The political shoe and the imaginary
For Julia Gillard
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Psalm 94
The political shoe is thrown at a duck-head,
banged like a sole-mallet on the table,
or simply slips off a dragging foot,
a snake skin from an oh-so-tired snake,
who finds itself grown a little too big
and seeks a less insecure self,
like an idea that has been sequestered
just a short two centuries too long.
The imaginary shoe fits Cinderella
like a second vulva, never shattering,
fits Pussy-Cats like certainty,
and take long league strides
over peasants and amazed cattle,
or dances and dances, until the bad girl's
red legs are chopped off, stumped,
by the same woodcutter who freed the wolf.
Corners and angles
Sideways glancing, I always liked misplaced things.
The workers' entrances, the back-stair wag's tales.
The Trotskyists and the Jesuits, the leprechaun's
inexplicable one shoe, repaired for who knows
what weird tap-dancing sailor, waving albatrosses
like flirty boas of jazz. Some would-be statues
gaze nobly into middle distance, past percussive
pigeons spurting white scorn. Others see nothing at all,
exploring only knobbly inside of over-weighted head,
muttering toxic monologues like rancid spread.
Sometimes I recognise those sweeping crevices
with scuttling glance, finding the ear-less slipped ear-ring,
or a banana blackened into smelly comma, cicada skins,
toffee wrappers and well-worn fragments of quirk.
Our eyes meet momentarily, then slip away,
to corners and angles and chords of discard.
Travelling between our South of South
and Europe's sprinkled dust of nation,
we had the two seats next to an Albanian.
He never moved. We climbed over him, pesky,
tree kangaroos grappling with marble gum.
Easter Island Albanian didn't shift.
Was he stopped up with drugged punctuation?
Or is Albania the natural home of iron bladders
and granite bowels? I cannot say, but at
Charles de Gaulle we left him, unmoved still.
On reflection, I sometimes dearly wish
for a temper more self-contained and sweet,
and an Albanian's gruff, set-in-concrete, seat.
works out. See how he lifts
sentences into the air,
and plonks them down
with a metallic crash?
Strong wears a hoodie
even at the gym
(he is at the gym most days).
Those four letter words!
He grunts and tucks
Strong is hungry for love
but can't quite get the word out.
The l strokes his tongue
like a lozenge of sweet,
but the word he produces
is a tucked bit, and blunt.
Poor Strong! Half-cocked,
orphaned and alone.
P. S. Cottier's suite 'Selection Criteria for Death' was just published by Blemish Books as part of Triptych Poets Issue Three. She lives in Canberra.