St. Kilda

St. Kilda,
if you were a transcription error
then let us have more transcription errors.

St. Kilda,
your shining shield,
your dyslexic mess,
your viking skildar,
your wooden lady boat,
your palatial collarbone coast,
your saintly queers in grey coats
have left their errant punctuation in: my; hyphenated (throat).

St. Kilda,
I could drop my typewriting anchor
on your saintly full stop heart
and raise a holy family
of  punctuation marks.

Awkward Ape

How I love airplanes!
How the rickety stilts of my legs love this ample angularity!
How I love selecting my own seat online knowing
they prefer you do that so you’re less likely to complain about the view
as the aluminium missile you strapped yourself into
falls like a drunk barfly out of the ungrateful sky.

There is an awkward ape with giant yellow eyes
sitting beside me,
listening to Van Halen at full volume.
He came on drunk laughing,
sratching a giant white belly
and fumbled the seatbelt for days.
256 kilometres (13 minutes) ago,
he fell to ripsawing drooling sleep.
8 kilometres (32 seconds) ago his grinning monkey masked head
fell on my shoulder
and now it seems he wants to snuggle.

I just warned a stewardess
that if he puts his hairy paw on my thigh,
I will beat his face in with this think box,
drop an anvil through the floor,
take Van Halen’s advice
and go ahead and jump.

She looked at me like I was a loaded shotgun
and she was the last African elephant.
How I love airplanes!

that is not the question

There were times
when he thought he could write himself into his skin,
when he would trace a pen along the lines of his blue pumping veins
scratching out subtitles to a silent film and hoping
that what he meant to say wouldn’t get lost in the translation.

He has memories of jellyfish melting in plastic buckets,
in Palm Beach summers.

Of crab holes in grey sand lining highways.

Of ghost houses with lino floors.

He’s written this story before,
there are so many ways to write from the superego,
each as dull as the last.

He wants to write an id song,
to drink ink,
to eat crocodiles,
to jam lit firecrackers in behind his eyes,
and explode.

But we map our lives out with sat nav accuracy
and follow silky voice mistresses
whispering ‘take the next exit’
to arrive at someone else’s funeral.

In these lands,
the kings are all already dead.

Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

And anyway, how the f*ck do you ‘spill’ leadership?

This game is old and dull
this diadem swapping drama

We speak like these things matter
like the meaning of these things are ends
of things

when these ends are just means
to other ends and other things,

Like a leadership spill on the caucus floor
has any gravity at all

Blood on the floor of the senate
now that meant something

Let Caesar bare his throat
Let all throats be bared and see what ends are meant
But there’s no end

The Empire never really ended

Rome never fell

It just snuck out the back door
during a press conference
when no one was watching
joined the hippie trail
and ended up in the back room of a
bar in Turkey

Where it lived out its days
smoking water pipes
and watching saintly Turkish hipsters dance
and fuck

Rome knew where things were headed
so it just upped and left

I hear Canada is nice.

And now for something gushy

Outside the window,

lorikeets screech and cry,
like spectators at a cockfight
in a Saigon backstreet bar.

Two houses down,
someone is ripcording and swearing
a dying mower into
coughing cutthroat life.

The neighbour’s TV talks of elections, economies, the want of leadership
in trying times
and other things that don’t exist.

In the next room,
my daughter sings of incy wincy spiders,
and shining stars.

The only part of this morning
that wakes quietly,

perfectly,

and true.

 

Elephant 2

By the time the cops finally arrived
to cordon off the scene
a crowd had gathered across the street

Old women in terry towelling dressing
gowns whose hair was
curled around the plastic fingers
of an ancient suburban cliche
stood and quietly clucked
while the pensive men stood
about in earnest, useless circles
of folded arms
and thongs

Some kids had started up
a noisy game of cricket in a driveway
but no one seemed to mind

Nobody had ever seen anything like it
much less heard a sound as morbid

It takes a great deal of force
to push a grand piano out
into the street
and then to swing an axe
clean through its spine
even as the strings held on
to life
and song
and keys were cast about
in splintered proof of an angry dread
that finally won out
and ended with broken legs and
steel strings strewn across a front yard

As the street began to fill with cops
and that high tensile macho
swagger that they bring
the morning power walkers
joined the gawkers
and the rubber necks

And no one even feigned objection
when the Wilson’s labradoodle
crept across and stole a splintered key
and scurried off
to see at last what dead elephant
tastes like

It’s unheard of
they said

It doesn’t seem real
they said

No one had ever murdered a piano
in the street like that

No one had ever murdered a piano
full stop

Elephant

You become accustomed to this,
this falling down sound,
this deathly, stately, crashing sound.

These days,
you are a piano hauling itself up
flights of stairs,
blocking fire escapes,
leaving sweaty shoulder prints on walls,
scraping your polished corners
and wheezing your way up towards
the topmost floor and
a room whose door you wouldn’t
fit through,
even if you made it.

When you finally slip
and play a doomsday sonata
all 30 stories down,
you are fucking angelic!

But,
you never sound as good
as when you finally hit the ground.

You get used to this sound.