xxxxxa short-lived heaven.
Your concrete leaden leather couch.
Your weight. Spat out
like gristle, I’m disappointingly similar
to all I used to be – xxxxxrelentlessly vivacious
duct tape across the cracks
where you might actually catch a glimpse.
With you I could be heavy.
I miss the plunging weighted depths.
I yearn against all better judgement
to return there. The disbelief
we suspended. Illuminated
by the box of light
above your TV, changing colour xxxxxlike my aura xxxxxxxxxxwhen you entered me xxxxxxxxxxwhen you insisted: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxyes. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxyes. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxyes.
A wedding took place by your window.
We watched, shirtless and sweaty
pot-bellied outsiders recoiling
from a summer that shone light
on all the reasons why
white picket fences
work better for those who live above ground.
The grief is in the details.
Your index finger
treating tobacco filaments
like dust a servant didn’t clean.
Smoke without means of escape.
We were adolescents, our pleasure
made greater by its built-in
obsolescence, until the pressure xxxxxgot to you first – xxxxxxxxxxscorched earth
a clean slate like your coffee table
untainted now by girlish
to reflect a single glass
half empty with Coke Zero –
a metaphor I can’t take credit for; xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxit’s true.
We stripped him
ran a knife through his belly
shook the treasure out:
Ransacked his memories
bar coasters bearing more than one woman’s name:
xxxxxxVickianne xxxxxxcall me!
Forced his rigid form
through the narrow doorway
in darkness, hushing each other
so the neighbours wouldn’t hear.
Ten years of dust in our fingernails
leaving a crumb-trail behind us
xxxxxxxxxof condom wrappers
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxand more guitar picks xxxxxxxxxxxxxxget them get them
Cockroaches made refugee
Italian leather in tatters
gutted, we laid its carcass
in front of someone else’s house
then tiptoed back upstairs
to confront the vinyl imposter
still in its bubble-wrapped bondage.
Impassive, it watched
as we argued about screwdrivers
our sweat speckling the carpet
xxa watering xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxcan
But we got it upright
plonked our arses on it
drank wine, smoked weed
in silence; co-conspirators
in a breathless meantime.
Note: the title is taken from a line in a pantoum by Peter Minter, ‘Wallpaper Codicil‘.
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.
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’.
Olive green blurring to dirt and the sky white as paper. Currawongs. Isolation. Tree branches curled in brace position and leaves with tips like seismometer needles in the awestruck eye of morning. The night before we’d driven up a steep … Continue reading →