A diaspora of purged peripatetics with holey socks

The Pathway Of St. James

After forty days of cheap wine and pilgrims’ dinners
of nights rent by generous farts in frugal dormitories
we ascend on blistered feet the stairs of stone
to the Romanesque repository of the saint’s bones
and pause at the great doorway of pardons

to place our palms on its marble portal
in the touching furrow worn by faith of centuries
before we enter the shrine
to indulge first moments of expiation
roaming the nave, apse and chapels of atonement
watching the stained lights of Christendom
concede to soft Galician darkness before repairing
to the bars of Santiago to commune
in broken tongues with penitents of many nations
until dawn compels us to trains and planes
to streak over mountains, deserts and oceans,
a diaspora of purged peripatetics with holey socks
returning to the places from whence they set forth
where other bones lie buried.

– B.N. Oakman

Little Congwong

Still leaving.

She was on the sand, marooned scratch bleach, in a sleep that rides
the boundaries of death. Naked.

Under sun
never more bare. Flagrant innocence
legs open, this driftwood beauty moans as her sister
sprays her with sunblock.

Harmonica ferns, flotsam joy, steel guitar breeze somehow overshot
this autumn cove. As I drown Houellebecq in the shallows,
real men discuss last night’s game. Found at sea.

A smug grey 747 dilutes Botany Bay. Travel
is the last benediction, our maid,
our trade. Each eye is caged under tinted lens.

Banksias crowd the verge. Down the northern corner
a small spring with a bucket underneath
provides a freezing sluice. Weeds, money and
Emma’s mobile phone wheedling beside the towel.

Misplaced future. It will kill us
the sun
our exhausts.
But we fly.

– Les Wicks



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