Game, set


Seen: 2.16pm ….. Seen: 2.16pm ….. Seen: 2.16pm 5.47pm. You have the advantage. What’s happening over there? Did you miss the shot? are you chasing the ball in the bushes? … are you lost? did you get caught in the net? are you talking to a spectator? have you retired to the bar? Did I use the wrong ball? Seen: 2.16pm ….. Break point. Final score: Love, all.

Unlocked

The last tendrils of sun slide off the sand into the sea
We pull in when the road gets rocky
and watch the cold smudges of mountains fade in the distance

The front doors rattle with the southerly
Your hands rest on the wheel
I fold up my legs in the passenger seat
We rock gently with every gust

You turn the key enough so we can listen to the radio
It’s stuck on the concert station, has been for months
I don’t know why you don’t get it fixed
we don’t like opera.

Should probably go for a walk, I guess, get some fresh air
Well, you should, at least. I don’t, anymore.

It’s dark now, but you’re going anyway
I remind you that the handle is broken, so
when you leave
please leave the door unlocked.


Conversations with wolves

Talking to you
is like forcing myself
through a very small hole in a barbed wire fence

with the small brained certainty
that the field on the other side is sweeter

Halfway through and no way back
A final tearing heave is the only way

And then to realise I’ve left behind
strings of soft fleece hooked there in the wind,
and there are
corresponding scars
on my naked belly.


Evening

You out there
sitting in the chill black grass
just beyond the yellow fall of light from the kitchen window

You know I’m watching
wondering if the evening dew has soaked through
your jeans yet, and if I should
call you in

But your eyes are fixed upwards, watching the last pale blue light fade
single stars winking back at you
When you were small, so small
you asked if you could collect them, and keep them
for when you needed them in the night
You’re still small, to me
But no longer afraid of the darkness
that creeps in around you
The arch of your throat gleams white

I think about mosquitos

I think about your bare feet

I put a washed dish into the rack
and notice the skin on my hands is wrinkled
from too much time in the water.


Stretching Days

Sometimes I go for a walk
in the afternoons, when the rain is still
dripping from branches and letterboxes
and the clouds on the hills look empty

While I wander, I imagine
the friends I don’t know anymore
walking on parallel streets
in the same direction

Chins up,
feet light,
sure steps
unused umbrellas swinging

Maybe we’re all
looking forward, maybe they
don’t know
That I’m watching the trees
bend over the path with the weight of the water
and pocketing the leaves

If they turn the right corner
and so do I
We might spot each other

At the moment of meeting
I will stand and wait
to see if they cross the street.


The Wreck of the Tek Sing

It was treasure.

That dive, that day
May 12 1999
The True Star looming, listing on its side
Barely recognisable,
covered
in the growing houses of fish

The porcelain on the wreck was incidental
The real earner would have been the tea
If she had ever made it home

But there inside, the picked bones lay

We saw the skulls first, then
the glow of porcelain in the dark
The second ‘unsinkable’
Commemorated with a single floating elephant tusk

We hovered above her, quiet, quiet
the quiet of the suicided lady
laid to rest on the sand,
weighed down by her jewels

And so we brought up the white gold
piece by piece, and
we thought about bringing the bodies too

But it was their place
And not our place to take them

—-

About the Tek Sing, from Wikipedia:

The Tek Sing (Chinese, “True Star”)[1] was a large three-masted Chinese ocean-going junk which sank on February 6, 1822[2] in an area of the South China Sea known as the Belvidere Shoals. The vessel was 50 meters in length, 10 meters wide and weighed about a thousand tons. Its tallest mast was estimated to be 90 feet in height. The ship was manned by a crew of 200 and had approx. 1600 passengers. The great loss of life associated with the sinking has led to the Tek Sing being referred to in modern times as the “Titanic of the East”.[3]

On May 12, 1999, British marine salvor Michael Hatcher discovered the wreck of the Tek Sing in an area of the South China Sea north of Java, east of Sumatra and south of Singapore. His crew raised about 350,000 pieces of the ship’s cargo in what is described as the largest sunken cache of Chinese porcelain ever recovered.[4] Human remains were also found, but they were not disturbed as most of Hatcher’s crew, being Indonesian and Chinese, believed that bad luck would befall any who disturbed the dead.


Better than me

Everybody wants to be
a better version of you and me
I just bleed

tears in my eyes/ scars on my thighs
I apologise, did I think I was right? Maybe this time
It’s just me in disguise/ hiding lies/turning up dry
I don’t know why/ I tried to reply
The words don’t come out right
the breath is stuck/ in my throat/ and now I choke/ I’m out of rope

the whole moon loves me but the stars gonna hate
it’s a sad kind of fate when you see that gate / and all you really wanted was to meet halfway
Flood lights ringing hearts still sinking/ they’re all watching/ I know what they’re thinking
I got naked, it was my choice/ I stood up and I raised my voice /

But skinny slim beautiful thin
spoken knives cut translucent skin
One day I’ll be better and these words won’t seem /
like they need to be written in a blood red dream/
Feel that heat now/ it’s so fleeting
so do it quick now/ stand up breathing

now speak.

peace.