March 02, 2007

Borrowed Landscape

Paddy Maguire’s Pub, near Chinatown, Sydney


The trees, that do not belong to me, on the hill,

that does not belong to me. This is my premise.


The people in a house that grew like a mushroom.

But with shattering noise! Oh yes! Look across


at us as if we have always existed - just like this.

But indeed we have not. And will not. No.


When I call on my airy familiars, they come to me, more

insubstantial than they used to be, but still. They come.


With – lightsome tread. Through landscape. Sometimes

in the guise of an animal or bird. Sometimes … sometimes …


… exactly what is about this city that I cannot

quite – quite – quite – dislike?


They are looking at me! The people! As they pass!

I can’t grasp, even with exhaustive intuition, Asian


postures, ways of being. I can read the Australians,

some with an Asian cast of feature. Some not.


A grandmother – I can tell that much – a grandmother

trots past flat-footed, the baby jogging on her back


stealing the look of me. All saved to file, on her hard drive.

The woman in the beer garden in the black hat … scribbling …


… scribbling. As she steals me, so I steal her.

The man (with his bitter mouth) has gone. Up!


And left! Taken his chance, picked his time.

So I would not notice him going. Although


I notice him gone. He is gone out as far as I

can imagine to the place where he lives his life.


The place that intersects with this. I am bold today.

I am imagining lives. Lives! Three whiskeys down!


Writing a poem – as if it is allowed! – thrumming with

the courage to impose – and claim – what is always mine!


—Jennifer Compton


from Parker & Quink, (Ginninderra Press, 2004)



Posted by dwaber at March 2, 2007 01:26 PM