Month: November 2016

Familiar Faces

Familiar faces

I have seen, hundreds of miles from home, familiar faces.

I rarely have the courage to speak to them or ask questions.

I would rather let them pass by

and any happy meetings be missed.

It leaves me to wonder,

in the echo of those memories,

Was it them I saw on that distant street?

What is their story? Where are they going? Where have they been?

Silence.

Memories are a dark room.

 

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Leather bag

The leather bag cost $560

The leather was thin but of beautiful design.

She bought it at an exclusive store downtown,

Where they keep the doors locked.

Her dresses all cost thousands of dollars too.

She would leave them on the back of the chairs in her room

Or they would be dropped on the floor

Like dead flowers.

Once, I picked a red dress up and held it to my face

And smelled her scent, then I hung it in the wardrobe

While she lay on a daybed by the window.

She watched me through half closed eyes.

She was tired of loving me, and that meant

I would soon be like an expensive dress, one she had worn to a party.

A dress she could never wear again.

I would sit in the back of her wardrobe

Untouched,

Never to see the light again.

Eventually, I would go to a box and placed in storage.

She could never be rid of anything,

Her things were stored or lost.

Things fell from favour, but she kept them all.

I would be hers, but I would be forgotten,

I would fall out of fashion.

I looked at that leather travel bag and picked it up,

She was going away without me,

I did not care to ask where.

 

2d.jpg

The reading room.

The French doors lie open,

the sun and breeze trip in, like visitors coming for tea.

The books sprawl across the old wicker table,

under them, a crisp white cloth.

The smell of toast dances with the summer morning.

birds, overjoyed by the beauty of life, sing along the branches of huge plane trees.

She has stepped away for a moment, but her perfume stays

like the ghost that fell in love with a queen.

These days of luxury, sun-kissed ease

are marked in difference from the older, darker days.

The money is less now, but she does not miss the abuse of wealth.

Sleep a long deep sleep

and wake with the gentle day,

let the universe provide for now.

Stand on the balcony and look down at the trees and green parkland,

and remember the dirty, city streets that can touch you no more.

Rental

“He stayed here two years,

before the end.

Did I tell you about Sam?” Mrs. Kubowicz asked me.

“No,” I said, “I don’t know him.”

Mrs. Kubowicz leaned against the wall and looked at me with happy eyes.

“This was his room. He was a very kind, quiet man.

He was six foot seven tall. I called him my gentle giant.

We were very close. We would watch television at night,

do you like to watch detective shows?” She asked me.

“Not much,” I answered. I did not like the look on her face; she looked disappointed.

 

She held her hand out to the room. I stepped inside and looked about.

“Why did he move out?” I asked.

A cowboy hat hung on the wall next to a picture of cattle on a farm.

The place not only had furniture, but belongings.

Models of trucks sat on a shelf above the window.

“He died. Suddenly. He crashed his truck on the highway to Canberra.

Killed him instantly.”

“Are these his things?”
“Yes, I can’t bring myself to throw them out, no one came to collect them.”

It was a small room, but it had its own bathroom and a space to cook. I liked the independence.

“I’ll take it.”

 

I settled on the bed and looked up at the ceiling.

It was quiet. Somewhere in the house, Mrs. Kubowicz moved about.

The vacuum came on.

I rolled on my side and opened the bedside drawer.

There sat an open box of condoms, some bills, and a notebook.

I opened the notebook and read a few pages.

The man’s life was recorded daily.

The last entry was dated five weeks ago.

It was a list of expenses. Rent had been crossed out and ‘zero’ written in.

I wondered how he managed free rent.

Thunder on the Mountains

I have seen the people at the close of day,
dark like the dreams of storm clouds.
In a city on any day, millions of lives unfold,
burning like little candles.

The sad face of life looking in through the windows of laundries,
where people sit, side by side, in yellowing underclothes
watching the spinning of the machines, laughing, detergent frothing machines,
always asking for more money.

Three friends grown up together,
one died young,
the other two moved to different cities.
Took on different lives.

One works hard on her fitness,
running and lifting weights.
but lost a lot of money investing in property
and now works hard to keep off the thoughts of darkness.
The other married and had three kids
and dreams of what might have been
if only, if only things had been different.
And her husband has sex with the secretary three times a week.

Jack had been in their class at school,
but they had forgotten him after 20 years
and could pass him on the street,
and not know his face.

When Jack was a kid he followed his father down the street into town
to buy the Sunday lunch. They visited the butcher and the baker and bought vegetables.
Jack always carried the vegetables in a wicker basket
his mother gave him specifically for that purpose.

When Jack’s father died,
Jack stood at the funeral numb with pain
and knew then, that those days of being loved, and free,
would never come again. The best he could hope for would be to have his own son to love.

The great clock that sits above the street,
ringing out the hours, disturbs the lovers in the rooms nearby.
So many people making love,
as the mist of the early night settles on the grey roofs.

As midnight chimes out,
Mary sits up from her damp bed, and notices tonight’s lover has left.
She runs her fingers across her tired eyes,
and wonders if she’ll see him again.

We leave them now,
you and I.
Think of these people sometimes.
It is their lives that echo around you like thunder on the mountains.

Night

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Out in the lights, the bars and the cafes with friends,
walk home in the cold of the morning,
see the sun already turning the sky orange and white.

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Waking up as birds scream outside
the sun bursts in on you through broken curtains and torn shades.
You wonder why the hours are more like seconds.

There isn’t much night, there never is.
Alone in the evening, huddled in your room by the window,
you watch the lights of the bright neons below,
see the lovers disappear into the blue-black, and you wish the sun would hurry up.

Ring the bells and ring them more

and know that they ring for more.

The birth of a new son, a baby has arrived

the death of an old man who lived long enough in spite.

 

The youth brings promise

the old brings decay,

and what can people do

but wait for that cold day?

 

Some pray,

some live in art.

They walk the halls and look upon the gold and silver

pictures formed long ago, far away.

 

I chose art

for in choosing art I get to see

the visions had long ago

on dark winten nights and bright summer morns.

The Lady’s garden.

Through the day garden walked the knight.

He looked at the beds, heavy with flowers

then glancing up as one might at a bird,

his eyes land on her window.

 

What softer bed behind those curtains,

what pleasures a visitor to her room might see;

might experience.

The mail-heavy arm against the silk curtains, hard flesh on gossamer skin.

 

He has seen war

and knows what war brings,

the faithful and faithless both scream when pinned down with steel.

Men, both brown and white, crying in terror at the onrushing machine.

 

He stops a while beside a lily and considers the soft opening of the blue flower

he sees a bee, heavy with baggage climbing down the flower’s throat.

From habit, his hand grips his sword handle.

He imagines a time when this garden might be his as well as hers.

Goddess

The wind blows for her,

The sun shines for her eyes,

Rivers flow for the softness of her skin.

She, the most beautiful woman in the world,

Does not live like the rest of us,

She exists, as the heavens exist.

 

No mortal hand can lift the stone of Agamemnon

But if she were just to speak a word

The stone would crumble

Like armies misled and starving,

Like the shore before the sea.

I should think the universe would disappear, if she but whispers the command.