Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pretzel.

Sometimes I think
when I think something
that I should say it
and that way
it would be easier to think it
I think
but I think saying it
only makes it
worse
the thinking of the thing
I thought
is softer than
the saying of the thing I think
Anyway
I think
this thought
needs a saying
like
don't say
the first thought
that you think
or think
before you say
what you think
but
I think
it's all been said
already
by
someone more
thoughtful
than I.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Milton.

Soundtrack: Midlake / Roscoe

Milton stood on the bridge
over the highway
shone chrome
in the rain
and when he closed his eyes
the slip of the cars
was the sound of a river
and he was drowned
and so was the ache which brought him here
the dirty black dog which made him
lean forward
his arms outstretched
daring gravity
to take the lead and topple him over
in with the silver fishes
which fled in a blind dash
between the lines upstream
toward tomorrow.

This was how he liked to listen
to music.

Feet hooked beneath the bars of the guard rail
with the rain in his face
and the wind man yeah
and no one to hear him scream
the alien lyrics
he didn't understand
but howled as loud
as he could into the storm
oh fuck.

And he could cry
here
as everyone drove home
and he could laugh at himself
and he could say
I miss you
oh fuck
and it didn't fucking hurt
not here
not with the headphones on
it never hurt with the headphones on
but he sobbed all the same
the notes of his past and haunted melodies
of where it was leading
would spring from his eyes
and there was nothing he could do
but sing
and play the same song over and over and over and he hated that word
feeling his heart collapse and fold far out
"over" the world
when the guitar struck that bar
down stroke and nothing mattered

just the feeling

that's all he was
a feeling
as he sang over the semi trailers with a quaver
and quivering tongue.

And when from time to time
someone would walk behind him over the bridge
he would see them coming
place his hands in his pockets
and pretend to be staring quietly
over the edge
and they may or may not
exchange glances
in the dark
until he was left alone
again
wondering why he was
ashamed to be seen singing
and thinking
I should have the fucking courage
to believe that what I am doing
is the true thing
the right thing
to smile
as I stand
and drown in the band
I want the surprise
in the eyes
of a stranger
I want them to see
the fragile soul
that lives inside
but I don't
I won't have the courage
I'll just hide
here
in the words
of the song
and the guitar
will be the lion
the roar which echoes
in my heart
that no one can hear
but me.

And the rain beat on.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

War.

Used to be
there was so much pain
out there
Jack said.

Used to be filled
with damns
and bloody
hills
and
mother fuckings
and god almighty
himself
feared to walk across
the dust and savaged
terrain
for fear of losing his way.

I look out
over where he's pointing
and then turn
to see him
wipe his eyes
with his sleeve.

His skin
the elephant
seems to follow
a second behind his words
a surf of cracked leather
waving goodbye
to the tears
that fall as
lost brothers.

Now

he says

now there's just
a dull acre
of
dry dirt
a distant thunder of doubt
that feeds
the weeds
of tomorrow.

His eyes are yellow.

But they can still
sense the gangrenous
guns
threatening
from his
past.

I cannot
understand
how he fields
the questions
from his family
who stand tugging
at his medals
and glancing
at their watches
ready to march
quick time
away from him
the pest
lest he forget
that they have
lives now
too.

So I
drink a beer
beside him
in silence

and remember.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Ladder.

I had a house I used to run to.

A long time ago now.

Be about fifteen years since I was there.

It sat on the side of a mountain.

From the house you couldn't always see the peak.

In winter anyway.

Just an upward slope.

Coverered in trees.

Leading into the clouds which hung low and thick.

The first time I went to that house I figured that must've been the way to Heaven.

One winter I woke up and the whole place was covered in snow.

I stood on the front step and smiled and laughed.

I didn't notice that my feet were wet and numb.

The sky was blue.

I'm always confused by that.

The snow sitting happily under the sun.

It must sneak in at night while everyone's asleep.

I had a motorbike there.

It was just a postie's bike.

125cc.

But it could run the bush tracks that ran from the edge of the back paddock up the side of the mountain.

I had a gun there too.

A .303.

The .303 was an infantry rifle from Vietnam.

I would sling it over my shoulder and ride up the mountain.

Then I would sit there.

Watching the bush.

Sometimes I shot a tree that looked dangerous.

I'd sit up there for hours.

Listening, thinking, being.

Just before it got dark I'd head back.

I'd navigate home using the lights of the house as stars.

It felt like when the sun went to sleep, the house would come alive.

The chimney would be smoking.

There would be music.

A couple of cars.

Smells of roast potato and fire and cigarettes.

Sometimes people would smoke joints and tell the same stories they told yesterday.

It didn't matter.

The best was when the fire was outside.

Everyone sat around in thick jumpers with cold beers.

We'd get a good one burning and then what we'd do is throw copper on it.

And the copper would burn all sorts of colours.

Orange sunsets and bruised purples and the green was life in that fire, and the fire was life in us, and we would sit all night, under the stars and sometimes, you know, I'm afraid of the darkness that lives in between them, but up there on that mountain, up there the whole damn sky was a diamond and I was never afraid, not once.

They sold that house.

Now someone else owns that mountain.

Sometimes I think I'd like to go back there.

Knock on the door and ask if I can't walk up the back paddock one more time.

But I don't.

Besides,

I figure there's more than one way to get to Heaven.