Love stories

 I asked my friend,

Who do you love?

And she looked about the street we were in

at the large houses in the neighborhood

She told me she loved the wealth that could buy a residence like these.

 

I enquired of an older man, a professor of English

Who did he love?

He loved the young women who studied so hard

texts written years ago

And he dreamed of their silk bodies and eager minds.

 

I asked a man who was standing at the taxi rank

And he threw his bottle aside and demanded

Money for another drink,

It is so good to hold a new bottle in your hands

And feel the cool promise of another dizzy night.

 

A girl in the street dropped her doll.

A woman dressed in a pale green dress bent down and picked the doll up.

The girl told the woman that she loved her.

The woman smiled and held the girl tight.

A light rain fell, shaking the green leaves of a plane tree that grew nearby.

spider

I sat in an ancient room, tiny and dust filled,

Cobwebs filled all corners and old paint tins and other rubbish-clogged the space.

The door was ancient timber, dried from thousands of days of hot sun.

I sat in the dusty silence and reflected on my life and the lives of those around me.

People I know and have met,

People who are millionaires, people with brain tumors,

People trying to tell their parents they are gay;

People trying to tell their kids why the marriage has failed.

I sat and thought about these things and myself,

My own insecurities

When I saw, bobbing as if caught in a breeze

A long legged spider walking up the door next to me.

The door, so old and dry,

Allowed sunlight to spill in between gaps in the timber.

The spider, bobbing still,

Walked silently and delicately as if she were made of crystal,

Up and up and up.

When she stepped into the light, she glowed,

When she entered the shade, she disappeared.

She did this for five minutes,

Bobbing and climbing.

She was so small, so thin and delicate

I wondered what she would eat? A fly being many times larger than she.

Too delicate, too thin, for this world.

A spider, eight legs, of beauty.

The remembering of past times

Like the sun setting through the trees,

These streets give rise to memories.

The night rising in the strip joints and bars

The lights flash on old fashioned bulbs

And red neons point arrows and outlines of naked women.

All you need to do is go into a dark doorway and down some stairs

And you’ll find yourself in a den.

I remember as a boy

Walking the same city streets and seeing the same neon lights.

Everything seems dirtier and worn down now.

Crossing the road into the park

I see the paths that twist by the pond

And the bench where we would sit and talk about the things that mattered,

None of those things matter now.

It was years ago; nothing seems as serious to me now

As it did when I was 17.

The wind whips the dust in the street 

And memories whip in the heart.

I see a poster in a tunnel under the concrete overpass,

The corners are torn.

Remember that man who gave us cigarettes on our first date?

His hair purple and gelled up to points.

We went to the Greek restaurant, and we could only afford an entrée,

We ate and then I walked you home.

At 17 everything is funny, and everything is serious.

The last time I saw you, it was a rainy day

And your car wouldn’t start, so I pushed until it went. You waved but couldn’t stop

In case the old engine stalled.

That old yellow car took you away, you waved out the window and left town.

I prefer it this way; I am glad we never saw each other again.

Memories are worth more when they are left alone.

The Waves of dreams

Breaking further and further out to sea,

I watch the log drift out toward the horizon.

I suspect the wood has broken off from the forests

That grow around this bay.

I pick up a piece of driftwood I find on the sand

And feel how smooth the salt water has worn it.

It is soft like a lover’s skin.

 

How beautiful she looked

On that summer night

On the beach,

Nearly naked

Dressed in white moonlight

Like a bride about to wed.

How the moon smiled that night.

You said there is no human face on the moon,

It is instead a hare, a celestial hare outrunning the dogs of the sun,

Eternal flight, pregnant with hope and always looking back.

 

The beach house was not ours

And I said I did not want to stay there

So we found our own place

Run down and hardly clean,

But on the water’s edge.

We could sit outside and rest our feet in the water.

Did I dream

Or was the light from the ocean so dazzling and clear

That I lost my senses?

Hold me tight and whisper to me

So that I think of the seaside, that night with you, again.

Song of day

Walking down the city street at 7 a.m.

Smiling like a fool at the new day,

People return nasty looks

But I have no work to do today

And a place to sleep tonight.

But 6 p.m. on that same day

Sad and alone I sit

In the corner of my room

And cry.

The light shines naked on the wall,

A harsher light than before.

Snapshot of city life at Christmas.

Open the window

and feel the wind.

See the leaves dance along the street.

Hear the cars pushing, always pushing forward.

The windows are lit for Christmas.

People push along the sidewalk,

pushing each other with arms and elbows.

I saw an empty park yesterday

and out of the bush and long grass

stepped a black rabbit.

In this city park, it stopped

and ate some grass.

 

Any town drunk.

From out of the pub, the drunken man stumbles.

Into the black car park at 2 am, he falls.

All carparks look the same.

Lonely, dirty, quiet and painfully lit.

A white cat walks slowly by,

it is so hungry; each step brings it pain, and it will soon die.

The drunk stops by a light pole and leans against a green bin.

It was here one week ago

his friend was punched and killed.

It was on this spot the man died.

A red mark stains the ground; it looks like old, dried blood.

Here is another death. The drunk thinks about his dreams,

which, like the blood,

are now dried spots in lonely places.

The beer burns in his guts, and churns,

a sharp, hot wind blows grit.

Work again tomorrow, that depressing place.

His hand numb with drink and life holds him steady against the cold bin

and he cannot remember to which town his ex-wife

has moved his children.

Christmas is coming soon.

Dark places

Those dark places exist

Because your dreams die away like flames in melted candles

When at 4 am the darkness is running down your walls like rain

And there is a flash of light,

But the room is empty.

Was that someone standing at the end of the hall?

Look again and know no one is there.

The fear of knowing no one is there,

Like an empty room from where music is playing

Or an all-night radio station, where no one is playing music, but the music keeps playing.

Loneliness creeps into your life,

Enemies appear and everyone is against you

And you remember the girl

Who leaped from a bridge to the freeway below.

In that moment of silence before she died

Did she feel free?

Or does terror blind you?

It hurts so much, and it never ends.