Month: March 2017

Songs of love

The stars above know not of love

In their cold vacuum above,

And so they shine and seek our eyes.

But we know of love

So let’s hide away,

And at night, be never seen.

We shall lie in each other’s arms.

Happy to be lost in the night, together.

 

 

Open the window and cast your gaze out onto whatever you see,

All things you see are caught in time,

And can only last so long.

You cannot see or hold love,

As so it should be,

For true love lasts forever.

Time can destroy what you can see

But love is the closet we can come

To immortality.

 

Hold me close and smile on those you hold dear,

Hold me close and come with me to visit beautiful places,

Hold me close as you fall asleep and dream.

I hope that life brings you all you want

And that you always hold me close.

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Today, now a memory.

A yellow fog lay across the suburb today.

Row after row of tired houses

With a yellow fog, heavy on the roads.

A few lights turned on, but still, the fog made everything look old and dirty.

Walking home tonight, I took the back lanes.

People in their houses, eating dinner,

the gutters by the road flowing with rain water.

The suburbs looked alive.

I passed the cancer hospital, still and empty

This time of night, the dying hours, everything is closed like broken eyes.

I think of the fog

And the midday rain.

I dream of sleeping, and waking in a new place,

Like a man who sleeps on a train

Or like a child in the car,

Falling asleep and waking in the morning,

As the family drives into the coastal town

beginning the two week holiday at the beach.

The oil painting of a woman, nude.

 

The oil painting of a woman,

lying naked across a red bed

with a fat, happy baby searching for her breast,

and a blue sky in view from the window,

hung in the dining room for two generations.

It was painted by a woman with a great talent.

When I was a boy, my grandmother told me

that the artist loved my grandfather

and had given the painting to him.

The woman in the painting was the artist herself

and the baby was the baby she never had.

Now, as a man

with no living grandparents,

I often wonder why my grandmother

had allowed such a painting to hang in the home.

Was it because it is a beautiful image, the flesh so soft and sensual,

The colours so clear and bright?

 

I only remember dark flashes of my grandfather,

I remember him as a happy, kind man.

My grandmother, a widow at the time she stood me before the painting,

Smiled at some hidden memory and asked me if I liked the picture.

I nodded and said I liked the baby.

She was satisfied, and we stood a while,

On that dark winter afternoon,

We looked at that painting, lit only by weak sunlight

Until my father turned on the room’s light.

The brightness broke the spell and we both looked away,

The electric light was too bright and harsh for that moment.

It hangs there still, like a spirit that haunts that room,

that woman forever looking out, searching for love,

while that baby, forever tiny, caught between a smile and a yawn,

begs to be born.

The bucket of rain

The bucket of water that catches the rain

is important to the birds and the frogs.

A dog drinks from the water, coughs, and drinks again.

It hasn’t rained all month,

but tonight it poured

and the bucket filled.

I watched out the window as a frog struggled

to climb out of the frothing waves,

it sat silently on the edge of the bucket

and rubbed its eyes.

I take the babies for a walk in the rain

and their mother chastises me when we return.

 

A memory replayed after class

 

Sitting on a timber chair, under a tree,

the clouds came rushing across the city

and dropped a flood of rain upon the university quadrangle.

Ivy hung off the stone buildings, peeling away from the ancient walls

And yellow lights came through the leadlight windows

In a warm glow, like comforting winter fires.

I arose and walked under cover.

Earlier, I had spoken to some English students.

“Why do you write?” one girl asked me.

I looked at the faces before me,

They were bored, and I had lost them.

The teachers sat down the back of the class; their eyes fixed on me like predators,

While the students sat with wide eyes, all blank looks and casual clothes,

With years ahead of them,

Years to achieve their dreams,

But more likely not.

Finished, I walked out of the class

And sat in the chair under the tree.

I thought about the time the fox had eaten all her chickens,

On that old farm

And she had cried

As rain clouds gathered over the lake.

The old man who sits outside the K-Mart

Sun dancing on a silver can,

a man, sitting alone on a park bench on a cold evening,

remembers when he was twenty years old and was chased by the girls.

A cat, not having eaten in three days,

finds a piece of fried chicken behind a tall building.

It eats quickly, as

the sun sets and the light drains away.

The departing sun leaves the sounds of the day to become muted

and allows the sounds of night to grow.

No more children’s voices,

now car horns and conversations fill the streets.

A lamp is lit in a window

and the oak tree that has grown on this street for sixty years

shading this old park bench, is lit up.

The old man slowly raises himself from his seat,

his dreaming ended.

He wanders home to the lonely room he rents

in a building full of people

whose dreams look just like his.

Out to sea, my beloved flew.

 

The footprints in the sandy soil led through the white gate

Down onto the beach, and away toward the waves

To where I lost them.

I looked out to the ocean and saw some children swimming

and being tossed by the waves.

She had a habit of crossing busy roads in front of cars

And acting surprised.

Once I saw her stand too close to a train as it rocketed by,

So close, the hem of her skirt lifted and was made dirty by the wheels.

I could not see her now, but only saw the prints leading toward the sea,

would she walk into the waves?

Panic consumed me

But stopping myself, wondering who to call,

I realised she had left me

More than a year ago.

That I should still think of her

And panic so

Leaves me breathless.

The empty rooms

Devils, or angels, singing in empty rooms.

Walk along the hallway and feel the wind,

warm and hard,

blowing through an open window.

It is summer time, and late, the sun has set.

Judges sing

lawyers sing, but think of money and flesh,

the accused stays silent, assured of his success.

Break the seal and read the letter; it will reveal

if you are having a boy or girl.

Does he have long legs?

Is she looking strong?

Look at her arms move!

A line of pregnant women look up as you enter.

One girl, no older than sixteen, begs her mother to let her come home.

Speak on the telephone to a stranger

and then one day meet.

What a disappointment and what sadness when you meet.

Around the universe, at the same time.

A meteor dashing in the night sky

free and lawless

without fear

moving for a million years

until smashing into a sun.

Rainwater in the gutter,

flowing down the drain

under the busy road.

A man moving down mirrored halls

lost in thought

glancing at the marble figures

standing on stone bases.

Dreams leap and run and die.

The rich man smiles through thin lips

happy with all he has

and desperate to gain more,

but his weak heart explodes.

You can’t take it with you.

A girl stands on a street corner

and clutches a metal pole,

another cold night, another cold bar

and another cold heart.