July 30, 2012
Skinned sun bleeds thickest honey,
flesh cubed into soft armadillos.
You whisper of summer, twin ears,
lure us like that other yellow,
the smiling curve of beach.
Lie in a hammock —
canvas forming cocoon —
and eat a mango;
where fruit ends and we start
is hard to say. Peel away
accretions of words and worries —
be stroked by gold to dream.
Hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago I was warm. Now I’m in Canberra and freezing. It’ll be a balmy -2 overnight, and -4 is predicted for later in the week. This usually brings on questions of Why? Why here? Why not on the coast? (I know the answer was State politics and fear of invasion, but the mind still boggles like a most boggly thing.)
At the moment, Kazakhstan leads Australia in the Olympics medal tally. Though, to look on the bright side, there is no history of Australians mumbling ‘Bloody Kazakhs’, nor any great sporting traditions linking the two countries…And didn’t New Zealand do well in the hockey last night against Australia? I believe the Russian umpire was called Kakapovic, or something like that.
Amazing how idiotic sporting badinage cheers one up! Although the total fixation of local media coverage on Australians and only Australians at the Olympics is already beginning to pall. I’ve absolutely no hope of seeing the Kazakhs, for example, unless they’re up against a ‘plucky’ Aussie.
I am in a world of discomfort as I adjust to the gym, but I can’t stand people who whinge about voluntarily inflicted pain. So I decided to post a poem about my favourite fruit instead.
I wonder if there are poems about vegetable or fruity love published by anyone else? Click this feather and you will be transported to New Zealand, and will most surely find out.
July 23, 2012
Just a Captain Cook*
Slick, fertile pages of ever-sunny blooming brochures
slip through her avid fingers. She dreams, charts and plots
trips she can never take. From these drifting mind-spores
she grows a giant ship-mushroom and visits hot-spots;
deep-tanned Fiji, jungly Vanuatu and accented ‘France
of the Pacific’, the model thin, elegant exclamation
of la Nouvelle Calédonie. Oh, the tight clenched dance
she dances, the deep-shelf oceanic love she finds, from
one sun-bathing island to the next! Tough travel agents
recognise addiction, her joyous, fungal procrastination,
and refuse to meet those longing, sea-kissed eyes. Graven
idols, their books are like shiny trinkets flogged at micro-nations.
She knows, they know, she can’t go; only sigh and contemplate
the spiced salad of rain-forest, and the waltz of ideal mate.
*Captain Cook is rhyming slang for look.
Unlike the woman in that poem, I recently returned from a cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Ah cruising. Where you get to watch people who should be on a diet of water and grapefruit and the occasional bread roll on special occasions scoffing down lunch at one restaurant, so they can waddle almost quickly to the buffet and scoff some more.
Actually, my recent cruise did me much good, as the surrounding atmosphere of rolling obesity led me to rediscover the gym. My husband went twice a day (well, he eats meat, including bacon, so that’s only appropriate). I only managed a few kilometres walk outside each day (and stuck to fruit for breakfast) but I did venture into the gym and remembered what I loved about weights: namely pushing oneself until one almost needs to vomit. And having unacknowledged, one-sided, nonsensical competitions with twenty-five year old men. I must really like losing, at some level.
Upon return to life as a landlubber, I have enrolled in a gym where they ring you up if you don’t show up for a session. I have recently lost weight, so it seems a good time to pick some up. I start tomorrow. It will either kill me or make me indulge in the strong weighty drug of cliché.
Speaking of which, I also rediscovered cocktails on the cruise, which contain absolutely no calories at all. I remembered what I love about them: namely pushing oneself until one almost needs to vomit. No, not really. I love having just the one. (That is so beyond a lie.)
We saw some beautiful places on the trip, including the Isle of Pines, where I went snorkelling on my birthday. I also inflicted my French on the locals, and I’m glad they didn’t declare war on Australia as a result. Here I am later that day, hopping into my one drink for the evening. (If you still believe that, I toss a mixture of pity and contempt in your direction with my soon to be stronger, Glenn McGrathy, arms.)
Yes, occasionally the thought ‘is this a good thing to be doing?’ intruded itself into my head. Particularly when we stopped (sorry, ‘anchored’,) near The Isle of Pines and I realised that there were probably more people on the ship than usually live on the island. So very many mostly happy Australians decamping en masse (seasoned with a bevy of New Zealanders and a few inexplicably svelte Japanese). How does a cruise ship impact upon the local culture and the environment? Is it a better way to travel than flying? (At least we caught the train to Sydney. Not many cruise ships leave from Canberra, for some undeclared but possibly nautical reason.) When these thoughts threatened to break upon the tiny Isle of Cogency, you can probably guess how I dealt with the situation.
Have you ever had an Amaretto Sour?
July 16, 2012
Heads like a child’s drawing of bird heads,
huge beaks and feather manes, flopping,
last extant beat-poets, croaking of things
hep and cool. Man, you hit bedrock
on that arching drum, selecting the sticks
that give the deepest echo, sound playing
through tall wooden amplifier,
from dark roots to hazy blow of sky.
You contemplate the waving tops
of tropical trees, plumed angel-head,
stylish in your black daytime rhythm.
Inimitable pulsing punctuation,
beaky accent perched above
the forest’s bright green flow.
(The palm cockatoo is the only wild animal known to select, and possibly to store, sticks for use as musical instruments.)
I am fascinated by palm cockatoos, although I have never even seen one. They live in the far tropical north of Queensland. The tattoo comes from much closer Queanbeyan, just over the border in New South Wales.
So why would you get a tattoo of a bird you have never seen? A little reminder that there are more things in heaven and earth…an encouragement to discover new worlds and boldly go…a cheap and less seedy way of being a pirate?
I don’t know, but I think the tattoo artist did a good job. (Thank you Carbine.) I have posted a black and white photo as the colour one I have makes my skin look a rather alarming yellow: just below nuclear buttercup. I will try and obtain a better photo, as the detail is blurred in this one. But this is my cockatattoo forever looking for sticks. My skin is the drum. Watch your finger!