Sounded like an army of geese
a turbine filled with feathers and beaks
Wind chimes playing jazz chords in Dubstep rhythm
Rain falling sideways, the Earth tilting
My umbrella became a shield, waved
defensively as if in a ghost’s face
as I thought about how once, a dead guy
said that having sex in the rain was the most alive
he ever felt. The world a snow dome
filled with petals. Gutters foamed
and drains turned rabid as we only just made it
to our intended destination –
an apartment in St Peters. From beanbags
we watched silver sheets of water cymbal-crash
against trees and buildings and telegraph poles,
a biblical wetness anointing asphalt
Windows broadcasting the elemental
Rain, the hymn of its own profusion
Clouds surrender to diffusion.
Pink around its eyes; the sick sky.
My snapshot frames a lone bat
while night, like a kid in a wizard costume,
drapes its sleeve across the picnic-goers.
Brie gunk on plastic knives. Clots of wine.
Foil packets, crinkling.
A text came through, pale and greenish,
a single shoot in the dry expanse
of a once fertile sublime.
Ding! – like the wavering chime of a school bell
in an empty playground. Should I ask the bald guy
waving Mars Bars from the window of his convertible
to give me a ride?
There’s only one letter’s difference between ‘SMS’
and a distress signal. Back and forth,
our crappy haikus described springtime
in the language of winter.
Time passed. The night settled
into a soupy dullness
cloying and barnyard-damp
as the crowd thinned out in clumps,
a stadium of lethargy.
I traipsed home, guided by my iPhone
like a glow worm on the roof of a blue-black cave;
A sleep-nest of cars
like a motionless barn
filled with robot horses
plugged in to charge.
The wheezing sound
of distant engines.
Late-coming workers returning
to stainless kitchens.
With night comes permission
to rely on the planet
for transport after driving all day
(some in old vehicles,
sustained by ethanol
only, she idles
outside his flat
like a bus driver
playing Sudoku. Soon
the pub will close
and he will return;
he the metal,
she the magnet. He’ll open
his arms. They’ll cling.
“I once loved a hobo in the park.”
This was my friend’s mum talking, her papery face
suddenly a lantern. I kept prattling
as if she’d said something ordinary, something
not quite so aligned with my own predicament.
A hobo in the park – my inner tape recorder
got it, even if my drunk-mind didn’t.
Her eyes were the same blue as a Sydney summer,
the same eyes that once treasured society’s trash.
The stupidity of wisdom. I told my lover
once: “You’ll end up like one of those guys in the park
you know, the ones who yell at nothing and throw
bottles at people.” We were in my car, driving
across the Harbour Bridge. “I don’t care!” he said,
a fresh burst of spittle coating his week-old t-shirt
like air freshener, the cheap kind that’s labelled ‘Alpine’
in black letters, and smells even worse than shit.
It was 11:30 by the time we made it to his office,
which is either shockingly late or “Just in time
for lunch!” depending on whether your half-filled glass
contains vodka. At some point I suppose
I’ll have to stop finding him hysterical
or I’ll end up with the surname ‘Jones’
and a bedroom with a leafy vista.
I know. But my friend’s mum doesn’t lecture
because she knows the wilfulness of love,
the hurricane that howls in from nowhere,
from stillness to gale force in a breath.
Transient as we all are; voyeurs in a dream.