Poems

The Walk Home from Hiroshima Bay

So this is the lay of the belly, the thrust stage a quay at edge
of Hiroshima Bay. All oyster divers know some regional prophecy
of starvation.
No matter how you see it the anchor intervenes on smooth passage
of the permanent exhibition, under bequest of the
technology for oyster diving around maritime ruins.
This time being different to times of no bequest is beyond you
since you have no referent for the time being at all
          different from any other.
Beacons on the crowns of the bay of Hiroshima.
Buried hotels and sleeping geese. The beautiful cave dwelling ferry spotters
who archive the schedule. The full bounty
of littoral establishments,
and this is not a lake, it is the intersection of rubble’s oratory,
here wherewithal of the redundant self cannot be guilty of idleness:
is just so. Not like
the attempt at exculpating another bonus jumping the Yarra.
Yes, this is their keep, throwing their spades into town,
cutting into chunks the spongy tarmac to bury their fresh yeast there,
to return at end of working day rushing across the invisible, sunken river.

And the seed, the loquat faces of the Queen Street children.
Chance genealogies are to be had, have been had, though chance
sticks around to perturb, makes a pothole of the road and fills it up
better than any job. What you have is the return
of the cloud of the slavish.                         Invisible, sunken river takes
the diaphanous legacies but not their new rigor mortis.
Hellish, the things the clubs will get up to. And of what resource?
The gentility
of carpentry, a hall of fame without the sport, a manner in which
to slurp another gentleman’s discourse?
Reputation balcony up the stairs and to the right, past
the portraits at the Tate Britain.
Years of willingness to take off one’s shoes have availed
all these hotels and thoughts of vigil-like entry the midnight waters
in a rowboat. Let’s say it is now more attractive.
No sail. No paddles. The auspice technology in comparison
is hackwriterish. The seafloor is ravished by dugong and porpoise
as the body grows older.
That river pebble could get one to the seafloor quicker, and with that all
of the faces in profile come rushing, like a school of bream.
Landslides come and go and much adaptation encircles frozen divers,
their satisfied bellies. Little beads of gas ripple undisturbed
through the ruins of stone and mouth alike.
You might say the crackpot grins before death, mother of pearl and divers
alike, reflected differently in albumen than in the moonlit waters on their rising.

The ria wets newly dry stones as divers become lost on their way home toward
their wives. Their chalk nails crack open the lips of the standout of their catch,
and the women wonder might the taste on their lips be another’s.

 

 

James Abbott McNeill Whistler

She watches a video of someone dicing carrot
as she dices carrot as I watch the face of Whistler

* scowling through a whistle *

discovering for the first time Whistler whose art
for its own sake was art for his sake which is for
art’s own sake for his sake which is art discovering
for the first time its own sake for his sake.
                                   
She watches a video of someone dicing the face of Whistler
as she dices the face of Whistler as I watch someone dicing carrot

            * scowling through a video *

discovering for the first time she whose watching
for its own sake was watching for her sake which is for
watching’s own sake for her sake which is watching discovering
for the first time its own sake for her sake.

Carrot watches a video of someone dicing this face of mine
as it dices this face of mine as she watches someone watching a video

            * scowling through a scowl *

discovering for the first time it whose dice
for its own sake was dice for its own sake which is for
dice’s own sake for its sake which is dice discovering
for the first time its own sake for its own sake.

Meaning Whistler catalogues the bunkum hokum viz. scowling through the video of a scowl.

 

 The Character

There is something unacknowledged
in that division of waters at Cape Naturaliste,
there is even anonymity of character
in a name's worth.
I wear she who remembers him more significantly
the more she abstains, memories trembling in murmurs
of sleep on a subject of which she is otherwise mute,
hair draped over and partitioning vision
and the canola farming beyond the rise of hills.

We set out to tend the questions, the universities
emptied, the printers with their heads down
who eat cheese with lumps of torn bread. At night,
she slips into sleep hanging from my neck
like a frigate. We languish in a converted butcher’s
now a tavern and drink beer and coffee;
the days never seem to end. Until he appears, the character,
the one with nothing for the printers,
nothing for the university, whose tumult remains
embedded in his viscera. It’s May in Melbourne
and all the fireplaces are attractive,
shimmering like eyes of appraisal. The fraternity appears
of revolving members and it’s May in Melbourne, the printers
proof the currency arrived from Cape Naturaliste,
from Albany to Boyup Brook.
There are gilt edges to the dawns of winter.
He’s as big as a horse and she says so,
glad that he does not slide from atop the bascule bridge
or make a speech in the squares or the courtyards.
The back of my hand gasps during the drama
of the bascule deglutition. There is something to the absence
of whipping, the missing punishment of the corpus,
the nightly vigil wearing the cap of the dunce.
To hear her speak of him and of a cautious gladness
centres the horse riding proposition,
the proposition that’d have us sketching lines
and poking holes through the canola fields that conceal
the gulch in our memory of muteness on the character,
and the Cape Naturaliste murmurs of trespass
and divisions and the tasks
of the printers of paradise.

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