The arm of a shirt I paid seventy bucks for
when I didn’t have the money is poking out
of the laundry pile as if hitching a ride
out of its slovenly neighbourhood.
In Sydney, the road not taken is characterised
by pot holes and speeding traps and brothels
while those on the motorway speed homeward,
their e-tags beeping. The shelves in the office kitchen
were stacked with Tim Tams, lollies, noodles
and low fat salad dressing. A photocopied
image of an attack dog threatened injury
to those who didn’t clean their dishes.
The CEO would run twenty kilometres
before eating her Paleo breakfast each day
and demanded our attendance
at compulsory yoga workshops.
Whenever a staff member would disappear
their name would be scratched off the cleaning
roster. It reminded me of Soviet Russia,
the way they’d rewrite history textbooks
to say New Zealand was full of cannibals
(for instance) and Australia full of criminals.
A history teacher in Moscow told me that.
In other news, on Monday I was sacked.
On the drive home, the road seemed narrower.
Love poems are tattoos – messages to yourself
from your drunken youth that serve no purpose
other than to depress you on dark nights, years later
when he’s calling you a ‘stupid bitch’ and you’re questioning
your choices. Love poems, those little pricks.
Yet here you are, writing another of those buggers,
listening to your lover snore as bats creak overhead
as if to say: Leave! Leave! You feel the shift
as he descends down into dream, as backlit
doorways open unto weary homecomers –
the urinal sound of rainwater seeking the ocean.
You stay because you’re in love with the idea of him,
his potential. You and a billion of your kind.
But every time you crack the shits
he reels you back in and your love poems
start singing again like cheerleaders,
their mantra: Believe. Believe.
As if a house could be killed and eaten.
Nothing is fixed. My Nan lived in the same house
for forty-nine years but now it’s been
bulldozed. I still dream of it – of my own hands
driving the spike of the totem tennis pole
into a funnel-web hole in the cracked dry dirt.
Hitting a trance in the front yard
as the honey resin light glows
brighter. Our dreams are a museum
of time, and childhood is love. I’m building
a house in my fantasy life because I’m tired
of renting in Sydney. My Nan was robbed
in the flat where she now lives, and they took
my grandfather’s watch. He doesn’t need it
anymore, of course. Nothing is fixed.
I’m tired of being homeless. I want to build.