Occurences

Part 1

Spin your lucky coin

Spin it seven times if you think it makes a difference.

Spin it until it’s cork-screwed

into the table.

Spitting out woodchips,

superstitious shrapnel.

That’s what people do,

even me and you.

 

I’ve always found luck

to be a curious thing.

You never feel it coming

and you never feel it going

and you never see it

happen.

You just put it down to luck

but what if it doesn’t exist?

What if events and instances are just a matter of our choices

and we make all the wrong ones?

Well I suppose I believe in that more

because I know that I’ve done it

many times before.

 

Bad luck

is just a combination

of a lot of bad thoughts and a lot of wrong decisions,

and good luck

is the just the result of a positive mind

and a positive mind is the best thing

you can have

but it’s not so easy to find.

 

Part 2

The answer won’t change

if the question stays the same

and dust will quickly make hay

if the cloth is put away.

I pulled the phone off the hook

but then hoped you wouldn’t answer,

released the change,

pocketed it for a rainy day.

 

I remember

the time

I was on the other end of the line

to hear your hysterical account.

I whispered back

that it probably wouldn’t work out.

 

In my minds eye

I saw you wilt,

a spent force as the postman passed me by.

He was always smiling

like he believed

he never delivered bad news.

He asked what happened

and with nothing to say,

I shook my head as the ambulance left

and wished for the wind to blow him away.

 

The phone to my ear again

I knew you’d come

and I knew what I’d say.

What better way

to say thank you

than to tell someone

they owe you something.

 

Part 3

Scatter-gun crunch on the road,

crystals splattered all blood-red.

Asking what’s your name?

I stopped next to the dying man’s head.

 

 

 

Sombre

I see the sadness in people’s eyes

even when it’s not there yet.

I know how their story might end.

Chances are there’s a divorce or cancer in store for them,

and they won’t be able to fix it.

 

And I look around and realise

it doesn’t matter if you’re the kindest person

on earth or the worst.

Fate pays no heed to that.

 

And I don’t read the papers much

but I see the headlines on the net

and all I see are ages close to mine

and they’re never gonna rise

and it gets me down sometimes.

 

And all the animals that walk across the land

get snuffed out quicker than you can say ‘deserve’

and they never get a chance to say goodbye to anyone or anything.

We don’t know what they leave behind

when they disappear.

We don’t know their minds, we don’t know their families.

 

And this is all the inside of me.

The outside is the opposite and I give it to you

because I don’t want you to

feel what I feel.

It’s crushing, it’s very heavy.

So I want you to smile and enjoy life.

Don’t worry about too much

because there is nothing we can do to make this world right.

Plot Points

‘This fucking heatwave.’

Sweat itches David’s beard,

wished he’d had a shave.

Black spider kicks up dust,

dropping from his leathered arm

to crack earth’s fragile crust.

But in God we trust.

*

Only the hardy remain

but changed just the same,

withered and bowed

like  poorly assembled skeletons.

Their roots searching deeper

and deeper all the time

against a villain-less crime.

*

The heifer lays breathing distress,

overcome by weakness.

Side by side they stand looking down

thinking ‘there’s one less’.

David moves forward,

lucerne in his hand but his father stops him.

No argument, it was only ever a whim.

*

Mother lying in hospital

breathing from one-half lung.

Smoke still blown into his face

by his best mates.

Her colour runs away

like dye in the laundry.

A shame, she’s not long left her forties.

*

Family photos grown dusty

on a hospital bedside table.

(Condition in decline but stable).

A fraction of her life

held in recollections.

The rest, the parts she keeps to herself,

forever restricted sections.

*

Daughter bouncing up and down

on the bed,

endlessly forgetting the last thing she said.

All her books have a happy end

where rules of reality bend, and break.

Sees the cattle’s ribs, tells her daddy

sees the dogs ribs, tells her daddy they’re hungry.

*

Consoles himself,

knows they’re all in it together

holding on as tight as each other.

Natural disaster, a great leveller.

Sees a wombat dead on the road,

wheel marks over its spine.

‘Why can’t people take their time?’

*

A baby and a dog alone in a car

while the mercury surges

and a man shops,

his thoughts absent of how they are.

Glass crystal scatters

from a rock, solid blow.

Prisoners freed, muscles drained, moving slow.

*

White shirt,

blue tie,

black pants.

A slight paunch

only the arrogant possess.

‘What the fuck are you doing with my child?’

As rainclouds join the sky, come to bless.

*

David closes his eyes but he may as well be looking directly at the sun. His vision swims with red as rage fires out into every nerve ending. A ringing starts up in his ears, blocking all other noise out. He opens his eyes and hits the man in the jaw, knocking him down. As the man tries to rise David grabs his shirt and punches him again, breaking his nose in a burst of blood. The man is helpless and David hits him again. He could kill him. He wants to. He wants to keep hitting and hammering away until the man’s body is mush, until his soul is gone. The man’s very existence is tearing at the fabric which keeps David believing everything is going to be okay. He is dragged off before he can do too much damage. Although three fury-filled hits have been enough to leave the man in a mess. Nose squashed, lips split, darkening eyes, a broken jaw to round it out. Whether it was because of the commotion or he was still feeling ill, the baby boy is crying again and David can’t help thinking, looking at screwed-up anguished eyes, he’s made a terrible mistake.

Routine

 

Splinters sat stream-lined

under the skin of my hands

from all the work

I helped my father do.

Afterwards we’d sit

sipping lemonade and beer

in our seats on the porch,

soaking swelling in jars of vinegar

as the Sunday afternoon said goodbye.

 

At night the rice boiled over,

cooked dry while the steak

stayed seared on one side.

He’d have my mother

up against the kitchen counter,

his eyes volcanic

with simmering rage and shame.

 

In my room on the calculator

sweat sailed from my brow

as I struggled to stay in touch

with the other students at school.

The sound of a slap

outside my door from somewhere

else in the house

was enough to make my jaw lock shut.

 

The corner of her lip cracked red,

my knuckles white gripping my cutlery,

his glazed eyes.

Around the kitchen table

where my brother used to sit.

And none of us was able

to quite understand where he went.

So there was nothing else to do

but wait until the next day

when the sun was there again

and my dogs wagging tail would tell me

if anything, he at least was okay.