high hills poems

Wordly goods

on this last day
of February
outside Cupid's Cup Cakes
on the main street
of this utterly strange
hilly town,
dawdling down
to Iso Bar
to take account
of the planet's fields -
wild beast grazing,
a scene cut intermittently
with alluring products
carried up street poles
by narrow vertical lines
cabling connection
to anywhere else

hoping for a place
deep in the shade,
verandahs all around,
somewhere to contemplate
what brought us here
to such manicured beauty -
formal garden hedges,
well-tended kerbs

no gangs  no blades
up here in the hills,
just x-box and the dole

they say
the kids are drunk
or on ice
at their clubs
or anorexic wherever
in rehab.
hopeful beginnings,
promised more
than pleasure,
they're not grown up,
not a..d..u..l..t
just caught in a reverie,
not ready
for voting driving loving
working cooking
learning new languages
new skills, talents,
what legacy ?


without income
for the first time
in a long long time
sounds like a song
coming on
(undercurrent worry
on the last day of February,
the end of four months
on the road,
anyway, without
a fixed address

and the sun shines down
around, all around,
waiting for the book exchange
to open
to hire a computer
to check the mail, and the spam
and the petitions,
to let the government know
we don't like it ! at all !
etcetera no we don't !
illegal detainees, climate change,
education policy, refugees,
equal rights for gays,
indigenous land rights,
justice, etcetera.
my ergonomic-chair activism,
the mere thought
of these emails
only exasperates

perhaps I'll delete them


all my things
boxed and stored interstate,
I miss some of the stuff,
need it, even,
most of it
I've forgotten
as a sanyasin
on air

My poem Worldly goods is set in Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, Ken Bolton, co-ordinator of the Lee Marvin Readings in Adelaide, wrote a poem in response, but he hasn't been to the Blue Mountains for many moons and has mistaken the place for Blackheath, a town that could benefit, variously, from having an Iso Bar :

Mademoiselle Apollinaire in Blackheath

      for Pam Brown

In the end you are tired of living between always between

& wend your way to the Iso Bar here rather than in
Adelaide tho there is an Iso Bar in Adelaide too

You have lived in Adelaide

You have had enough of leaving Sydney
for Melbourne never to arrive

Blackheath’s Iso Bar must do
connecting you electronically to the world

making modern the cow in the nearby field
the hill the old car coming down the road

& in it a modern farmer Denis Gallagher say

more a poet really than a farmer
a gardener

something modern like a well-tended kerb
or the distemper of youth

a lawnmower a ladder crack cocaine TV

& the sun shines down
waiting for the book-exchange, a computer

& politics
—to be avoided some days

others to be embraced—

In our ergonomic chairs
You remove us from abstractions the expansion of the

producing heat
involving the body

Like something intense & blue in Chagall
the memory of an object—a shirt a book an

ashtray with paperclips & your pencils in
a bottle, bound with an elastic band

You will have them soon
A sanyasin travelling on the air at night

lands at home
the moths batting about you as you write

Life tossed off like a glass of spirits
For who can stand outside time

     Ken Bolton, Adelaide, a couple of years ago.