The Lord Is Listenin’ To Ya, Hallelujah
Gary Valente’s on trombone and you’re mixing acrylics.
The sound is that of a lone magisterial goose laying
about itself in cycles of wide-eyed, tearless grief.
The other farm animals stare at it in dismay.
‘What’s got into her, apart from extra corn?’
Lately, people—I say ‘people’, I mean my brother
and sister—have been telling me I should stop writing
about my childhood and move on. Where to,
they do not reveal. And how can I,
when it follows me down Sydney Road,
in even these blue nethermost latitudes,
flapping its weird relic wings in despair
at all my pointless running about?
I could try, I could for once just try
listening, as I do battle with phone companies,
internet cafés and robot ladies grateful for my abuse,
to what the music is saying, however painfully
long the passage of recall might be on the way
back to mornings of hopeless pleasure in a room
filled with light and colour, your paintings
streaming on every side like pennants on a standard
or the tricolor plastic strips at Dewhurst the Butcher.
Perhaps that’s why the goose is so frightened:
though even in the grip of the most plausible terror,
knowing full well what goes on behind the curtain
where the rosy-cheeked lads let fall their arms,
the noise she makes tells a different story.
Instead of trying to sound beautiful, let it blow.
Live as though you were already dead and free
to wander the brazen rooms of this honking solo
which lifts off like a helium-filled Titanic
and floats effortlessly upwards laden with coughs,
barks, distant alarms, cheers, dropped glasses, sleep apnoea,
locked-ward chatter from the audience and every other song
of inadvertent praise you can imagine hailing from the top deck.
Everything I own floats on the sea,
away from me.
Everything I want no longer
seems desirable, or necessary.
The world’s warm-grey, soft lid, the clouds
pleated and patched
as a bee fits its foxglove,
is like the lady of means overwhelmed by her enormous
and oblivious withal in the high,
of the Regency.
The Guy from Tech Support
The thin young man with unkempt beard and matted hair,
in white shirt and blue polyester tie, regulation black trousers
and cheap leather shoes looks tired, as if born behind glass.
The red logo on the tie announces Games. A badge says Luke.
He does not seem very playful, though Luke Games is a name
a writer of hard-man bull might brush down for the studios.
Sunlight, well-meaning but exasperated, has stopped calling
on his skin and calls on others in approval-seeking expiation.
They made love once, on a raised bed of prawn-sore pinks,
when he was much too young, and for all her Spring sass
she breathes zephyrs of relief she didn’t do more damage.
Off she goes in her accumulating puffa. Luke’s here to help,
if only she knew to ask. When the soft late On sign fails,
he sees: people looking for instruction, rock pools at capacity,
former lions of the local Rotary association turning over tins.