David Hopkinson: My Beautiful Laundretteenglish

Affixed to the wall
Below my flat
Is the welcoming sign
Of the laundromat

LAUNDRY 7 DAYS
Come rain or shine
Remove life’s stubborn stains
$4 a time

Invisible mending
Of love’s bullet holes
Spiritual cleansing
For odd socks
And lost souls

Flathunting one day
On Glebe Point Road
I spotted this bijou
Upstairs abode

UNIT TO LET
Apply within
I saw the sign
And the light
And moved straight in

10.00am Sunday morning
I’m up early and bright
To enact the ritual
Washday apartheid

Separating the coloureds
From the whites
In fragrant bleach
Of human rights

The latest gossip and scandal is there
Displayed for all to view
Cosmopolitan / New Idea / Marie Claire
Dated May 1992

At night the mighty neon smile
A warming glow does spread
A fiery sunset through the blinds
A blaze of blue and red

Magically bathing my bedroom
In a tasteful brothelpink hue
Prompting a string of male callers to ask
If credit cards will do

The world famous aromatic Hopkinson socks
(They can kill at 50 paces
They’re known to induce comas and cardiac shocks)
Now just walk downstairs unaided

And hop right into the nearest machine
First adjusting the settings required
Adding extra industrial strength strychnine
Meanwhile all around have expired

(The poet’s personal hygiene
Leaving much to be desired …)

Scrubbed to perfection
Purged of sin
Devils expelled
On the final spin

Grime doesn’t pay
The tie-dye is cast
I’ve abandoned old ways
They belong to the past

LAUNDRY 7 DAYS
Clean living at last.

Walter Hoelbling: Selected Poems

Berlin 1990

right in the eye
of history
I walk
among the crowds
that taste
the absence of confinement

an unfamiliar space

between the band stands
on the avenues
where people
test a freedom
newly won
still strange
as yet in need
of daily reassurance

crossing and recrossing
the big gate
and the bridges
that for generations
connected nothing
marked divisions kept
by guns and barbed wires
and well-lit empty spaces
between walls
watched from towers

the new reunion
brings happy smiles for most
quiet tears for some
new doubts for many
that are uncertain
now
about their lives together
after decades
of separation

right in the eye
of history I walk

just now and then
a little bit afraid
that she might
rub her eye

just now

W. H., October 3, 1990

Poem Divider

Leipzig 1990

A city old in trades,
in cultivation of the arts
based on industrious commerce
of its citizens who boast
the world’s oldest commercial fair

the city in which
Martin Luther and Melanchthon
led fierce disputes
with delegations of the Pope

where J. S. Bach found stimulus
and time to master
harmony and rhythm
close to perfection,
(and that was shocked listening
to Leibniz’s monadologies),

the city of which
Goethe spoke with praise,
that saw Napoleon defeated
on the nearby battlefield
(and built a monument of quite
imposing ugliness one hundred years
after the fact),

this city suffered hard
from two world wars
followed by over forty years
of dreams gone sour of a new society,
until, most recently,
this city once again
became a catalyst of major change.
Yet those who kept their meetings
at St. Niklas‘ church
and by their stubborn protest
helped to reunite
a country separated by walls for generations –
those you don’t see,
walking the streets of Leipzig now.

What strikes the eye
(besides the crumbling blackened ruins
of former glory,
and strip-mined land
just out of town)
is Wall Street’s new frontier,
the bustling peddlars of new easy wealth
as they appear on every street downtown,
offering anything from oranges
to shoes and South Pacific cruises.

Ramshackled pre-fabs built on shabby parking lots
already stake the claims of big banks,
business and insurance companies
that promise earnings, safety and security
to eager if bewildered customers.

„Pecunia non olet“ says the poster
of the postal savings bank,
and shows a happy pig
rooting in money.

Old stores, in order to survive,
have started selling
new and shiny goods
to happy new consumers,

only a few resist

and hesitate to walk a mile
for the melange of
fast food, cigarettes and booze
offered at makeshift stands
that seem have come
to symbolize the great new freedom

of the new Wild East.

W. H., November 1990

Poem Divider

new orleans

the charm of French Colonial style
with Cajun cooking promised – „genuine!“ –
at every second door
jazz bands at every other

the flair of well-groomed wealth and savoir vivre
exuding from St. Charles‘ porticos,
the restaurants on Calle du Roi,
the campuses of Tulane, UNO and Loyola

the grandeur of the superdome
the open space of Audubon and City Park
oakes draped with Spanish Moss
alive with jogging, skating, biking, walking health
between the nights –

all this makes you almost forget
the city project housings
slumming beneath the highrise business shadows
crime ridden,
floating on neverending waves of dime-a-dozen tunes
from hi-fi stereos of cruising cars

the grand lake spoiled for generations
with the big city’s waste,
the ‚father of rivers‘ dwarfed beyond repair
by wharfs and cranes and fortified embankments
that line his banks as far as you can see
and far beyond

a shotgun wedding of the rich and poor,
the black and white,
torn by the struggle to ascend
from shotgun to colonial
to the soft sound of dixie

W. H., February, 1992

Poem Divider

libération

after some grey days
comes the sun
summer heat
spectacle on the Seine

to commemorate

„La Route de l’Aramda“
a fleet for tourists
that never was

yet nice to watch
nevertheless
with fireworks
& stately masts
sails folded orderly
decks scrubbed
the crews all smiles
ready to answer
all the children’s questions

in between
gray & inaccessible
some men of war
of more contemporary make

among them
somewhat tarnished
one single ship
that really carried
allied soldiers
in its sighthless hull
on that gray morning

and suddenly
if only for a moment
you smell the sweat
of fearful courage
hear ammunition
click into magazines
the waves break dull
with hollow sound
amidst the crashes
of firework artillery
that split the waters
upward from the ground

Rouen, July 1994

Poem Divider

above things

at standard cruising altitude
sipping my digestive
after a decent inflight lunch
on the flight from Vienna to Athens

I gaze through the scratched
double plexiglass bulleye
shielding me from the outside world
and try to pierce the blinding haze
of a lazy spring afternoon
hiding from me
the people shot by snipers
the shelling of suburbs
the burning houses
the crowded hospitals
of Sarajevo, Gorazde, Mostar, Zadar …

supsended in diffuse light
all I can see
is the silhouette
of an occasional snow-capped mountain range

there is no sign
of human suffering

May 1992

Poem Divider

WINE COUNTRY

courting the sun
after a cool June
in my vintner’s garden
close to the southern border

carefully sipping
his latest selection
a good year
you can taste it

looking out from the hill
across the river valley
I listen to his children
proudly telling how
only yesterday
they filled 50 sandbags
just in case

the deafening roar
of an interceptor jet
splits the air
just for seconds
leaves my wine glass
trembling

three helicopters
slash their way south
and come back later

over the winding road
on the next hill
the last tank of the column
disappears

we can hear
not far away
over there
sounds like explosions

we enjoy the sun
Helmut opens another one
of his treasured bottles
and tells me
what he will do
if They come across

he is a good hunter
and an excellent shot

I sip the clear wine
watch how the sunlight
lends its brilliance
to the half-filled glass

I feel a little bit
like Humphrey Bogart
in the wrong movie.

(On the Yugoslav border, July 1, 1991)

Poem Divider

hazards of the profession

quipping maliciously
the learned scholar
outdid himself
and keeled over backward
into a huge barrel
of seething criticism

Poem Divider

TO BE

People that ‚are‘
of those who still ‚become‘
speak lowly
treasuring the edge
they have
by luck or by some clever sleight
of hand
gained in the race for being

Sometimes I wonder
where I am
am I
or am I not
do I become
and if so
will I ever be
what others are
where others are
(or think themeselves to be)

Maybe
those who appear so sure
of what and where they are
have at their backs
the everlasting fear
that when they are
where they have liked to be
there always are
the others who were there
some time before
and now
are somewhere else
happy again
that they are
where and what
others still struggle to become

Methinks
to be where I am
suits me fine
I do not care exactly
where
this is
if only I still see
a chance that I become
that is      I change
and not just be

There is
it seems to me
too little space
between to be
and
not to be.

W. H., September 1990

Catherine Basilicata

No more Goodbyes

What if I never kissed your lips again
Or feel the touch of your warm embrace
How would I go on
Without you my heart has no place to belong.

Someday I’m hoping love’s going to draw you away from the sea.
Until then my heart remains empty,
So, I’ll just have to believe
Somewhere out there you’re thinking of me.

The day you let me go and your next hello,
It’s not goodbye.
I’m hoping to see you again,
I’ll be remembering our times, and if time is on our side –
There will be no more fears or cries.
Deep in the ocean, there’s one thing you can’t deny:

You think I’d be strong enough to make it through,
And rise above when you emerge from the sea,
It’s so hard when you’re missing someone so long.
Please no more goodbyes.

 

Catherine Basilicata lives in Wollongong, Australia

Aesthetica Creative Writing Award

Call for Entries are open for the Aesthetica Creative Writing Award.

Celebrating excellence in contemporary writing and new work, the Creative Writing Award is a platform for emerging and established poets and writers to showcase their work to an international audience, which I believe would be of interest to those in our network at Gangan Publishing.

The award has two categories for entry; Poetry and Short Fiction. There are no limitations on themes or subject matters, only encouragement to submit work that harnesses the boundless potential of language, offering limitless and unforgettable worlds.

Creative Writing Award Prizes include:

  • £1,000 for each winner (Poetry and Short Fiction)
  • Publication in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual
  • Consultation with Redhammer (Short Fiction Winner)
  • Full Membership to The Poetry Society (Poetry Winner)
  • One year subscription to Granta
  • Selection of books courtesy of Bloodaxe and Vintage

Poetry entries should be no more than 40 lines and Short Fiction entries should be no more than 2,000 words. Works previously published are also accepted and you may enter as many times as you wish. Entries are open until 31 August 2018.

Submit at: www.aestheticamagazine.com/cwa

Michael Dransfield

Gedichte

Epidermis

Überdeckung aus Nervenenden
wunderbares Zelt
Zeppelin himmelwärts in Menschenmengen und Decken
Kissenbezug aus Fleisch in Fortsetzungen
wickelte sie uns recht ordentlich in unsere Sinne
isoliert uns aber nicht gegen Äußerlichkeiten
tut nichts zum Schutz
benachrichtigt nur das Gehirn
von Gesprächen mit einem Reiz
ich berühre gern deine Haut
und spüre gerne deinen Körper gegen meinen
zwei kleine Inseln in einem Atoll von einander
verbringen wir die ganze Nacht mit neuen Entdeckungen
von dem was die Winde der Leidenschaft angespült haben
und was eine matte Flut für uns zum Spielen finden wird
wenn dieses Spiel seinen Reiz verloren hat.

Deutsch von Rudi Krausmann und Olaf Reinhardt

Divider Line

Bildnis des Künstlers als alter Mann

In meines Vaters Haus sind viele Spinngewebe.
Ich ziehe vor, nicht dort zu wohnen die Gespenster
stören mich. Ich schlafe in einer Bodenkammer
über der Remise, und jeden Morgen
durchquere ich eine Nachhut aus Hecken um im Haus herumzugehen.
Es sieht aus, als wäre es aus der Erde gewachsen
zwischen seinen Eichen und Fichten, unter der großen
Arche der Moreton-Bay-Feigen.
Mein Studierzimmer ist das größte im oberen Stock;
dort schreibe ich an regnerischen Tagen
archaische Gedichte an einem Tisch aus Zedernholz.
Nur Porträts und Spinnen bewohnen den Saal
von Courland Penders doch
suche ich jeden Morgen das Gebäude nach Neuankömmlingen ab.
Einmal fand ich im Sommerhaus ein
Spatzenpaar, das auf einem Sofa nistete
zwischen verbogenen Tennisschlägern und vergessenen Dingen.
Kein Mensch besucht Courland Penders; die Stadt
liegt meilenweit flußabwärts und wenige kennen mich dort.
Einmal gab es Häuser in der Nähe. Sie sind verschwunden
wohin immer Häuser verschwinden wenn sie
zerfallen oder abbrennen oder mit Lastwagen weggetragen werden.
Friedlich genug ist es. Vogelgesang flötet aus den Bäumen
sucht mich zwischen Erinnerungen und Uhren.
Wenn Nacht oder Winter kommt, zünde ich ein Feuer an
und sehe den Flammen zu,
wie sie sich heben und senken wie Wellen. Ich bereue nichts.

Deutsch von Rudi Krausmann und Olaf Reinhardt

Divider Line

Ein Seltsamer Vogel

diese welt ist
ein seltsamer vogel

dessen gewohnheit es ist
gegen sich selbst zu kämpfen

dessen linker flügel
und rechter flügel

sich verbittert
aueinanderreißen

beide im namen
der gerechtigkeit und der gewalt

und dessen großer schnabel
die armen verschlingt

Deutsch von Rudi Krausmann und Gerald Ganglbauer

Divider Line

Fliegen

ich flog über sydney
in einem riesigen hund

es sah schlecht aus

Deutsch von Rudi Krausmann und Gerald Ganglbauer

Antigone Kefala

Poems in Translation

Song

I long to find you
in the uncertain silence
of my evenings
when darkness comes
and when the streets
are desolately empty
when nothing speaks
only my need of you.

Lied

Ich sehne mich, dich zu finden
im ungewissen Schweigen
meiner Abende
wenn die Dunkelheit einbricht
und wenn die Straßen
trostlos leer sind
wenn nichts ertönt
außer dem Ruf nach dir

Deutsch von Rudi Krausmann und Gerald Ganglbauer

Divider Line

Growing Old

Growing old
with the flower sellers
in Martin Place.

This everyday our only thing
this everyday what happiness
this everyday
thinking of friends that are
going, against their will,
who rise to the occasion of
their illness, of their death,
matching it.
Death that is coming
in this everyday
sweetly, unseen in the light.

Growing old in these streets
gathering this knowledge one
does not want, one can not use,
a useless knowledge that
repeats itself.
The same ashen faces,
the same fear
voices over the telephone
talking of soups
in this everyday that continues
to unfold in our absence.

Alt werden

Alt werden
mit den Blumenverkäufern
am Martin Place.

Dieser Alltag unser Einziges
dieser Alltag ein Glück
dieser Alltag
ich denke an Freunde die
gegen ihren Willen dahingehen
ihrer Krankheit
ihrem Tod gewachsen
ebenbürtig sind
Der Tod, süßlich
unsichtbar im Licht
an diesem Alltag.

Alt werden in diesen Strassen
ungewollt ein Wissen anhäufend
das nicht zu gebrauchen ist,
nutzloses Wissen das
sich wiederholt.
Dieselben aschgrauen Gesichter
dieselbe Angst
Stimmen am Telefon
Suppengerede
das sich an diesem Alltag
in unserer Abwesenheit entfaltet.

Deutsch von Rudi Krausmann und Gerald Ganglbauer

Divider Line

The Play

This prince was very nervous,
drank his own life at speed
to see it dry,
a methylated flame burnt in his eyes,
some savage energy that was ready
to erupt, singe his pale skin.

The courtiers
were out in the streets,
groomed in the latest image,
pink shirts, black leather belts,
limbs made of steak,
fried eggs and beer.

When the Town Hall clock
struck twelve, the daughter
of the Lord Chamberlain went past
smiling discreetly at her image
in shop windows.

Schauspiel

Der Prinz war sehr nervös,
trank sein eigenes Leben in Windeseile,
um es ausgetrocknet zu sehen,
eine Flamme aus Methylalkohol brannte in seinen Augen,
irgendeine wilde Kraft, die ausbrechen,
seine blasse Haut versengen wollte.

Die Höflinge
waren draußen auf den Straßen,
gekleidet nach dem letzten Schrei,
rosa Hemden, schwarze Ledergürtel,
ihre Glieder Produkte aus Steak
gebratenen Eiern und Bier.

Als die Rathausuhr
zwölf schlug, ging die Tochter
des Großkämmerers vorbei
und lächelte verstohlen ihrem Bild
in den Schaufenstern zu.

Deutsch von Isolde Scheidecker und Gisela Triesch

Rowan Hagen

12 Poems

The Witness

The ancient regime collapses,
tattered sackcloth, ashes
and timber beams splintering,
hollowed by years of white ants
and despair.

Explosives fold the stone walls,
they dissolve into an estate
of broken bricks and mortar,
dust rises like smoke
over the gray field that remains.

And I, Mona Lisa-like, sit,
my hands folded in my lap.

Shattered windows stare blindly
at decapitated buildings.
Stripped of their leaves
raw limbs shiver in the wind.

Pack rats have eyes for smaller beings
more easily managed, loot for fast money.

And I, Mona Lisa-like, sit,
my hands folded in my lap.

Gratefully the picture tube implodes,
releasing its prisoners from
the endless assault of images,
the onslaught of sound,
into quiet oblivion.

Soon a larger fish will consume its predecessor,
stronger doses will be needed to combat the disease.
As one wall is dismantled, another crumbles to rust,
News and Entertainment will record its demise.

While I, Mona Lisa-like, sit
my hands folded in my lap.

(November, 1991)

Ginsberg and Glass

at the centre of the universe
the navel of the world
it is quiet twilight
neighbours are rattling
pans in their kitchen
talking loudly out of windows
inside piano arpeggio
Glass on the stereo
Dylan on the floor
beside me looking up
to the window
slamming and shuffling
from next door
the chaos of the periphery
does not disturb
these tranquil notes
that still the air
here at the centre
of the universe
the face of a crazy
poet gazing out
from a book cover
and all is still
here at the navel
of the world
where thoughts are born
where they in time
dissolve
into the purity
of piano notes
the crickets‘ song
the still air

(January 11th 1996)

Curriculum Vitae

my life has been a light a lie a distant whisper
disintegrating echoes of silent particles
another strand of DNA unraveling
the parts greater than the whole
undecided tentative hurled
from invisible heights
stranded on this archipelago of fragmented floes
blindly bumping their existence in this senseless ocean
described and defined and divided by words
obliterated by thought slain by superlatives
the axe of rationality when we breathe
we breath only sunlight all the rest
is verbiage all the rest overkill
Our lives are lights are lies are silent screams
distance and magnitude hold us in dismay
consume us the jaws of denial
that we (I) you (me) could be
reduced to oblivion
eternally
only distance and magnitude fill us
gently transport us through the
shadowplay of star fire and dark matter
galaxies of molecules releasing our passions
this theatre exists no more now
we are empty space we are
distance and magnitude
the words of reversal
the silence of light

(30th November 1995)

Inundations

people come pouring out
of buildings pour out
over highways in cars
the broken hydrant
floods the footpath
washing away the traces
of their thunder

people come pouring
out of nowhere
clouds become rain
tears turn to mist
then suddenly it’s over

people come pouring out
of bottles cartons cans
come spilling out of plastic
containers strewn by roadsides
come rushing through storm
water channels over the edge
of a weary dam

the towering buildings and
banks have burst people
come pouring out on surfboards
clinging to the Styrofoam
boxes that held their lunch
treading water on asphalt
till the lights change and wash
away the shrouds and paper
wrappings of their grief

caskets come pouring down
the sewer’s tide where
the tunnel meets the ocean
and it’s over

(January 4th, 1996)

Kiss of the Spider Woman

She comes to take hold
and let go, emerging
from droplets on invisible threads
when the world becomes mist
and mist overtakes it.
And we two are left stranded
between disbelief and sleep
on this distant atoll.
Imprisoned by conviction
and fantasy, we merge stories,
the wind will disperse them.
Mothers lift bedcovers,
lower blinds, moonlight
a blue shadow on soft-breathing walls.
And the kiss of the Spider Woman
will take our last thoughts tonight,
until we wake to a pale sky
when the world becomes light
and light animates it.
These are moments
between prayer and forgetfulness,
the dawn hour grey with doubt.
Our waking breath evenly rises
from stillness to wind-stung water
where waves harsh with salt
roll fragments of sunlight
to a dune-shadowed shore.Prayer-beads scatter on sand,
the relics of saints lie
obscured by broken shells
and strands of twisted seaweed.
Their faces blur behind wet glass
as the sun dissolves
their misted breath.
 

Beneath the morning sky
icons fade in gilded frames,
erased by veneration
like vanishing stars.

Even unsheeted mirrors
will not acknowledge them.

Bright air absorbs
their final traces,
let us forget.

Fine blades deftly
cut the thread, we flinch
from the bite of steel
as we shudder and dance
to the drum-roll of gunfire,
shadows in the haze
of grit, lust and terror
raised by target-bombing.

They flee before the shifting
red line of encroachment.

We who remain
hear helicopters,
black wing-beats
bring nightfall
to our eyes.

Let us forget.

Fingers gently
lift the head,
we wake to see our own eyes
gazing from the quiet face
concealed behind our
fragmentary lives.

She comes to take hold and let go,
one sharp intake of breath
and the pain is over.
The kiss of the Spider Woman
will erase the aching
the moments of terror
the mute fear of death.
 

Starlight her witness
in boundless space,
a timeless womb
where once-estranged lovers wait,
their lives and deaths a kiss
of recognition and parting.

And we too are left, alone
on this unknown atoll, a web
of light in a sea of viridian.
Our lips touch as the last scene fades
and fine threads will softly
embrace it

Enlightenment

Ideas like comets come and go
and are lost for a lifetime.

Specks of dust that were stars
float in the sunlight before my window.

There are night-lights, twinkling in hills
thought to be uninhabited, glowing lianas
in jungles, frosted constellations
that glitter on the edges
of shapeless continents.

For whose benefit is
this breath-taking display?

Telescopes reveal only the slow undulations
of distant nebulae, the inner chamber
of soundless eternity.

Ideas like falling stars flare and plummet
and are gone before one can attract
the attention of bystanders.

They remain unaware
that someone close at hand now bears
one more glimmering fraction of light
on the mind’s invisible coastline.

Annunciation

I am the dark angel
with soft wings.
I invisibly land
sparrowhawk
on your shoulder.
My call is a high
lilting drone, making
stars glow as it weaves
its way round
the hollow stones
of space, the white noise
of quasars and sleeping giants.
sentinels at the gate
of my blind hinterland
that was once called
eternity.
And I wait
on your shoulder,
sparrowhawk
your light
sable lover.

First published in Navigations Issue 3 Summer 1994

Nona

I am Nona,
anon.
There is no-one
at home.

Nona – me,
no name at all,
no-one to be
or become.

Anonymous, quite
beyond recognition.

The mass grave,
the final communion
between strangers.

When body language
is stilled.
in silent discourse
we intertwine,

slowly fall together
at last,
that intimacy
none can disturb.

Breathing in time,
inhaling earth
and darkness, we settle

through decades of sleep,
our bones relaxing
in unspoken trust

where no-one can find us,
no word to define us,
no name at all.

Anonymous, quite
beyond resurrection.

 

The past dissolves
into today, and I

stand at the window,
invisible eyes behind
framed glass.

The world perceives
only its own passing,
it’s busy, and I

am Nona,
there’s no place
to go and I
am alone.

(May 1, 1994)

Fields of Mars

So the angel consoled
the weeping charioteer:
„Out of your sorrows
distill a victory.“

„Out of the silent devastation,
do not linger to mourn
among the helmets of the fallen,
day and night will release them.
Only large, extinct creatures
have time-lapse perception of this.

„Once a bolt of blazing light
consumed a forest entire
in the eastern regions of a mighty land ,
while all the king’s horses and men
were fighting to contain its
fragmented and contending parts.
So swift, that only slow
and credulous peasants remember.

While the educated hordes
rushed into a century
as if a new emporium
had opened its doors.

Armies of new and old creeds
fired at each other through
the portals and the ramparts
of silent architecture.
Printed tracts infiltrated
the workplace, private screens
surveyed production lines
from hidden rooms.

Some faded like moths
into that dazzling eye,
others dissolved slowly
on racks of packaged goods
and rows of processed evils,
many dissolved in empty vats
of liquid dreams.

 

„Eventually we all dream
our last dream, undertake
to cross that field,
and then the contents
of the cauldron will cease
its restless churning.

The aeon will transmute it,
printed still of ancient engravings
give graphic descriptions of this.

„Go forth, Charioteer,
these images of anguish
are flickering shadows
on a back-drop of space,
like the grey clouds gathered
over the battlefield today.

As armies pour like lava
from the lead-walled cauldron,
each exploding shell
will release a galaxy.
Another generation of gods
will resonate chorus to this.

The angel vanished,
a fragrance of lilies strayed
through tear-gas, then
the lightning.

Death Road

Run over, left next
to a take-away bag
crumpled in the gutter.
Covered in soot
from exhaust fumes
antiques lie forgotten
in windows, squeezed
between the bumper bars
of the used-car sales yard.
and the hock shop front
hoarded over like a brothel.
Motor bikes gleam in formation
tied by chains to the kerb.
Stuffed backpacks dangle
over the doorway of the
disposal store, khaki coffins
spread over the pavement,
opened to display
their full capacity.

Weeping Mary carries
the body of her Son
across the busy road.
passers-by look away,

embarrassed, the shops
are closing in five minutes,
the kids are waiting at home
there are things to do.
And after all
this is not Via Dolorosa,
but Albany Highway.

The supermarket car-park stretches
like a desert for a whole block.
Its marked rows empty as
the sun sets, the last shoppers
emerge from swinging doors,
loading white body-bags
into open boots.

(Easter, 1992)
First published in The Broadsheet, June 1992

In the Grip of Death/Life/Love

Hands held violently
against words
that mean nothing.

The voice of the
common good
kills us
daily.

Slippery blood-
stained hands
strain to keep
us

from leaving
each other
forever,

strive
for our lives
against words
that mean nothing.

(October 21st, 1995)

Remnants/ Revenants

This is then the lonely severance,
the last things packaged and left
in an empty hall; in the morning
couriers will take them away.

These are the things we take
the things we leave behind.

This is then the enforced dispersal,
when blood becomes history, and life
a flurry of images caught on film,
heartbeats moving like targets
across the moving screen,
over and over until the last
sight is mist moving over
the final mountain.

the things we take
and what we leave behind.

This is the in-breath
and the out-breath, taking
and giving that which knows
neither ownership or bestowal.
These are the packages of emptiness
left on the pavement for charity
or junkyard heaven where they know
the value of nothing and the price
of the ten thousand things

that we take
and leave behind
the final mountain.

(Tibetan New Year, 1996)

 

Reinhold Aumaier

eyeball & chain

i guess i’m like a turtle
hiding underneath its horny shell

Janis Joplin

six flies in a video
horseflies in a rodeo
butterflies on pretty peggy-o…

… what will your lover see
what will your mother say!?

butter ’n tango in a brando-night
honey & milk lost on paradise-sight
laurel & hardy in a christmas tree-fight…

… how could it all come true
does anyone have a clue?!

six lives in pretty peggy-o
horses‘ tango on a rodeo
sex, lies & video…

… tapes will frame you truly
you may see it so or so