Absolutely motionless in air; the sleeping flyer.
A plane made from bed bunks with flannelette wings.
To feel love’s cool breath blow fragrant breezes
across a summer picnic – Tupperware and tartan blankets.
Crisp glasses of sparkling on a balcony at midnight.
The distant thump of a party on the horizon
while a campfire makes firecrackers from twigs.
Turning to marshmallow in his biscuit embrace.
Lord, give me grace. May fineness sprinkle
like cornflour over my eyelids.
Give me spirit to enter this place.
I’ll lick clean the boots of love.
I’ll bury myself to the neck
and pray to you for sustenance.
Mouth open to receive rain; that I might swallow
Her arse upon the clock hand like a builder
on a steel beam at lunchtime; tin pail filled
with sandwiches. The free-fall, a sober referee,
can only instil fear for so long – eventually,
the bored worker becomes inclined to tricks,
such as poetry instead of sales copy: a call
to action written in metered prose, replete
with highfalutin adjectives. Nothing to lose:
no mortgage, no kids, not even a cat to feed –
she walks the length of hours and minutes like
Philippe Petit dancing above Manhattan
on a piece of wire – untouchable. While time
gathers its own momentum; the whistle shrieks
as one shift ends and another begins. Unlimited.
Anticipating the alarm clock on the morning of
another life. Chasing lucidity upwards.
I’m a fork in your microwave, sparking.
A goddess clutching lightening sticks.
The sizzling skeletal outline of a cartoon
cat with its paws on live wires.
An electrical fire. Sodium bicarbonate.
You’re the loose floorboard that slaps
my forehead – smack! – to the sound
of canned laughter. The lasso that pins
a sprung palm tree to the sand.
My mouse trap, my rabbit warren.
Like a bath bomb of ice-cream in soft drink.
The frantic tug of a thousand
tiny cupids. A magic carpet
that carries us, sleeping, clear
through the night. Our velvety rocket.
Our skin could be touching, we could be
smooth-skinned against each other. I could be
gently suctioning your lower lip. We could
waterslide the length of each other’s tongues
towards insertion – complete, asphyxiating
immersion. The rubbery slap of a second skin.
We could be tunnelling through warm mud –
death’s antithesis. Shuddering like heavy boughs
in a hailstorm. Depressurisation. We could lose
track of whose fingers are whose, fighting
sleep to remain in the cuddle.
A far-away engine rumble.
Like a looping porno: somewhere, in some
plane of existence, this is already happening.
The orgasmic transition from ‘could’ to ‘will’.
Two sparking fireflies
braiding their way moonward;
fireworks of milk. Girl sinew,
jigsaw cohesion, cartilage
on cartilage, base grinding.
Salt rocks, litmus colourings
of metal fire, the juicy-juicy.
Pulp jiggle, digestive fibres;
To land wholly in a giant’s palm;
reverberating currents of satisfaction.
The gum-smacking masticating glibness
of it – idiot euphoria – delirious
abasement, toffee buckets
of intravenous sugar,
cracking the eggshell
of imaginary to real.
This is the endless lesson,
thighs astride a brass seahorse;
Just as consciousness returns
to the fainter, your mild-mannered
nature bubbles back into view –
bullets for safekeeping.
To look into the prophet’s face:
That’s really lovely /
You’re so cuddly
Laying you down gently
to sleep – coming as far as I can.
I’ll meet you back here at the shadow lip,
the void in which I dangle my feet,
scanning the nightscape for crows.
Poetry requires madness
like anything worthwhile. And poetry
is love when times are tough,
while poetry in times of love
Two of his ex-girlfriends sit, interview
style across from me at a picnic table.
They are pre-adolescent. Pastel pink
Velcro sandals adorn their sandy feet.
In the background, a man in a Scooby Doo
suit sweats it out in the February heat.
Lukewarm paper cups of Pepsi Max
with watery ice cubes like contact lenses clinking
around at the sodden bottoms. The high-octave
clearing of thin girlish throats.
Between them, our main witness: shadow hammocks
beneath his eyes, harangued and implicit. Surprise!
My hands crumble wine glasses into vicious
flowers with skin-slicing Aztec petals.
I present each evil chalice before my adjudicators,
persecuted across the schoolyard.
Into my arms he has toppled like kindness,
but here we are shackled by the idea of decency,
guilt like greying skin in every crease.
While on the surface, our bodies speak through
a tangled yarn of bedclothes, arms in a tender
monkey grip, like tickle-greedy children
crying through laughter for mercy, honeyed into
resin like the keepsake of a beach holiday
in the paradise of memory.
The dull river water, a monochrome spectrum
of sediment, settling. Smooth and unhurriedly
yielding. Marshy lapping in the shallows,
with mud crabs for rocks. Cigarette forevers.
Boat houses surrounded by Seventies children:
the deep brown starts here. The tectonic drift
of square, nicotine-tanned teeth. A parrot
in relief. Totem tennis, ramshackle cricket.
Gravel music, fingers drawn through an ashen beach.
Preened into pigtails, the child in the floral pantsuit
kneels, hopscotch sprung, moulding a volcano
from dirt piles, dust clouds like rising steam.
She draws stick hieroglyphics in precise formation,
before standing to acknowledge her audience, uncertain
in her newfound spotlight, blue-eyed in the tropical curtain
of a grass-clipped Fathers’ Day, softly dimming.
At first I was annoyed to get pen ink all over my sheets. Then I thought: what a cool writer thing to do! Then I looked and saw it was my Australian Society of Authors pen. Then I killed myself.
So here’s the autumn fall of it,
here’s the concrete clearing.
The fudgy eighties woollen knit,
the jaundiced overexposure.
Breathing the soil-laced tailwind,
these small-time tornadoes. Kodak
intensity; a slide show. The loose
privilege. The artist as a three year-old
throwing leaves over her baby sister
as her mother’s shutter clicks.
Right in the midst of it, making art.