Christina Conrad

Poems for Stoneking

For Stoneking in siena
august 1997

you call out of a hot siena afternoon
into
a dark New Zealand night

you say you cannot walk at night
for vipers hiss
at every turn
how? i ask you
can one recognise
a viper

does viper coil in memory
does viper coil at base of spine

a seemingly indestructible mass
is memory
by every stile & turnpike
vipers hiss
to travel by foot at night
could be a danger

yet i swear there is a viper
at every turn
as dark strikes light
in tenderness of morn

i have seen the stuff of vipers hiss
i have eaten crumbs
on loves floor
ah! we are the vipers children
our vipers coats
expensively buttoned
against life

Stoneking six times Acrylic with gel medium, impasto and paper mache on unstretched canvas, 32″ x 43″

For Stoneking in siena
august 1997

you say you are going mad

between siena’s thighs
you could be reborn
or live out an imitation
of that which causes
horror to Soul

on trial for committing
the act
of
birth & death

that skittery stuff
of
loves palace
makes teeth on edge
remembering the fatness
of
an education board
chalk

was it in umbria when siena became
a woman
the stone lodged in the high walled tomb
me thought i heard you singing
calling
vipers bride

i don her veil
flower upon flower
the slime of secretions

adornment
in a decay of seed pearls

a rummaging ruby
to
cover
hearts
hardening case

For Stoneking whilst Conrad was in New Zealand

i once heard an old tree scream

old trees are not easily uprooted
if you still long to return to your beloved –
when i am rich
i shall send you back
on a blood-red ship

i will give you a dowry
of
1 bolt of white linen for swaddling
600 teak chairs that fold
90 mirrors
with shutters to hide your reflection
1 thousand white bone spoons
1 black door with an isolated key hole
100 wicker perambulators
with pressed iron wheels
100 kauri cradles with high walls
& enchanted rockers
100 angry seed rattles

if you still long to return to your beloved
when i am rich
i shall send you back
on a blood-red ship

old trees are not easily uprooted –
i once heard
an old tree scream

Mexico, 1998 – Memories of a Vegetarian
(for Stoneking)

in your roof top apartment
you
sit
in lotus position
watching television

in an orange sarong
you wave a black
flicker

your blue eyes
behind glass

you call
for
me
to go
to the chicken shop
you
want
2 chickens legs
4 chickens breasts

try to remember, christina
not
to tell people
that
i
eat
chickens breasts
that
i
eat
chickens legs

that…

i
play
pinball

Stoneking flying back from Mexico, watched over by the old Aboriginal men Acrylic with gel, impasto and paper mache on unstretched canvas, 46″ x 53″

For Stoneking in Santa Cruz

on melbourne cup day
old men
surge
down myrtle street

seduced
by memory
i
bow
before restriction
study
cruelty
as i once studied thorns

familiarity
does not make
anguish
easier to bear

each morn i rise
early

in the courtyard
a golden crocus
shoots
out of dark earth

i once lived near a beloved
our streets
ran
parallel

from my balcony
i could see
the roof of his house

between a 6 foot cactus
and wooden teeth
i stared
a solitary prisoner

at night when sleep
did not take me
i ran
in bare feet
thru freshly washed streets
past his house

i never touched
his black fence
his
gate
his
frowning window

Letter to Stoneking (from NZ to Santa Cruz)

this place
hath
given
me
mundanity
offered
as
if
a pallid
bun
i
have
partaken of…

slowly
slowly
i
die

ah! lift me out
lift me out
i have no power
here
i
swarm
in
multitudinous
nightmare

i am
no
stronger
or
weaker
than
you
so
great
is
plight
i have been forced
to
apply
strength
thru
glass
thru
flame
snake like
up
the
ladder
falling
back
bitten
once
twice

ah! ah!
lift me out
lift me out
i have no power
here
i
swarm
in
multitudinous
nightmare

for Stoneking – Christmas Eve night – 1996

once i would’ve died
at the sight of wrapt presents
in wet hands
i ripped them open
fingered each fatal object
doll
snake
silver necklace
doll
with staring eyes
malicious smile
bright pink legs

snake shot up
the stick
once
fell
in a heap of damp paper

i longed for a pedal car
red tin body

hanging over a gate
i knew a girl
thin as a sugar stick
said the devil was everywhere
she ate with her mouth closed
hair shaved up the back
lived at the home of compassion
i though it was where they kept
dried up passion fruit

starless
christmas eve night
materialism rages

in the polish house
great cakes are baked
iced in coffee & chocolate
a black stove
with a guilty mouth
gapes
at white
mutinous
mushrooms

tender ears
drop
into blood red borsht

starless
christmas eve night
i call
i hear
the sound of your house
the gold hand from mexico
knocks

i have
been
sweet

i have been
loving

i have been
hateful

i have been
starless

christmas eve night
materialism rages
you do not walk
over
the
water

for Stoneking (born august 31, 1947) – 1994

night before your birthday
night
without
stars

i have painted
the
box
box of life & death

the night before your birthday
the box
of life & death
is
open

you are afraid
in
your
47th year
torn from waters
where
you sailed
in
your mothers high walled tomb
graven before spirit
your eye magnified
trapped in a body

you were never sure was yours
she fixed a bonnet
on your head
you tore it off
she put it on

Stoneking – 1994

born
last day of august
falling
out of
fire
into
earth

ah how cold
your feet
galloping
over
under
a
mystical body
revered
in
the
sight
of
love

under
darks
cloak
we grope

good friday, 1994 – for Stoneking

on good friday
i found a brazil nut
lying on a path that led
down to the sea

i held it
in my hand
its long dusky shell
hid
its nut

for Stoneking (Melbourne, 1997)

early autumn
the deciduous leaves
have not yet
fallen

you write from mexico
you ask
me
for poems

not ones about me
christina
i do not want my friends
to think
you
have
a one track
mind

one track –
i howl
plummeting mind’s mighty depth
these are the
ones
the
ones
i erect
on dream’s
frozen
lake

to Stoneking 1993

in my 50th year
my teeth are still sharp
i
slowly devour
the flesh
of my heart

i was ill when i only ate pasta
it was so
white
under the hood
of
a black dish
i
dreamed
all my teeth fell out

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