Swept into the milky past
Pat Walsh |
16 May 2016
A perfect lunch break
Book in hand burning
I take chicken soup
The colour of an outback dam
Drained to its dregs
And a bowl of clean white rice
Flecked with insect wings of onion
Browned on a gushing stove
And with my right hand
Feed my body and the left
My hungry mind.
My yard broom
It was made to sweep away
But the sound of my old yard broom
Worn bristles rasping the brick path
Wet with last night's rain
Picks at a faint memory
That grows louder with each stroke
And carries me back across borders
Of seasons lives and landscapes
To a time of rubbing gumboots
Sucking through the quickmud
Hands hugging mugs of steaming tea
The uphill heartbeat of the engine
The baby bleating of hungry calves
Voices cussing and coughing
And the scrape of yard brooms
Pushing back the tide of muck
As the lifeblood of white milk
Creamed in its silver chalice.
Doing my sums
Doing high finance twenty one floors up
I see a figure no bigger than a number eight
Walk to the edge of the roof below
And stand for a long time looking down
On the railway tracks to the underground.
Graph lines on our advisor's chart
Start high then descend wilting in a curve
To drop out of sight off the bottom line
Into that no-man's land of endless zeros
Where numbers and planning are only placebos.
For a moment I am led to look over the rim
To the lines below ruled bold in black
That run express to the edge of the page
Then, afraid, to rejoin the now conversation
As the man on the roof goes inside the station.
Pat Walsh's new book Stormy With a Chance of Fried Rice: Twelve Months in Jakarta is available from amazon.com.
Comments should be short, respectful and on topic. Email is requested for identification purposes only.
18 May 2016
Wonderful poems to "feed my hungry mind". Recommend "Stormy" for those who want to get a glimpse into Jakarta daily life: lighthearted and playful in tone, yet always permeated by the author's deep knowledge of and love for Indonesia and its people. A good read.
23 May 2016
'Doing My Sums' is a clever, evocative piece of poetry, reminding me of avoiding a Maths lesson at high school; gazing out of the window, I was soothed by my own modest efforts of writing poetry!
Ellena Savage | 16 May 2016
When my alarm goes off in the morning I reach for my phone: check mail, check ABC, check Twitter. Get up, make filter coffee, pour one. Open my diary and spreadsheet, start working. Pour my second coffee. Eat something, clock calories in. Go for a walk, pick up whatever groceries, clock calories out. Back to work. If whatever I am working on isn't very interesting, this accounting for a day, after day, after day, is fairly sad. But it's also just living a life in 2016.
Ian C. Smith | 10 May 2016
An honest tackle trucks two junior footballers tangled across the boundary line of the arena before the barrier between hoi polloi and gladiators, the tackler fouled again, the ball out of play, an elbow stab to the ribs, a knee seeking a crotch in this small town that yearns to be a contender, the fair team fitter, faster, braver, ahead.
Dan Graham | 20 May 2016
I attempted to continue with the class but it was impossible for the children to ignore the wasp. I elected to evacuate. We had our lesson on the playground. One of the kids went home and told their mother about the wasp and that instead of class, we'd had an extra long lunch. The mother failed to appreciate the dilemma I'd faced, called my boss and asked her how I could be trusted with 20 children when I couldn't even handle a single wasp. Next week, same class, the wasp returned.
Yuan Changming | 03 May 2016
No belief without a lie. No business without sin. No character without an act. No coffee without a fee. No courage without rage. No culture without a cult. No entrance without a trance. No epicenter without an epic. No Europe without a rope. No freedom without a reed. No friendship without an end. No fundamentalism without mental fun.
Peter Gebhardt | 27 April 2016
The children are in the park today, running, skipping and laughing. They slide down the cannon, polishing the past with freshly-pressed pants, a mother's delight. 'Always tell the truth,' the mother says, 'If you lie, you'll burn.' ... The day is closing, patient and gentle in its suffering, but the great lies will not lie down. Lies breed lies like flies on dead sheep and the masquerade of maggots makes its creep.