,

he just liked to drink,

did a one-off armed bank robbery

and never got caught.

‘Can’t go wrong

if you just stop at one,’ he would boast.

 

He just liked to drink.

Even at Scotch College,

he just liked to drink.

VB was his favourite.

 

He would head to the usual haunts,

St Kilda, Prince of Wales Hotel

where you drink, and to the Espy,

the bay windows flooded with people

who just liked to drink,

and think grunge music banging in their drinks.

 

Cob maintained restraint

when it came to doing

armed robbery.

‘Can’t go wrong if you just stop at one,’

he would boast.

 

His presence created room,

made it easy

to stand beside him

without the aggravation

of being knocked against

by other blokes, and to listen to the music

and confidently have a drink.

 

Cob could see two plainclothes cops.

Mario was not the type

to be jaunting to places like this even

if he and his mate were at the Espy

because they also liked to drink.

 

Mario had a rectangular frame

with a head shaped like a tv,

his black hair was cut squarely at the back,

and his horizontal eyebrow,

which had probably joined up

around the time he sprouted pubic hair,

formed a panel

below his cropped fringe;

he was so square you

got the impression that that’s the thing

he was most proud of.

 

‘Plainclothes cops,’ a pimp scoffed,

smiling but not with his eyes,

his neck tattooed with hearts and stars.

 

‘Is that right,’ Cob replied, reaching for his

drink.

Cob just liked to talk

Essendon Football Club & astrology

& post-traumatic stress,

 

and he liked to drink beer

and listen to the thunder of a shotgun

going off like music in his drinks.

 

‘Can’t go wrong if you just stop at one,’

he would boast,

downing another drink.

 

 


A NEOLOGISM

 

Preacher of ‘Equality’ –

Tarantula,

I anticipated your visit,

opened the trap-door

to illuminate your camp,

strummed your web

that rage

 

should wake you from your syllabic evenness.

But Tarantula would have it the same:

repressed envy,

tyrannical madness of impotence:

spinning

clock-arrays

in minimum

Tarantula variation.

 

Drop like a dot from where you hang.

Here appears a new word:

‘Equantity’

to stir your thinning blood.

 

Comes to bag a word.

 

 


RHYTHMS OF THE EGO

 

Seasons come and go.

Time is supposed to bring change,

turn shade into light

mature and ripen me with age.

 

But the light that flickers

in the innermost ego

is fueled by other rhythms.

I walk

 

by the beach.

Last year it smelt of salt.

Today the air is fetid,

hostile on my back.

 

The sea splashes in time.

Hands rotate the earth.

My mind disputes all origin.

I spin the earth about its girth.

 

 


GLOBAL YOKEL

 

I have often thought

of being a global man,

carrying my rake

about the sphere,

over war torn lawns

where cockroaches

drink from cans,

gently raking up

the urban wastes

left by men of storms.

……..……………..

 

‘Hey, global yokel.

Think less global

and more local,

otherwise you’ll go mad.’

 

 


INTO NOTHINGNESS

 

I am as a weary man in a dusty closet

arrested by anger

twisted by turns.

 

While the tongue whines of nothingness

I squeal to the void

stuck in a shroud of noise.

 

Down to shoe boxes in boots

sweating and drenched

I turn to turn.

 

Time reeling by on a wind

shifting my weight

I need not sink or swim.

 

A brass handle revolving angel

comforts me

wiping away my dust as we turn.

 

 


POLICE INFORMER

 

I thought we had planned our escape

from fantasies of underworld levity.

 

A shawl webbed about your negligee.

Your hands gave shape to my body.

 

Your mouth too small for cake

opened like a park.

 

I swam with you.

 

Then the telephone rang

just after you had left.

It ominously clicked.

 

No restraint, no going back.

Wires coiled about your imbroglio of hair,

hot red, seething with underworld revenge.

 

My offence,

informing you I was leaving Castlemaine.

Not an equation for betrayal,

just a symptom of stress

with an era coming to an end.

 

My stomach rumbles

returning to the empty

bottle of your room

and looking out your window,

only to view

blue and red bubbles of the police

revolving in levity.

 

 


SONG FOR JULIE

 

I’m taking my time

to think awhile

and think about

the things you want me to do.

 

I’m taking my time

to find out in awhile

what I should do

to make you want me.

 

The time it is hard

it’s hard to find out

the things that we’ve got

that gave us a start.

 

Well you say that our love

can be measured

by the time

that we spend together.

 

So I’m taking my time

to find out

what you want me

to do.

 

A little bit of rain outside

a kinda  smile

that comes

when we’re crying.

 

You may as well smile

tilt your hat to one side

because I’ve got nothing

to hide.

 

You say that our love

can be measured

by the time

that we spend together.

 

So I’m taking my time

to find out it all

I’m taking my time

to find out

 

what it is you want me to do.

 

 


ON HER OWN

 

Through gold-rimmed eyes

she died,

with a heart pump or nothing

when lips stopped her

breathing -

 

twisted and rotting

from years of garbage -

 

the crawling dark

of her voice

through unkissed haze -

 

impinged upon -

 

silent as grey blades

concealing bladeless suns,

blameless, faultless, disturbed,

loveless like a smallish green bean

on a dull plate -

 

vanishes into dirt.

 

 


UNDRESSING FOR DEATH

 

Age has curled itself about him

in a worn-out scarf.

He looks deep into the dread-light

of the sea.

He used to dance,

not just on stage

but at parties.

 

A coffee mug hangs

from bones

encrusted

with ornate rings.

 

The man kick-steps

towards the dressing mirror.

He fits regularly

into six feet of tall silver,

two feet of breath,

seventy-five years of depth.

 

The scarf of his flesh firms.

Images of beautiful men

and serpentine women

appear before him

in the crowded room.

 

He turns to his bed

massaging an after-glow of reflection,

curls into lateness of age

preparing nightly to descend

into a shallow sleep six foot deep.

 

 


BEFORE CORAL, THERE WAS YOU

 

Years ago we met in a hotel.

You were in a triangle of friends,

skirts of entertainment

tripping the Albion.

 

A business card sufficed at the bar

quips and sociable remarks.

The same night I waited

and you came.

 

I held you in my arms,

your assailable shoulders bare.

I wasn’t sure how to love you

only knowing that I could.

 

Humour brought forth the godliness,

bore our prejudices and retreats,

conflict forced us to see things anew

and traverse our opposing philosophies.

 

We constructed a matrix of living,

no notion of the future,

planted seeds in your bricked-in garden

creepers, birches and light.

 

Chinks and slabs of anguish and despair,

dust on clothes never settling,

a daughter and a step-daughter,

the whole domestic carnival.

 

We lost our way along the track,

repressed the love that drew us there.

Tears would reflect our failure,

no quips to enshrine our being.

 

Well, I’m back at the broken-hearted

Albion Hotel after all these years.

Here’s my card again.

It’s Christmas and good-bye.

 

It’s hard to fall out of love.

 

 


LESBIAN WIFE

 

So many years have passed

I can now look beyond my web.

Life has spun its die

leaving hope of greater springs.

 

My red beard had engaged

with lies I had not reckoned,

bones stirred by vagaries,

eyes vats for drink.

 

It was in the year of

nineteen eighty-seven.

Gross seeds had been sown

flattered by the skies.

 

I had plunged into darkness,

my head pressed against her shirt.

The trees were sweaty and auburn,

tombs sealed beneath the earth.

 

I flooded her in wilderness,

soldiered for her soul,

unaware the demented creature

had traded it for a more flexible form.

 

The day had reached its zenith.

Our anniversary was a glorious event,

flowers pirating the skies

and kisses shooting from our vents.

 

But when light

had crossed the path of graves

and daylight had given birth to sight,

I found my lips caught in my lover’ beard.

 

Blinded by years of love and deprivation

I had failed to realise that women can change

overnight, and that such creatures

are not possessed of sin.

 

 


BACK TO MEN

 

I have seen

hands like that before

on unsure mature

white middle-class women.

 

Bones parked behind fingertips,

fingers that clutch for order

but refrain to grab,

that have come to touch other women.

 

I have also heard of motions of change

in women who cease to stroke and music

a woman’s bowl,

but ask the dance to conjure

before a shaft full of vaginal light

the gilded hammer

 

where no bones lie shattered,

of secret and full of blood penetration.

Back from women towards men.

 

Having been accused of losing

my de facto wife in the gender wars,

I felt the need to make amends.

 

I knocked on the door

to a renovated house

off Hargraves Street.

Being welcomed inside,

I shared with the hostess my visceral

tale of domestic betrayal,

my newspaper vision -

The Central Victorian News & Review,

6 glasses of Chardonnay,

my cigarettes,

and even particularised

my revisionist fascist views.

 

We had only known each other by reputation.

 

A militant lesbian feminist, the hostess

reciprocated with an intensity of her own,

painting me into a wall

like I was two dimensional.

 

Later, and maybe it was the poems

I had shown her, I got a call

to avail myself in her bed.

 

Serendipity. Her word.

She told me to stop talking.

 

Multiple nights she

would follow me all the way back to men,

restoring the gender balance.

 

That’s my account of the affair,

when I’m not thinking of her.

 

I’m told she’s teaching in London.

 

 


BEAST THAT WALKS ON LEGS

 

The first woman in my life

she was red haired,

soft between the legs.

 

The second

a sea of new born stars

imploding between her legs.

 

The third and fourth

I remember for their legs,

dancers of the heart.

 

The fifth

her bedroom carved in bright stone,

blossoms falling from her hair.

 

I rose up from the underworld

to snatch the blossoms in mid-air

and tell of the wonders of her legs.

 

Numbers are adverse to names

and with the whispering of sweet nothings

I called her by another’s name.

 

The fifth sat up and stared

at an interloping image stained

on her bed.

 

In the random art of love

I had made one faux pas

to be was cursed

a beast.

 

 


SCHOOL CLASSES

 

Teacher

 

Forget about the fireballs of Dresden

And bombs raining down on Hamburg and Berlin.

You must read what you are told to.

You must believe in testimonies.

 

Or be sent to a psychiatrist.

 

Student

 

Has the melting pot come true?

Everything leveled out at school?

All values, all ethics, all histories, all?

Cultural aspirations all or nothing?

 

Teacher, oh teacher?

When may we question?

 

 


A SCHOOL KID’S WET DREAM

 

Our cloud of love

has begun to stir

I must make love

to her.

 

My laces undone

off with my shoes

raging with desire

I undress her too

and we slip into the fire.

 

Now naked are we

lying on the grass

the wind is cool

time has quickly passed.

 

 


THE END

 

In all our imaginings

We failed to define a path

To lead us back

To the humbleness of art.

 

 

 

 

Music

 http://static.wpe.au.syrahost.com/var/m_1/13/136/12911/594158-160110_0097_Mums_Garden_Empty_Song.MP3

 

http://static.wpe.au.syrahost.com/var/m_1/13/136/12911/597389-She_wants_to_go_home_(Dec_2015).MP3?


 

Notes:

 These patterns (poems) were rediscovered by me in a medium light cardboard storage box in a garage at the base of Mt Dandenong, Victoria in March 2018.

Cover:

The cover painting was painted in 1990 by Sholto Turner at the age of around 18 when he also unexpectedly gifted it to me.  Sholto Turner is an artist, sculptor and designer, based in Castlemaine, Central Victoria.