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Edward Snowden comes around to fix my sick PC


Twisted Hearts


Edward Snowden
comes around
to fix my sick PC.
in his shy and patient way
he explains the software program
has become corrupted
and its reinstalling must take place
at source—  
the registry itself
the computer’s still,
non-beating heart.

He sets about his task.
I notice his deft, ghostly fingers
an expression of obscure genius
no MRI could capture.

I’m not embarrassed that the computer’s five years old.
But I want to ask him—  
no, I’m straining to—  
whether he still believes the poor must answer for their own wretchedness?
And how a fair-minded person such as he could ever cling to such a comforting idea?

afterwards we will sip green tea
in the sitting room and I’ll
persuade him that
his next exposé
must reveal
our own torn and twisted hearts
straining to escape their ventricular structures
in the gaping face of
the world’s inanimate evil.

Another hymn to morning

calibrate the stiffness of the arm today
retrieve the hot water bottle from the nest of bed
Motion is a good name for a poet, as is Carver.
the bathroom has a sunlit alien glow.

you have to shower in twenty minutes and pay the rent.
on ya for cooking today’s rice yesterday.
twirl open the smooth slimline venetians
and there are fairy lights strewn over the neighbours’ tree
which you initially mistake for unripe plums.
depressed by the impossibility of matching socks
you explode from the flat in a plume of nitrogen angst

An absence of conviction

the woman we almost bump into on Sydney Road
is appetite-big and street-wintering.
she stands on the sidewalk with a look of utter astonishment
that is concentrated entirely in her eyes.

our approach seems to halt hers
as if she is mesmerised not by the world itself
but her own reaction to its roundness
time is moving more slowly for her
so we keep striding purposefully past in our corridor planet

later in the restaurant I see this same look
when she stares through the glass
at the meal of one of the patrons
she stares as if she has never seen food before
and does not know now how to shift her gaze
or believes that the shrill chatter and the garlic din
will summon her to a long-overdue lesson
on the purpose of existence

her gaze drops away
and we release our breath
but some revolving question about our reasons for coming here
has been deflected
as we raise our forks for another stab
she plods away with an absence of conviction, her terrible head seeming to lead the rest of her


Catherine Magree is a Melbourne freelance writer and editor whose poetry has been published in Verandah, Antithesis and the Canberra Times. She blogs, and tweets at @Cath_Magree.

Evil image by Shutterstock.

Topic tags: Catherine Magree, modern Australian poetry, Edward Snowden



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Existing comments

Beautiful. Vale Catherine.

Annie Carney | 03 March 2015  

Like 'corridor planet' in the final poem. Says so much about how we interact.

Bill Wootton | 06 March 2015  

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