The flabby bouncer outside Adriano’s
…plucks a speck of street from his lapel,
……realigns his feet. He is thinking
About the wirehaired girl, she looked fifteen
…though her ID seemed kosher. These days
……they get them forged, easy with Photoshop
And laser printers. He is remembering how
…as a strapping punk he once king-hit a constable
……during the Globalization demos
Or was it Occupy? Nobody saw him do it,
…but later he learnt the copper had laughed it off,
……which relieved and angered him.
He is wondering what his mum will say
…when he creeps in after four again, or maybe
……he’ll sleep over at Lorraine’s, she’s
Always good for an ’im prompt you, she calls them;
…mum’s really out of it nowadays,
……sometimes she doesn’t know what day it is –
But he’s deciding no, he’d better turn up at home
…just in case she’s on the bedroom carpet,
……forgotten where she left her walking frame
And went for six. She never seems
…to injure herself when she falls, although
……he knows it’s bound to happen eventually.
There’s that steelwool girl again, leaving already;
…she’s young alright, but cute,
……where could she be off to now?
He fancies how he could follow her, for a lark,
…if he wasn’t stuck standing out here
……in front of this shitty pub,
That’s all it is, despite its fancy title,
…this dead end of a drinking hole, the haunt
……of try-hard aging poets and snooty chicks.
He hears his knuckles crack, catches himself
…recalling a piece of advice his father shared
……in one of his angrier moods.
Just before he sauntered into the poetry reading
…………..he spotted the girl sitting in the gutter, her head down
as if in the midst of a distraught meditation or
…………..maybe about to vomit. Reluctant to approach her lest
he intrude, or she throw up at the very instant of his
…………..soft solicitous gambit, he stood off a while,
watching her like a jumpy guardian or dubious minder
…………..hoping her intentions, indeed her proper demeanour,
might swiftly clarify; but she simply sat there, not
…………..in the slightest mindful of the middlebrow semi-dandy
calibrating her every twitch, each microscopic shift
…………..and variance in her posture. As he was starting to feel
less fond of this fortuitous project he’d enlisted in,
…………..she suddenly jerked her head sideways and up and
directly into the sunlight behind him, so that her eyes
…………..must have construed a silhouetted figure, clearly male,
backlit in the late-afternoon dazzle of a sun’s
…………..Parthian emblazement before slippage under the slums
to the west of town. If not startled, she registered
…………..still something of surprise, but her kerbside station
refused to update itself. When an auto sizzled past,
…………..its whitewalls too close not to spray muddy droplets
over the basket he only now noticed flanking her,
…………..she arose at last, and he made out the young poet he had
encountered last Thursday in the Rotunda, that
…………..skinny one he’d led up to his shop and slept with.
Midnight dream. The bed swims below a roof awash
with the rid remains of hags and queasy clocks.
On the stead a pair of hungover jocks. The guests gather
all over again. The wedding canopy’s lid
is quilted with cartoons in black pen, pastels, and prints
of exotic family trees. Invitees lavishly grin, some of them weep.
A leering urchin passes, waltzing with a broom. Curtains
part, discreet. Soon the speeches will start, the blackening sky
and canopy refill, umbrellas are crisply arranged.
The marriage of pride and gloom. All manner of vows shall be
exchanged, while the uninvited clutter about in a forbidden room.
No tickets please. On the lawn, a slightly familiar singing
among contorted trees, a plinkle of glasses and a tlunk of plates.
Eyes crawl everywhere, looking for links. Sex and seduction
colonize the air, it’s a cocktail turn: he’s itching for some
fingerfood, she scans for drinks. Wait, is that the celebrant
pushing the gates, wearing her tinny sprinkle of professional joy?
Her golden tresses, the way she flings them, gorgeously. Oh boy!
(Among the rhododendrons, behind the drive, a churl wrestles
with a virgin’s brief, watches her arrive. Maybe now
the reception can begin.) But the celebrant isn’t: she’s merely
another guest; rumours fly. The sated couple from the bushes
remingle at the rotunda, offer each other the rosy eye.
On the balcony a tipsy-curvy secretary strips. The midnight dreamer,
disabused, notes how it really is clothes that naketh the woman.
She vanishes behind a vase. Everybody sips.
ABOUT THE POET
ALEX SKOVRON is the author of six collections of poetry and a prose novella; his most recent book is Towards the Equator: New & Selected Poems (Puncher & Wattmann, 2014). Many journals and anthologies in Australia and overseas have published his work, and his novella The Poet (Hybrid, 2005) was recently translated into Czech. The numerous public readings Alex has given have included appearances in China, Serbia, India, Ireland, and on Norfolk Island. The Attic, a selection of his poetry translated into French, was published by PEN Melbourne in 2013. A collection of short stories is also in preparation.