1. Georges River, August. Her Poem
- ‘Put the poet watching........’
glint and tingle
among the plastic
caught in the mangroves
the river trudges by,
It is going to the sea.
the hat- or stickless.
Two women are sitting on a carpark log.
cuppas struck by long orange light. She leans
over to the other, confides:
George isn’t very deep Flo
a bit sooperfishl. Reely. Sips.
A powerboat big-bangs it all.
The plastic shudders.
Winter doesn’t even try.
2. Lawn, Pool, TV, January. His Poem
- ‘tries to see them.....’
In plastic lemonade bottles
dreaming on forlorn lawns
against shitting dogs.
For reasons unknown. Just trim ‘em
till you bleed
diggers of suburbia,
fiddle and blast and weed
(as tides turn
and things stir
under the silt
of the heart)
that true blue concrete-and-grass
Arcadia : (o what a lark
in the old Manor park
as we poached after dark
and were most cru-el-ly
transported !) make it
a short-back-and-sides and Decency Returned
with a vengeance, a power mower
and some agent orange
under a quite indifferent
big gun-of-a-sun. Yes dear
no dear pass the certainly
dear would you like please or
else love we can (I bloodywell hope
the scone sticks
in your throat
like a sardine can
down a pelican
righto righto righto
and your bloody girdle
as you bend down
o yeah) but I
did remember the special
on pool chlorine at Franklin’s.
O yes, love.
Maggie love. For reasons unknown. The crack.
under the back door. The screen
flickers. The sand
from the mudflats is blown a little higher.
Brown sand. Stealthy.
3. Watching. The Poet’s Poem.
- ‘It is all going to the sea.....’
Put the poet watching
at the riverside carpark.
His poem of this Maggie the Magpie’s husband,
their suburban life cut up
at the top of each of their poems.
Tries to see them
tries to hear them
from within objects and personae
named like the plastic bottle totem the magpie
the other lady on the log or the log or the jerk
in the powerboat God maybe the shitting dog
the sluggish old river, naturally the river
and especially their TV set
having a secret affair with Maggie
while we see or hear their phantasy lives
in the phantasy life of the poet
who is a phantasy like George
the RSL dragonslayer (imagine he said and
the curtains weren’t even drawn I want he said
I want to stick and he only had his sweaty old
singlet on my lance in you and me
in me girdle you dragon he called me I spose
that’s sposed to be a turn-on and from behind
coming at me like a lawnmower he’s not
in the army now you know how you go
through the motions just to keep ‘em quiet
and the other night imagine Flo I dreamt
this huge great dune yeah dune just came
all over the lino I always told him to
put something under there
but the sand was brown or black and yes
full of eyes). In fact
there may be as sense of ancient things
surfacing like weeds or sandbanks
up through their suburban lives the totems
only partly buried under the obsessive lawns
returned again the sifting sands, quietly
built up by the brown wind (slow, tidal)
from the river the mudflats as they have afternoon tea
and telly (i see
i reflect them watching me as i watch them
as i throb with lurid phantasies
that flicker furiously and blare on the surface
of my glassy brain for hours it’s exhausting tho
that finger soft and stiff that pushes into me
at seven is always always exciting exciting again
as the energy surges thru the sky
and thru me me me and cataracts of wordimages
race in my veins my cells yes o yes
how lovingly she wipes me clean of that
traffic and mangrove dust on Saturdays then
even his put-put his put-put his put-put
powermower can’t come between us) and, yet
he snarled to leap at the heart of the real,
the sinews within the skin of satire, the real
slouching away along trimmed surfaces, howling
silently at cosy violence, to the ebb and flow
of caring and tortoise desperation.
So that the poet too can be seen (as he sees,
watching, by the watching river) to be
all that. Helpless in metaphor
and more than the smartfart voyeur
lawnmowing and opinionating as it is all going
to the sea and love and poetry
no overwhelming and obvious
constant cataract of passion,
for the tide is deep
and a wonderfully slow, perhaps,
Peter lives in Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands of NSW, quite close to where I used to live in Wingello. When I was running Bundanoon Poets In The Pub he was a regular and I came to know his work quite well. And to admire it. In recent years he has been featuring on the poetry prize lists quite prominently He and his wife, Barbara, run a 20 acre permaculture farm and his new work is deeply informed by this committment. Love In The Suburbs is an older poem which I have liked for a long time and is in his book The Post Man Letters published by Picaro Press.