Salute

D ad told his aviation stories
E very time we met. It
M eant I knew them – sort of. His pride and joy –
E ach became grounded, one by one,
N o longer airworthy…

T il, getting my bearings, I turned a key
I n my voice and imagination,
A nd Flight Lieutenant Dean and I, we learned to fly together.

Sea Symphony

Toes, waist, chest, chin, then swallowed by the sea,
I’m a mermaid, brought up on ear popping sandstone rock,
sent to salsa through a musical element not our own,
where fish may do-si-do through lace of flimsy lungs.
Dive with me heartlong through musical wave ranges,
sparking the excitement of a gazillion castanets.

Let me tantalise you with Chalchiuhtlicue’s castanets,
while jealous Eurybia pirouettes by us in the sea.
Now we’ll reach below the surface for deeper ranges,
and I’ll show you how to roll the waves and rock
in ecstatic freedom, with fine, uninhibited lungs,
until you exclaim, and claim the water as your own.

Then you and I can find a soundscape of our own,
a balletic collaboration, moving beyond castanets,
to a place where dolphins commune and human lungs
split into feather gills, fleet and sexy for the sea;
where we will meet our thermal origins, ready to rock,
and pause to play great fossil pipes at unheard ranges.

When we have absorbed those harmonic underwater ranges,
and sea beard grows between teeth not quite our own;
when we have become our ancestors, and belong to the rock;
somewhere above us still will play those spangled castanets,
and as you lay yourself on my shelf beneath the sea,
so the dance of our bodies will return us up with new lungs.

First breath, as we surface, oxygen thrust into salty lungs;
First cry, as we emerge, sound splintering mountain ranges;
First swim, as we splash, amazed, to the music of the sea;
sent to salsa through an element not our own,
accompanied by the clap of Chalchiuhtlicue’s castanets,
we’ll reach a place where water drums roar on sandstone rock.

We’ll help each other up, upon the drums of sandstone rock,
and, beating chests, exalted in our triumph, fill our lungs
with air, sea below us clapping – a gazillion castanets,
we’ll sing of life and rock and roll and mountain ranges,
and know the music of the earth, which we can never own,
but that we clambered up to dance to, from the sea.

From our hold upon this rock, the clapping of castanets
and our own song, belted with the mighty power of human lungs,
rings out across mountain ranges, and to the bottom of the sea.

Balance

A middling man dances with a deckchair on the uneven beach; his neck burned ruddy by the kisses of the sun. Striped seat tacking, wood frame click-clacking, he perseveres nevertheless, and folds himself into the seat in time to watch his ex-lover leave for new horizons. As she shimmers her feisty goodbyes, an impish sea breeze rises to pick a tune on the string drawn tight between day and night, and steals the hat from the middling man’s head. The middling man throws up his arms to catch the hat, and the chair tips, toppling him. He stays there a while, curled on the beach, salt tears blotted by the still warm sand.

Equilibrium:
so difficult to achieve
so easily lost.

Forest

Stepped from our travelling van, we
cast a blanket on the ground
beneath the spindled sessile branch.

Submerged in ferns, we watch play
lichened, long limbed nymphs,
aloft our chosen healing tree.

And as the early sun strokes
offered oak leaf palms,
stale poisons tapped, sap from us.

See how our grim forest buckles,
and melting into wilderness
we become our greater selves.

Cut

At midnight precisely, the lights go out
and electric sound ceases its insistent buzz;
a confused housefly lands on my screen.
Instantly disconnected from my senses
my inner mouth makes an ‘O’.
I negotiate the stairs and
standing on tiptoe at the window
glimpse what I think is your candle,
but may be a distant car.

It takes fourteen minutes to adjust;
I fumble for a head torch,
the housefly gets excited and sits on its light.
I rejoice in the ticking of a clock
and check the fuses.
It has now been twenty three minutes,
my batteries are about to die,
it’s been fun, sort of,
but the pesky housefly,
grateful for reassurance, is dancing
annoying tangos with my words,
and soon we will both be
inescapably in the dark.

Hot Rock

In this melting heat I am an elastic acrobat with a pliable spine.
If this implies I remain manipulable, don’t get me wrong;
meticulously imbibed values run through me like Blackpool.
But if you insist that conflict brings about justice,
I bite through to your impervious core, and show you revenge;
when you testily suggest progress can be measured along a continuum,
I answer that the future of the earth is round.
So we (me and me) rock, split and roll over in our sweltering debates,
kicking back with Greenpeace, arcing over to Amnesty,
or throwing in our lot to proclaim belief in the will of God.
In this sticky heat I am clammy after a day of mass debate
but if I shower my body I may sacrifice the plasticity of my mind.

Bean

I’m a skinny greeny bean stalk in a
hectic screaming plot, with all the
madly waving grasses tying oxygen in knots.
Will you weed my rambling garden
with your trowel and a fork? Will you
catch me when I’m falling? But that garden cane
won’t work, because without my own direction and no mouth
to call my own, I am barely standing upright if you
leave me where I’m blown. It’s not a case of
undernourished or unhealthy state of mind; I’m just
unable to be stable for a longer length of time.
I don’t need that much attention, just some water
every day, if you prod me with a pruner I will
curl the other way. So if I wave in your direction
an acknowledgement will do, I’m a skinny greeny beanstalk
but I’m full of beans for you!

High

Is self-awareness the same as diagnosis?
Are dreams symptoms or manifestations?
Just lately there has been regular levitation
with increasing ability to rise above situations
or step lightly into another dimension
through a literal sphere of consciousness –
which is in fact a flexible paper tube.

Is intoxication dangerous?
Is imagination terminal?
Not only are these  experiences thrilling,
but also make dislocation enjoyable.
I am lying in a meadow of my own making,
sipping beer at the festival of living proof.
Perfectly balanced in my tipped universe
I have seldom felt happier upon waking
and been so willing to surrender to the night.

Garden Party

Today, midweek, I’m garden chilling,
no pesky mean metal mamas mowing,
they are the weekend boys.
Nope, just me and the big blue sky
and hey, you know what even?
That old Sun is shining.

Then what happens? Dang.
Those flaunty sparrows tip the Tit and Jay
I’ve got seed!
and that’s the end of peace for today.
They get so close I am moving up!
In my own garden! Seriously.

But this is not the main deal yet –

Well bless my odd socks,
the entire ‘nature thing’ begins
make the biggest darn racket ever:
bees bumbling, crows cawing,
old man Slug chewing on me lupin…
My garden so loud the world is rocking!

Well, think on it. Be churlish to vamoose.
This is some kind of party, maybe?
Nature doing what Nature does pretty well.

So

I am coming out, creepy sneaking
from under my pot. Segments waving,
fourteen hip dancing legs grooving at a time.
Get with Nature’s freaky beat,
Coz, creatures, we are the party!
we are the real deal.

I’m telling you. Come on down my garden!
Give it some WOODLOUSE WELLY!

Guest

Two bitten lips are evidence, I fear,
of ancient panic hidden in a well,
the bucket drawn when you are far from here,
and I must hold this precious citadel.

These aching shoulders are to be my guards,
which carry and preserve life in our home,
we set a place, and eat, and speak few words,
and clatter through the silence, quite alone.

The doors are bolted shut but I’m afraid
my love is broken into, undermined,
by Loneliness – a muscled retrograde,
who stalks me yet with purpose undefined.

I’ll close the curtains on declining light
and count his eerie footsteps through the night.