It’s happened already – the desperate raid on the failed poem file. So sad it should come to this so soon. Things don’t bode well for the end of the month poems if I’m depleting the storehouse already!
Anyway, the notes for this poem were written during a writing retreat last year on the shores of the Hindmarsh Island marina. Not my favourite place in the world by any stretch of the imagination given its local history and being involved in the protests against the bridge back in the 1990s (see the Hindmarsh Island Bridge controversy and the entry of “secret women’s business” into Australian vernacular). My disdain may be showing, just a little… Anyway, I’d been reading some Ken Bolton poetry and wishing for his facility with weaving flow-of-consciousness writing with interesting snippets of art history and local goings-on. My attempt at “Ken Bolton style” failed miserably, hence the title.
The opposite of Ken Bolton
I sit like a vagrant here on the bank
of this egg-carton marina, watching
the water rush its crinkles to nowhere,
the scent of coffee filters filling the air
with the taste of ash and coins.
The low sky is pushing me down
like a penitent before an altar,
offering a sacrifice of pavers
and astro-turf to the gods of suburbia,
while at my back hot-pink geraniums
shout their chorus of battle hymns.
Sitting here in patched sun,
watched by the wine bottles waiting for dusk,
I feel as old and awkward as a rusted bike
and all I want is home and silence broken only by the sound
of my husband hammering in his shed, his work clothes
a canvas spattered with a Modernist depiction of the last year.
I watch an ant crawl across the page
like punctuation gone wild and right now
the world shakes off its domestication,
reasserting itself even in this place where
pelicans seem as kitsch as lawn flamingos.
As televisions wake from their afternoon naps,
across the water ducks shoulder their way
through the air and the wind sows the grasses
with fistfuls of tiny birds that dart and weave
among the rattling seed heads as if the wind itself
is a city bristling with alleyways and thieves.