AFTER ‘A WINTER EVENING IN YALTA’
And – I am clothed in Brodsky’s skin.
It is not alien. It fits
Like a noble hand-me-down
With its old wearer still breathing
Through voluble mendings.
The exile in me sees
A dissected day-break star
The dream-ship of Anna:
The bloody Polish October.
New York City, Prague, the Great Divides –,
There are many
Cat-walks in your veins.
You house those catalytics, yet
They say very little these days.
Tell me... is it that
Insomniac moonlightings launch
Only left-over salutations?
“The Gods know if we’ll
See each other again...”
Friend Brodsky, I kiss the cataract
Of your eye.
I hail the torn sky and
Do my best to keep
Our penetrative night-watch burning.
Clothed in your skin I too become
Over-worn, twice as vulnerable.
(First published in The Foundation For
Australian Literary Studies. N/A)
Time-slot? A sometime August. The book,
Rather – the pamphlet – holds
The ingredients of
Another Queenslander gone lame.
The Red Queen plaits her grief:
Drops the assessments
Into a Brown River. The folds
Of King George Square.
The University’s hole-proof apron.
Much later we wheeled in ‘the cold’.
Again, a one-bar heater.
The place setting un-auspiciously quaint.
Poets and shanty towns
Complement the over-occupied.
Cake – without frost. Coffee – non-sweet
At the double.
Didn’t I say – “The ear believes
What the heart forsakes?”
Selected climatic graffito bursts from
That pre-loved folder.
I add a pinch
Of salt. Contemplate. “I refuse
To let them die.”
Meaning, the versifiers
Through the wintering
Jaws on nonchalance.
You... envied... me! (Tete-a-tete).
Choose a fate; any one.
Sweetgrass and sage blends
These I import far below cost.
Ah! The one-bar hiccups!
- Near obsolete. Hand-to-mouth
Living is snug. Is contagious.
Outside, just for the record, we posed.
The wind-swept mountain roared
Of guttural terrain
As Cedar and Pine danced,
Quipped and cloud covered. Recall,
I sent the black and white
Copy? And... postcard...
Answers come and go. I read of The Red
Acquisitions; am privy
To what’s called ‘border notes’.
My smudging bowl
Abundantly supplies opaque signs
Of the endangered ones.
Yesterday – I swear I saw
Old Mallku (Inca, for
Condor) ... hovering...
Forget me. Place me upon your un-wanted list.
Tell your friends. Tell your family:
This stranger was no more than fiction.
Forget me. My words set your head aching.
Your body, a testimony of too much ruin.
Your young heart, fit only for breaking.
Go now! Speak with authority and confidence
On how to escape from the twin selves.
Take love’s grey ashes and bury them deep.
Laugh again, even if the laughter be shallow.
Buy back your spirit. It will be cold – but
No matter. Put on a warm front.
This is what you wanted! Your ghost has slipped
Within the key-boards of memory. There’s
Just an odd chord you’ll hear occasionally.
Forget me. Forget yourself. The shutters go on
Creaking. The new moon is ablaze. The night
Lawn is silver... Inside the room the lamp
Stefanie Bennett has published several books of poetry. Over 40 years she has acted as a publishing editor and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry
Shawnee], she was born in Townsville,
Queensland, Australia in 1945.