Numbered

Since you left,
you’ve gained a new sensuality,
your lips full,
like a season of rain.
And the men who circle
like doomed matadors,
would wear you like a pin,
or carry a banner
to your fallen love.
But all this futile lust,
thrust your way,
only plunges you further
into your own voice.
Ah, your words on the dark paper
stitch solitude
into deeper need,
for storms and savagery
that will one day love you.
While the men circle,
living their fathers’ dreams,
while their day only returns,
you, on page after page of
your numbered hearts,
plot all the beautiful ways
to exhaust this life.

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Strange Things Happen in Island Bay

A horse bolted through the city the other morning
and was hit by a car.
He trailed the cold tail of the night
and ran towards Island Bay and the thin slant of dawn,
like an eye slowly opening.
A black horse, like a shadow fleeing its tethers,
shot past the stunned joggers on Adelaide road,
seeking the green tongue of the hill,
or the unshod sea, or the patience of seasons.
But he panicked at the traffic lights
and bled out, alone with his language,
speaking to no one.
And the people who passed him on their morning commute
were wide eyed, as if a fairy tale had invaded
the grey dawn of their neat, solid little city.
Sometimes we collide with the incomprehensible,
confusion, panic, sharp winter arousal of senseless death.
Anyway, he died with a blanket on his head
under the traffic light still changing,
like nothing out of the ordinary had happened at all.
And nothing had happened, and everything.

Matsuri

One summer I went alone to a festival in Japan.
Under the oppressive evening heat
that rang sweat out of me,
I watched young ladies in their bright yukata
giggling, munching down octopus dumplings
under the striped tents,
and old men scratching their arses, tough as leather shoes,
scowling at boys
who slathered ice cream on their cheeks,
and lovers holding startled fish in plastic bags,
sauntering the long lane between the crackling stands.
I watched them all, strange human lanterns,
floating down to the shrine, dark and quiet against the mountain,
while far above fireworks painted dusk
purple, pink and green.
There was no part for me in this parade of falling lives,
each like confetti, or streamers,
or the bursting brief flowers in the sky,
or sickly sweet candyfloss
dripping through the summer’s hot little hands.
But I was happy there, and unnecessary,
unwanted, unloved, unhinged,
and pleasantly left alone with the discovery of the world.