Joy Reid

Four Poems

Bluebottle

Bubblegum sea stinger
with your remove via vinegar bite
deflated on sand
you resemble a discarded condom
the tantalise your tastebuds – variety is the spice of –
blueberry?
Pass.
Miniature sea-farer
with the bluster of a Spanish galleon
the buoyancy of a Mary Rose.
Well now
seems you’ve foundered
did piracy unrig your sails?
No?
They call you bottle
because you float
and because your colour recalls those vivid arsenic vials
so necessary to sheep stations
and because you are a Hermes
of sorts.

Well then
give it up
what’s my message?

Dream Truth 5

I am hanging washing
view: side-on.
The blonde duck bill pegs
snip sodden clothes succinctly.
No arguing with these snappy types
they affix with tumour tenacity
perch
blatant as last year’s bean crop.
I am wearing a red polka dot scarf.
It turbans my head.
Such a toffee apple focus
turns the domestic and drear into an Ingres-odalesque exotic.
Five pegs are plugged into my mouth
I am a power board tempting overload
I am a round hole into which many pegs of varying sizes
may be shoved.
Cut.
New point of view.
The camera withdraws behind.
Now I see I wear an apron
a voluminous bibbed spinnaker controlled by a flamboyant bow
a vanity that suggests
in this
and all such other activities I harbour pride.
Cut.
Zoom in.
Close up. Very close.
Now I see my nape is dark
shiny with sweat
taut
alert.
Arteries and tendons cable up to a zeppelin skull.
One ear curls like a sleeping cobra.

I turn
I face my other self.

„Go away,“ I say
„I don’t want you.“

Sabotage

Someone has fired the red plastic bins
they sizzle
they crackle
subside like Hanneka candles
form a viscous wax
into which a signet ring
might be punched.
The bins simmer
molten lumps that lava seep through blackened brackets.
The bins ooze
coagulated blood that pools beneath a carcass block and tackled.

Someone has fired the red plastic bins
logistically placed
so that ‚Keep Australia beautiful‘ proponents
can can their scraps
with minimal exertion.
No-one
prophesised this torched retaliation
foresaw such a repetitious Nuremberg response.
Had they done so
perhaps the bins would not have been positioned so uncompromisingly close.

Someone has fired the red plastic bins.
Was it political statement
a personal grudge
Friday night boredom?

Well, anyway
nothing obliterates more comprehensively
than fire.

Pisces

When a fish drowns on land its speechless bill breathes a sermon
Should you choose to listen.

His body flops against hers.
She craves a cigarette, wishes he were finished.

As always at these times her mind journeys home
but not the highway facing flats of these last eight years
no
her mind is salmon-programmed
it returns
to tufted toes, a bucket, wet strands of lichen-coloured seaweed.
Mermaid hair
she believes she believed it to be.
Once.

How clearly she remembers the chain mail eruption
of a writhing silver form.
Her awe
as it muscular flapped for survival
and terror
when her father clubbed it still.

This man who flounders above her now
has helped to reel in
another few feet of taut line
and for that
she is grateful.
Still
she wishes that he would not gasp quite so fish-like
nor his tongue resemble
quite so distinctly
the fat red worms her father would thread
piercing and re-piercing their accordion protest.
When a man drowns in water his mouth must yawn open in exactly that way
she observes
knowing that her man
this man
who has hooked himself into her flesh and will not let go
is almost suffocated.
She knows this in her sardine crumbling bones
unsubstantial bones
that can be crunched without separating the meat.

Though he does not
as yet.

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