Poems

Two Shows Nightly

Ridiculous, all this dreaming of death.

Last night it was me:

my body no longer a body

but something turned to granite and

exploded in a silver burst.

It was bright and hot

and it hurt. It was like dying soulless

and knowing it.

 

You wouldn’t dream like this.

I wonder if you dream at all

or if sleep for you is

hanging a silk robe on a hook

your body hollowed out

or filled with a slender emptiness.

 

Say you’ll come soon.

Summer’s almost over and

we can breathe again

instead of being breathed.

Say you’ll come soon I just

want to look at you I’ve found

this bar with mirrored walls

mojitos with sugar cane

the girl in the bathroom wants to sell me things

the bartender calls me babe

I know none of the songs

but I’m learning.

 

 

Intimate Not Monumental

When the band starts we’re four floors up

in a Fortitude Valley car park:

you, me and fifty strangers

escaping the street

and the steaming crowd of thousands.

 

Up here, we’re closer to the stars

up here, we’re cheering the night

as much as the band

screaming for treetops, summer, moths

and look:

this girl beside me has confetti and

she leans across the guardrail

to throw it to the sky and—

 

later, you’ll tell me

it’s physics, what happens next

explicable, what happens next

some weird equivalence of forces

as the rising heat of two thousand bodies

meets gravity.

I know some things about gravity,

I know some things about bodies and heat

but I don’t know this—

 

the confetti doesn’t fall, but floats in place

in the air just beyond us.

Lit by streetlights or some

internal spark it’s a star cluster

a confetti constellation

that hangs together for long fat seconds.

The crowd below points up

as we point down and grin

at this simple wonder, this one fixed thing:

a careless paper galaxy

a monumental fling.

 

The Live Arts

This is a flood town.

This is a town where land longs

               toward water

water toward land

and the storms collude

to join them.

 

At the old Brisbane Powerhouse

we sprawl on a sculpture—

the word flood in seven-foot letters

               sunk to its chest

in the concrete path.

We drape back on the crest of an O

listen to chart hits from cross-river parties

and, closer, the fleshy lapping of water.

 

Here, in the flood of 1893

whole houses unmoored from their stumps and

               set sail

tablecloths merry as petticoats

on tables just set for dinner.

And all night long

the city heard the smash of

               homes turned to scrap

as they slammed into the Victoria Bridge.

               By dawn

even the bridge gave way

and two thousand tonnes of iron

sank to the river’s floor.

 

I want to tell you how they never salvaged

the sunken bridge,

how it might be there beneath it all,

or maybe it’s gone to rust, but

 

you distract me.

You’re so close

I can hear your breath and

crazy but true, it sounds

               like anew, anew, anew

as though you’re exhaling code

or gospel.

And I believe you.

 

All things move toward their beginnings.

               So

let it start

tonight

let it come, let it pour

 

(you be the water and I’ll be the sound

you be the bridge and I’ll be the fall

you be the fish and I’ll be the fish)

 

and I will love you

till we’re rust and silt and mud

               and then some more.

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