Sand Down the Western Highway

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The words I’ve been reading
Sand I’ve been treading
Pasted on my ankles and hands

And what I talk about
When I talk about now

Your long hair
Tied back in the days I’m gone

I hope the same song
the same lilting chords
Are stuck in your head too

As you watch trams, rain, money
I’m seeing you
and the wide open sea

My favourite backdrop

Exhale

A cat sits softly
with the fading light
 
The last pink embers of the day
fall into the sea
 
Australian winter sky is
distant bush fires and salt
 
No one notices
 
The cat licks her fur
matted from weeks of lying on old blankets
 
Evening shakes hands with night
I’m just a spider hanging from a web
 
When the hand comes to brush me away
the cat will not raise a paw
 
I will land on my back
 
The air will be chilled, stilled
 
silent

Cinnamon salt

I sat in pulsing silence

a drip of sweat over sunscreened cheek

of just-before-1pm

 

The temple was red

and “mom, it smells like old indian people”

came floating through the open door

 

Incense went stick upon stick

from an endless donation box to Confucius

and other gods

 

I didn’t know

but I did remove my shoes;

flat leather plates with thinning straps

 

Sitting, exhausted

on a tiled step of tourist history

 

I could tell, after ten minutes

another bunch of americans had gathered near

“oh look shhhh! she’s praying!”

 

Maybe I was

maybe the ignorant tourist was praying

in an ancient temple devoted to gods and figures of eternal wisdom and power

she didn’t know or understand

 

Still I breathed in the perfume dust,

knowing there’s always

the beach

 

From kneeling to swimming

it’s a 4km pilgrimage from here

so the sign says

 

I’ll go now

I’ll wash away the sweat and sins

by sea

You are the music

The music pours into the room.
 
This room is you.
 
It’s always been there
but I hadn’t noticed it until now
 
Before, I didn’t know the richness of the tapestries on the wall
and I never sat at the oak table in my pyjamas
reading the story inside its wood
 
In the cemetery
I held my breath all night
 
I felt the leaves, or was it you
run a hand down the line from my cheek to my chest
 
The deep black line curving through
and aching
 
As it echoes,
aching in thick pulsing waves
as it echoes
 
In the morning
it washed me ashore, into your arms
Back to the room in the house of my heart
 
that I never thought to open before.

Tied

It escaped from my grasp

with the wave, with the wave

I found it there no further a walk

because we walked, we walked

and I sought to dig it from deep

where it stuck, it got stuck

no longer could the lid from the jar

open in the time I couldn’t, the time

all it needed was a source of light

the dark sets in at noon, the dark

after hours it fell down harder

I let it fall, and it fell

tightly wound as a rope around my hands

I’m tied up now, tied up

loose ends taunt me as they never have

now I can’t escape, escape

so I sat down to breathe

waiting for peace, my peace to come