Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A poem and two newspaper articles that birthed it.

A Tree

This is where the city finishes.
This is where fences sink in dust
around the civic cemetery on the fringes.
These are the trees that pray
for the frustrated souls underneath.
This is where tombstones grin
like old men's teeth.
This is where old men sleep uninterrupted,
Where I built my pillar of sins.

This is where the city finishes,
The city where I fathered my children,
Sipped drinks with silly women teaching
girls to giggle, listened to fights,
practiced my spitting and steered
the little wife
down our Sunday drive in the evening.
As the sun sinks
She's a denim clad minx.

This is where the city finishes
and insects own the kitchen.
The wife listens to Country and Western
as I rinse the dishes
and watch her jeans
torn at the ankle, hitched
on the ripped fly wire screen.
Her hair is lank, her wrinkles
Open into eyes or a smile.

When will I leave the city
with my two pairs of boots
and her jewelry?

When will she leave,
riding shotgun
with the man who lights her cigarette?

When we undress for bed
I wear my body like a threat.

This is where the city finishes
by the cemetery where we interred
my father when he felt
that fifty years was sufficient.

This is where the city finishes
Where I wait by my father's plot
when desire keeps me up all night
and the wife stays out late.

This is where the city finishes,
Where I can't sleep for jealousy
And I offer my children as Christmas angels
to the cemetery trees.

Sydney Morning Herald
The Monthly