Anvil Soul

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.

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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.

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.

The Goddess

A goddess fell in love with a plane

that flew so quickly through the clouds.

Swooping down

she held her fingers out,

grasped at the shiny white arrow,

and broke the wings off at a stroke.

The plane fell from the sky.

She watched it disappear,

and saddened by losing what she thought so dear

reflected upon the scene a moment,

then forgot.

 

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A disease

She broke a stick on the ground

and held it up to me.

‘See there, where it broke? A weakness, there’s a knot.’

She’s always pointing out people’s weaknesses.

Nobody has strength like her,

no one has intelligence as fine as she does.

But instead of being humble and kind in her greatness,

she wants to break people down all the time.

 

Last month she was told she has cancer.

She shrugged her shoulders and said

‘It happens to people all the time, why shouldn’t it happen to me?’

I said nothing.

She asked me over to her house yesterday

and when I came in, I could see she had been crying.

‘Why me?’ she asked.

I held her hand. It was cold as if she were already dead.

 

When Loved

The architect who loves the building,

the sailor who loves the sea,

have none of the feelings of joy

your love puts in me.

 

I see the world as I did when I was a child,

when all nature was new to me.

I take time to praise it all,

I am like this because of you.

 

The building must be made hard to stand alone,

The sea feels nothing and never will,

but with you, I will never be without

a dear heart that loves me true.

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Night fair

Writing late at night,

I can see out across the lawn.

The lights of the house creep across the grass like a light frost.

But the night is warm; a light breeze comes through the open window.

The wind sweetened by the 100 acres of wood on the distant hill.

I start to think of the decisions I have made

And had made for me.

Money lost, money gained,

Love given and taken,

Objects, hearts, and dreams broken and scattered.

Do you remember when…? She asks me,

standing in the shadow of the hall,

Looking quietly into my room.

A clock chimes as another hour

Of this already late night disappears.

She asked: Do I remember

Taking the children, when they were babies,

To the fair,

And letting them ride on the merry-go-round

By themselves? How we all laughed.

Walking them home

On a night as warm and dark as this,

My son fell asleep in my arms.

Of course I remember, I say,

Calling her in to read what I have written.

She smiles and touches my arm.

Remember putting him to bed, that night,

How he did not awake until the morning,

And asked if we could go to the fair again that night?

And how we went?

I remember, I say.

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The last summer

 

It was our last summer together,

But there was no telling that then.

How do you know the last time you will visit somewhere?

How do you know the last day of anything?

The world can change in a minute.

She came into the room wearing only a white t-shirt,

She took it off and placed it on a chair.

Standing in the moonlight,

she let one hand drift through her long hair.

My eyes wandered over her naked body.

Her bare breasts, stomach and below that

The small nest of black hair.

She smiled and looked out the window toward the ocean.

This memory

Echoes in my mind

Like bells, pealing from a great tower.

I took her in my arms

And we danced to the sound of the waves.

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