4th May 2006 & 31st May 2006
There were things today That brought you to mind; Your email in which You mentioned your book about meetings In which we first met, My chapter will reach me Soon, you say. And in the garden Where I churned concrete For sweeps and circles of pavers To keep the flowerbeds neat, The sun blazed down Onto my bare shoulders And Akubra hat – the one I bought and wore in the Outback. Suddenly, I was standing On the broken red of the Gascoyne, The dirty crystals at my feet, And the egg-balls of dolerite That I dug up and planted in Wales To remember deserts by, As if they would grow And multiply. I remembered how The roos you spoke about Bloated in the sun until Their over-stretched skins Looked as if they might take off and float, Before maggots make tunnels and hollows To deflate and desiccate.
The life of a carcass is curious; Nursed by wind, succoured by rain And baked by sun, it contorts Through the various stages of decomposition And takes on a comical fecundity, Fed on by meat-maggots and beetles As a massive earth-mother. The shock of standing In the vast wilderness that suddenly engulfed Our one-acre garden, stung deeply, I longed to be back there, and safe, Where life is as simple As a rotting roo And the need for water.
My cement mixer and daylight Have dictated the halogen nights That I paint in. My life is now encapsulated In a book of forty-five poems For forty-five years, each one Being only a glimpse of the tools That chiselled me, not an autobiography With details, because each two-page poem Must tell a twelve-month story For the purpose of painting these memories – Abstract flesh to become An emotional landscape of my life Two hundred and twenty-five feet long In forty-five panels. I thought That when I’d finished I would feel The joy of finishing, instead, It was just another day. I searched the over-stuffed Index in my head For the next task, and here I am, Cementing pavers in.
8th May 2006
I’ve seen your chapter now, Where you have conjured me up Out of our first meeting in Perth. I experienced a strange sense of displacement In coming face to face with myself In the mirror of someone else. Everything was there, including the husband, And just a little bit off to the left Or the right, recognition of those moments Caught in your eye, in your memory, By your pen, writing about me and my poetry.