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God of the cracks


purple mosaic














god of the cracks

god of the cracks, god of the bends
the segue god, joining
that which should not follow
ambiguous player
with slant rhymes
mona lisa with monobrow
smiling past watchers
as she spots the gay god
the god who goes down
sweet curser of figtrees
just to perplex theologists —
ah, but how they will shift meanings
letting fall earth for nuggets
and the dust is the thing
the dust and the shaking
the sun's daily spotto!
peeping through cloud brows
and cracking a simile


Concepts retired as caravans

Gratitude and
The Art of Pickles
bought a caravan
toured Australia.
Wisdom reads the maps —
then there's picalilli with cheese
on granny square rugs.
Thanks, says G. Thank you.
Time flows spicy and slow.

Whither Wisdom,
Gratitude and
The Art of Pickles?
They pause outside Wollongong
will trip down to Kiama
gently blowing out thought bubbles
pickled farts
and rugs of thanks.

All down the road
they play 'Spotto'.
Yellow bursts like a parable.
Yellow tangy as Branston pickle.
The infinite peace of yellow
wrapped in hugs of glee.


After hours in the op shop
(After 'The Pawnbroker's Shop' by Charles Dickens)

At last the door is closed, and down we all slither down
from our thin metal supports. Smelling of mothballs,
of sweat, of lavender, we hump towards the centre
of the shop, now cleared of customer and clerk.
Oh, we are become Medusa, but Medusa with tongues
instead of snakes, with a pillow-clump of ourselves
for head. I can taste a soupçon of peppermint
as I caress the mauve blouse that twines itself
around me. I sense the woman who wore it once
undoing sweets in church, feel her boredom assuaged
by that little marsupial jump of taste buds. Her attention
blooms back to the parson's numbing drone.

Mauve tastes me;
the weekend scales that decorated my plaid sleeves,
impart a certain memory of trout. I feel her feel
the rough arms of Jack, scratch my khaki arms
as he used his to clean his catch. She hums, and is it
that never-ending ballad about 'The Wild Colonial Boy'
mild Jack whistled crookedly through a weekend smile.
She has caught it, firm as a plump rainbow fish,
netted by my weft and weave; now passed on.
It mixes with her former's hymns; angels and fish entwined.
Like octopi we squirm, and taste the picnics of memories
spread like a smorgasbord amongst us. The sad violet
of a young child lost, the acrid orange anger of thug,
the occasional honey of the plainly good.

That last one wore jeans
so ugly and ordinary they might strut down a catwalk,
if fashion were to do mere patched practicality.
Denim and I meet, and recognise a tint of mutual past
as we taste each other's recipe. Perhaps we are snakes,
after all, shedding onto each other a skin of before;
a confetti of used to or a dandruff of was.
Hats are certainly not unknown, here, amongst us.
They scoop character, thickly, direct from the scalp.

After a night of experiment, we climb back onto our hangers.
The op shop opens at ten. Some will go out on new backs,
acquiring new chapters;
editing themselves to the library of skin.

P. S. CottierP. S. Cottier recently edited The Stars Like Sand: Australian Speculative Poetry with Tim Jones of New Zealand. The book is being launched in Melbourne and Canberra in June.

Cracked pavement image from Shutterstock

Topic tags: poetry, P. S. Cottier



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Existing comments

theologists? is this a new breed?

Jennifer Herrick | 27 May 2014  

Would I ever use an illegitimate word? The OED has it. I liked the noise next to 'perplex'.

Penelope (P.S.) | 27 May 2014  

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