Instead of owning my good fortune — you’re such a lucky fuck, they said —
I started talking extinctions, the medicine someone was going thru
another’s turpitude, crocodile tears on primetime.
I changed the subject in case I was noticed by the instrumentality
that chocolate wheel in the sky that doles disease and accidents
loosens lug nuts, hands scissors to toddlers, tyre irons to tyrants.
Once spotted, my future would be repainted beige —
wishes all swum, a runner up cup, thanks for playing — or worse
disaster is a lion and we’re antelopes tripping on bath mats and traffic lights.
Here’s my Mum’s mantra – explaining our hearts
Don’t aim too high, she says. Disappointment’s a long road, she says.
Everything is rationed. There’s nothing in that drawer.
Here I am, a child squatting at the top of the stairs on that chilly Christmas
both of us, me and her, squatting, fists to my temples trying
to not want that engine-red two-wheeler with the chromium…
Continue even unto the unwrapping, the instrumentality sees all.
Comes a five-year old Orpheus downcast down the stairs lest, like Eurydice
the bicycle of my dreams vanishes, swapped for smoke and recriminations.
At last I’m shifting off that freeway
— a land of blur and green —
I’m slowed on a side road, rolling to the heartland
past cars on blocks, a house with an open door
like a tooth gone from a smile, police stations and charity stores
concrete playgrounds, schoolkids singing their ten-times table.
An old jacaranda and there’s Mum upright again, her care-worn cardigan.
And we’re looking across the field to the horses, their long gentle faces
their beautiful white dentures close cropping the weeds of fortune.
Image: Horse in Motion, Eadweard Muybridge, 1830-1904 c/- Boston Public Library. I had originally set out to write something to illustrate ‘turns’ in poetry but it ended up elsewhere – a place of memories and magical thinking (in the Joan Didion sense). Hope you like it. The phrase ‘nothing in that drawer’ is adapted from Ron Padget’s poem of the same name.
Tonight (25 Feb.) I’m hosting Dverse – the poets’ pub – where we’re talking about the middle parts of a poem – and ‘turns’ or ‘windows’ where a poem shifts or opens up a new direction. Drop by and join the fun. The bar opens from 3.00pm New York USA time.
And here’s a rare treat – Japanese jazz pianist Ryo Fukui with My Favourite Tune from 1994 – order another cider, put your sunglasses on and enjoy.