Glass auto doors closed behind me
Framing Sydney’s suburbs
With my adolescence hanging
Like a picture swinging
On Sunday afternoon long ago.
Red carpet damp with beer
Holds heavy still air with a stench
That promises little.
He looked from the racing horses,
Strangers followed his focus.
He knew me he thought, he said it
With his face, then a flash
Of recognition, and hand
He didn’t look like I remembered, but
Like his Dad. Then as though he had been waiting
He welcomed me to sit at his table,
Which was sticky and coated in laminate
Round and brown. Immediately he unpacked
Our past, details laid out on this table
Organised to make sense. Memories kept like
They were current, still angry with some, still
Happy with others. It was as though time
Had stood still just like the suburbs outside
And at last I arrived to start it again.
Decades to shift. He seemed glad to see me.
He talked and I thought about how he was
Important to me back then. Older, wiser.
I had looked up to him. Not ever knowing
That was his peak, back then I expected more.
That was however, all until heaven for him.
While I listened I saw my question hang
“Were you waiting for something?” But I could see
He’s not waiting now, my question remained
In my head. I focused on the detail
Of our past that he had carefully carried
For so long and gratefully gave back to me
At his table. No more waiting.
His voice was buoyed by murmuring
Sports experts and gambling bells.
His body nurtured by pungent
Loving fingers rising
Fom beered carpet here in Heaven,
A round, brown and sticky
Table where he sat unpacking
Still listening I see the auto doors framing
Suburbs and my adolescence behind him.
Through clouds I’m floating down, and the ground comes
Up to me like memories in a strange hotel room.
And I wonder “What am I doing here?”
And I just keep floating, and the memories ascend
Floating around me. Brushing my skin
Like seaweed in a lake. And I float looking up.
Ripples of the present make me bob, lick my lips
And move my arms. And the memories brush.
And I wonder “Just what am I doing here?”
The road trundled contented incessant
Dad sat, hands all the while on the wheel
Far across the great bench seat
He was wearing a mask
Just like Batman
When the headlights behind
Would hit the rear view
Rectangular light made a mask
For his eyes like Batman
I don’t think he knew about the mask
As he drove through the night
Like Batman on the far side
Of the great bench seat
The road murmured obedient
Cars oncoming wiped shadows and light
Hands all the while on the wheel
On the far side
Of the great bench seat
With a mask on his eyes
When finally to the platform of decision you come,
Set down the baggages you’ve earned.
From this lofty pass these things
Won’t be needed. These things
Mean too much, so at this great intersection
Surrender them, they will be unpacked again.
Leave with grace this track you’ve made.
Step away toward another.
Wind whispers distance in trees familiar,
Finger branches beckon and point the way.
Be brave in your sudden meander, remember
Roads not travelled will always be,
The track you made goes on without you.
Tread lightly without baggage forever forward
Content and purposeful
Clouds touching mountains
An icy desert dawn, knowing
the heat will come with the day
Polar ice, dangerous and blue
Steaming asparagus, on white
The speed of light
Strength and knowledge
When love feels the same as falling.
She makes me a beach with her caress,
With water white that shapes me.
Her ripples bubble in soft address,
On tide that ebbs and builds until
Submission, below thund’ring crash
Without her I am only dune.
I give her depth, and place to surface
And show that underneath
Swell cold once deep, once lost, has now
My bay, somewhere to be.
Broken and open, her surface warmed
She’s an ocean that came to me.