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Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Albinoni: Adagio in G Minor

Sometimes, life is unbearably sweet,

when the shadows of a Moorish lamp are spilt upwards

and blotted into bedroom walls;

when morpho butterflies nestle bluely on a canvas,

and brandy burns like petrol in your gut.


Sometimes, the death-keening of a violin

makes me sick to the stomach

with melancholy.

Once, when I was just a child in patent leather shoes,

a madwoman raving in a red train carriage


made me feel the same, and almost holy.

Even now, I’m confused by my own secret Maria Goretti;

by my own secret murderer lurking nearby.

I suppose it shouldn’t have fascinated me:

the story of the fourteen-year-old peasant girl…


(or was it fourteen stab wounds?)

and the father’s long cart ride over a rutted road,

with Maria jolting like a sack of spilt meal

on boards strewn with straw.

I had hoped to be a much-desired saint.


I had hoped that Our Lady might appear to me,

like Serena Couchi, who fell into the flames of a bonfire

when she was only small, wearing a Blessed Scapula

around her neck.

But she was just a potato-farmer’s daughter, and Maltese,


with dirty cracks around her fingernails,

whose sister sold pink lemonade in wax cups at Woolworths.

I always liked the story of how Jesus would not be tempted

by the devil, and shouted: Get behind me,



I always liked Jesus when he shouted.

Once, I did get behind you,

though it was no less sinful than in front.

My hair hung between your buttocks

and down your left thigh.


I felt like the Magdalene,

and my hair seemed to fill the room.

My combustion seemed to fill the afternoon,

and you can’t deny,

it was a miracle, of sorts.


Albinoni adagio in g minor

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