He is not the killer he used to be

Crow on a wire


Pb– Shelley said    'the sunlight claps the earth    & the moonbeams kiss the sea    what are all
these kissings worth    if thou kiss not me'    she describes what she sees    a crow on a wire on a
cloud on the sky through the glass through the lace through the mirror by the bed    her foot is
dead    blown up black as a doomsday balloon & propped on a cushion or two    soon she will
heal & she will get up    go forth like a bible a trespass a tree    he is not the killer he used to be    
{drainpipes-tankards-bullets-fuel} but her every lover her filler of dreams her kisser of broken
& bruised    she watches him through the pills    o puffer of pillows!    o swimmer of air!    o
bringer of cups of tea!    she misses him when he leaves    whispers to foot that when she re-
covers she will love him for ever & ever    but now he is heading back down the stairs & she
stares at his absence & then at foot & murmurs look! a crow on a wire on a cloud on the sky
through the glass through the lace through the mirror by the bed    the sunlight claps her head                                

describe what you see    a room    a life    moonbeams kissing the face
of your barely-there wife    we are soft & grey in our natural state &
date from Roman times    we illuminate all the glass of Chartres & are
battered & beaten into shape as easily as a dog    how we hammer &
hammer against one another until the seam is hid by our dream & this
dream is unto perfection    arise-arise-arise-arise    you hold my hand &
yes I get up & walk    there is no greater thing    we spend our days in
double magic isotopes    mouthing the words "miracle" "miracle"    try
to describe what we see above the sad trees    a ban on marriage by the
European Union    a deadly divorce from all solder    a fear of a future
that kills us both sometimes    but still this room & still this life    how
we shine & shine & shine



Sb–s news says    'terror! terror!'    trans: 'Islam! Islam!'    & if you are in the café that day or
your car doesn't go or your cat is stuck up a tree    stay calm    just think terror! terror!    the
Muslims are here!    & you will be alright    paint your eyes with "stibium" {Latin} /
"guhlu" {Assyrian} / "kohl" {Arabic} & you will be fine    this is not the C17th    Frenchies
debating poison / cure    we are much more enlightened now    gone! all those killers of
times    gone! the apocryphal "anti-monk" moniker   {despite the fact the poor monks died}    
let us toast him with goblets of fine al-kohl    salute him with purgative purposes    let us
welcome him into our loveless & battery minds

I see you on the Hunan train    pass Xikuangshan Mine    travel the primeval "south
of the lake" terrain    I see you see the Yangtze & Xiang    stop for hot-pot in Mao's
hometown    I see you in your previous life    when one could be cured of having a
wife    I see Nebuchadnezzar & his wonderful walls sending him mad as a cow    I
see Johann Gutenberg's moveable type    & you planting words round the world like
rice    I see Mozart dying & Newton possessed by your weird hermaphroditic smile    
I see bullets! bullets!    your name on each one    I see superacid artefacts witches &
queens    I see you gentle in sleep next to me    I close my eyes    see you wave to me    
see you leave on that train   away-away-away    



B–efore there is war    after there is war    always war
think cleanliness next to godliness    laundry on
crosses for miles & miles    the Victor husbands    
the Borax wives    think peace    think ceasefire
stars in their shared air-space skies    over Israel
Syria    Crimea    Nigeria    children at home with
each of their limbs    churches & houses the cross-
roads between    no dirty no dead    think cosmic-
ray-spallation instead    think Silly Putty    think
happiness things    a cheap Pyrex rock in a cheap
chintzy ring    think you in my arms    pelicans
swirling deep circles above & we in sweet sleep    
think peace

Jordie Albiston

 Jordie Albiston’s awards include the 2010 NSW Premier’s Prize. Her last two collections are XIII Poems (2013) and The Weekly Poem: 52 exercises in closed & open forms (2014).   

Crow on wire image by Shutterstock.

Topic tags: Jordie Albiston, modern Australian poetry



submit a comment

Similar Articles

Real estate agents and the crime of locality theft

  • Brian Matthews
  • 21 August 2015

We set off towards the beach and the esplanade that meanders towards what the better class of resident likes to call the 'village'. 'I prefer "township" – it's more Australian,' I said. Roy scoffed at what he called 'this "village" nonsense.' Referring to electronic theft of credit card numbers, online personal details, he said: 'I reckon there's also a phenomenon you could call locality theft.'


The holy mystery of why the Sisters are not in charge of the Church

  • Brian Doyle
  • 19 August 2015

Not one of them ever raped a child or moved rapists from one parish to another. Not one of them ever played havoc with church funds. Not one of them ran off with a secretary. As far as I could tell each of them embraced hard work, and kindness, and humility and was every bit as committed and dedicated to the ancient mission of the Church as any priest or brother or abbot or bishop or cardinal or pope.



Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up