26 Feb 2013

Scene from a Marriage - Richard James Allen

[1960-current, Australian]

you are my context 
without you 
i’m a picture 
wandering out 
of its frame 
a blotch of colours
a mess of sky

Source: Allen, RJ 1995, The Air Dolphin Brigade, Paper Bark Press, Brooklyn, NSW. Retrieved 26 February 2013 from www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/allen-richard-james/scene-from-a-marriage-0162019

The Koala Motel Dream -- S. K. Kelen

[1956-current, Australian] 

It’s a dog all right the nurse told you 
your wife has just given birth to a beautiful 
bouncing afghan hound you must decide 
either to hand out cigars and carry on 
or tell them at the office fuck something 
burn down your nice house 
starting with the carport so you flew south 
for the winter freer than a dream  
& on the way picked up a hippy girl 
hitching out of Albury if only the 
boys at the office then she feeds 
you blue hallucinogens on the way 
to the Koala Motor Inn at 
Wangaratta, Victoria. 

Source: Kelen, SK 1991, Atomic Ballet, Hale &​ Iremonger, Sydney. Retrieved 26 February 2013 from www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/kelen-s-k/the-koala-motel-dream-0086031

Blue Mountains recluse -- Dorothy Porter

[1954–2008, Australian]

I came for the quiet
I don’t mind the cold

but thick mists
thick neighbours

and involuntary celibacy

are as inducive to hard drinking as diesel fumes, high rent
and corrupt cops

I don’t like bush walks
or Devonshire Teas

I can’t remember what adrenalin
tastes like

I need Sydney
I need a new job.

Source: Porter, D 1994, 'Blue Mountains recluse', The Monkey’s Mask, Arcade Publishing. Retrieved 25 February 2013 from www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/porter-dorothy/blue-mountains-recluse-0129003

25 Feb 2013

Computer Games -- Philip Salom

 [1950-current, Australian]

— you’ve come halfway through the matinee,
have to carry dames, or slap guys’ faces
— it’s either platinum or sharp moustaches.
Which means you’re too soon or thirty years
too late to make the moves convincingly.
Her nose is thin and Streepish, his is not
Latin American, more Latin Ahollywood,
down to virtuoso later scenes, without make-up,
when love’s gone looking for another Oscar.

You spend a day in bed, her legs always
brown and way apart for quivering bum-shots of him
but that’s not what you press there for.
You can be him, or you can be her. You can
press for Bond and Pinochet, one phone call away
people like pale wires fed by a magneto
until the wires fairly scream.
By six o’clock you will too. You press:
a shower scene gothic with groovy breasts
and lower down, there’s lots of fluids, male
and shiny nozzles — desire’s like hotel soap,
show many times you can use it.

You press — it’s raining streets at night, water
from the ultimate of roses, water is drinking light
from bleeding and bleeping neons. Her head
shifts against your shoulder as you gasp relief
hoping, in a way you hope for Glass on soundtrack,
this will keep on, the easy, melancholy fall
upon the cars, rain enough to keep the peace
in ways the law-men and the daytime can’t.

You hear yourself saying to another bloke
you’re in on this too and he: been at it for years.
Looking for one chance, that’s all.
Then his eyes: Know what I’ve just found?
Funny how you never find out what, and how
like the laziest schizophrenic ever seen
your head’s a TV set with channels
no flicking back on the remote can find again.

The older bloke, tanned, fiftyish, a little
overweight, but strong. But he dies.
And the woman who simmered in the car
beside him, staring at her fingernails
as if she longed to be elsewhere…
She’s dead too. They looked so well.
But they’re gone. This happens all your life.
Who are these people? Where do they come from?

You press ‘custard’ by mistake, get
children, two boys and a girl, who look just
like Dustin Hoffman. Everything too smiley, too earnest.
You press — sunlight in Mexico, mescal, you press
alcoholic dazes, fumbling in the cupboards
for the next. You press lawyers, divorce,
the afternoon falls on you like a salesman.

There are people roaming and why do they roam
and why does this new love who seems so real
let you down, even as she leaves now
through the rain, and you turn away hurting
plainly, in a way no one will notice,
hurting not only to find this so, but how
thoroughly the public dreams are trash, computed.

How slow or fast, the speed’s irrelevant
when all of it’s confusing. Which is often now,
unless you drift, not pressing but dumbly
being pressed, knowing at least how quite
alone you are. There is no Hollywood in Heaven,
it must at best be Limbo, tilting to Escape
or Reconciliation, two states the demagogues
forgot to postulate, and both like cars
you can’t afford — repossessed.

Playing on, you have to answer:
Why is AIDS real? Are books worth writing? Do you feel?
You merge still shots, each face joyous, serious, aghast.
War breaks out but twice as kinky, voyeuristic
like prisoners or diseases, or the mad.
Who are all these people? Where do they come from?
Are they still inside you? Ending painfully
as kidney stones, or Stallones (Rocky 1 to 5)
— you press to pass.

Source: Salom, P  1998, 'Computer Games', New and Selected Poems, Fremantle Arts Centre Press Retrieved 25 February 2013, poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/salom-philip/computer-games-0076102 

A Little Bit About the Soul -- WisŁawa Szymborska

 [1923–2012, Polish]
 Translated by Joanna Trzeciak

A soul is something we have every now and then.
Nobody has one all the time
or forever.

Day after day,
year after year,
can go by without one.

Only sometimes in rapture
or in the fears of childhood
it nests a little longer.
Only sometimes in the wonderment
that we are old.

It rarely assists us
during tiresome tasks,
such as moving furniture,
carrying suitcases,
or traveling on foot in shoes too tight.

When we're filling out questionnaires
or chopping meat
it's usually given time off.

Out of our thousand conversations
it participates in one,
and even that isn't a given,
for it prefers silence.

When the body starts to ache and ache
it quietly steals from its post.

It's choosy:
not happy to see us in crowds,
sickened by our struggle for any old advantage
and the drone of business dealings.

It doesn't see joy and sorrow
as two different feelings.
It is with us
only in their union.
We can count on it
when we're not sure of anything
and curious about everything.

Of all material objects
it likes grandfather clocks
and mirrors, which work diligently
even when no one is looking.

It doesn't state where it comes from
or when it will vanish again,
but clearly it awaits such questions.

just as we need it,
it can also use us
for something.

Source: Szymborska, W 2000 (July) 'A Little Bit About the Soul',  Atlantic Magazine. Retrieved 25 February 2013 from www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2000/07/a-little-bit-about-the-soul/308563/