Manly

Manly poem

We drive to Manly and then walk past the kebab shops
and pubs, still reasonably unsullied.
Plodding through the cigarette-studded grit
where civilisation chafes nature. Our towels
and bathers no less mannered than the corsets
and high heels of fetishists – the rituals you go through
in pursuit of absolution. But once you get there,
ah. Seawater the colour of fossilised beer bottles,
salty and cold; fizzing. You wade in, past surfers
in wetsuits and young boys on boogie boards.
The water like an electric whip on your bare,
goose-pimpled skin. Out in the swell, your lover
cajoles you forward and with frenzied tenseness
you plunge face-first into the froth. It’s glorious.
Battered by the present tense; waves that punish
distractedness. Your bikini top pulls
to the side, snagging on your nipples
as the madman you’re with demonstrates
the ‘deck chair’ – legs stuck straight ahead
with toes serenely cresting. Awash
with uncomplicated pleasure, sucked
and rolled around the mouth of experience,
air-starved at desire’s summit – your goal
(romantic love) is rendered insignificant.
But you giggle with happiness anyway
when he pulls you in for a kiss.

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The Perils of Yes

The perils of yes

He has a thing for women who say ‘yes’.
A rarity in this, the age of suspicion. ‘Come with me,’
he said the night we met in the pub – a test.
‘But he’ll rape you,’ said my sister.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx‘She’s fine,’
said his friends, ‘his house is just really messy.’
Out we went. Beneath stars – fumbling
with hems and hosiery and underpants and denim.
Delinquents whose skins hung limply over the barstools
where they’d been shed.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxThere in the dewy grace
of middle night we were mud crabs at last, hiding
in the imprints left by bare feet in grass; crouched
beneath intrusion. Our cubby hole in a black hole,
splayed into the descent like Japanese game show
contestants destined for a vat of slime.
It’s a funnel, a space where time seems to atrophy
when really it speeds up
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxuntil inevitably,
as if to the sound of clicked fingers, I’ll proceed to wake up
in a hundred versions of morning, each progressively
more dishevelled. The price you pay for enlightenment –
your kite’s in the gutter, your car’s in the tree.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxInsanity.
But there was an ozone smell that lingered in the lilac
mist, an electric charge that sent static
explosions between our fingertips.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxOur alien
craft, a barf-stained mattress in Sydney’s Glebe,
billowing smoke in a dusty roadside ditch,
shaded by swaying blades of rippling wheat.
Children on the edge of a ruined world,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxcharged
with rebuilding the aftermath with sandcastles
made from cigarette ash and pizza crumbs
and the crushed-up remains of last night’s wine glasses.
‘You want breakfast?’ he asked. I said ‘yes’.