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Friday, 23 December 2016

Proof that a Woman is a Bird

 
Acrylics on canvas, P van Rijswijk
 
 
 
Evening, my bedroom a boatshed above the bush;
a wasteland of wattles and eucalypts, the grey gums
named by their smells, by their dead-man shreddy skins.
 
My bedroom, an aerial hiding-place.
Waves of belated aloneness drag up onto the sand,
the rotted footings of my listing room awash
in the clean green amnion of the waves;
the purple sands imploded from underneath;
the shore flushed, oedematous with the incoming tide.
 
The wind, onshore, buffets the silvered planks
of this solitary shed. Alone, unequivocal, on clean linen,
I discover the surety, the security, of my boatshed.
What valkyrie shrieks those wild and wanton cries? In the air! 
 
It’s in the air! It’s even in the air- that crystal gleam; the harsh
and unforgiving light; the green of the horizon cold and sour;
the bitter tang; a pallid evening star, downcast.
 
(Today I passed a woman by the yacht club point
who knelt before a man;  I couldn’t help but stare
as I drew closer and saw her splaying
and carefully dismembering a gull.  He looked on,
horrified. And I drove by.)
 
In the rough palings, the timbers of this shed, a curdled  stain
with eyes where once the branches forked.
They, alone, watch at night- those wooden Rorschach eyes.
 
And the slump-backed tides return, and the chundering tides
retreat, sometimes leaving a stinking flathead flapping drearily.
Other times, dropping a sandpapered Venus
at spurred and calloused feet.
 
 
 

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