Rushing fire

David G O'Sullivan

Pack it away with the toys and the books,

those days of dreaming.

The dark stain on the rug pushed under an old chair

that spews dust with every pat.

A scream from under the fridge,

milk running down the door and drying in a neat puddle.

A text from a friend saying ‘don’t worry about me’

Delete

an email for a sale on now.

Light a candle and fall asleep,

wait for another hand to snuff the flame,

a lover’s hand,

the candle burns to a nub and smoke drifts gently to the ceiling

a black mark.

Remember the handshake where he held your hand too tightly, for too long

And remember the dream where standing in your backyard,

your saw a mushroom cloud rising in the south

and you pray that it is far enough away that you are not killed

by the rushing fire.

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Visions of clay and dust

David G O'Sullivan

At 5:03am I have visions of 5:04,

The alarm clock shines out green in the night

And someone has broken the glass behind which the electronic numbers shine

The cracks like spiderwebs, glisten

As I wait for the numbers to change.

On the St. Kilda pier yesterday

I picked up a starfish that had been left to die on a bench by a fisherman

I peeled him off the cold wood and held his sticky body

And wondered if he were alive,

Then I dropped him over the side into the black water

And he sunk slowly

Like a dream disappearing into the clouds. 

I read in the newspaper of some fool

Who broke his leg in New York 

And boasted he could drink like Ernest Hemingway

And that he sat in a bar New York the night his leg snapped

Slumped over a drink opposite David Lowy

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Apartment building on 347 Favoux Street

David G O'Sullivan

The clerk working in the bank

Itching his legs under the desk and getting up to go the bathroom

For the third time this hour.

He walks home after work.

It has been raining and water pools on the footpath

And drips from the shop awnings.

 

At home, he stands in his kitchen and heats up

A packet of noodles.

Outside it begins to rain again and his little window mists over.

The water boils in the saucepan slowly,

Like a bath.

 

He has talked his neighbour into going out with him.

She is a small woman, with a friendly smile.

He meets her at her front door,

She is wearing a blue dress with blue buttons

He is wearing a brown polo shirt.

He takes her to the movies.

Afterwards, they walk along the pier

And eat spiralised potatoes.

 

She tells him about her last boyfriend,

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Movie Stars

David G O'Sullivan

She was beautiful and innocent,

She would wear plain, shapeless dresses, but on her

They looked like summer rain on the canna lilies.

She turned 18 in 1997.

Back then,

On a rainy day, when I was even younger than her,

We went to a bookstore.

Timber trestle tables were set up, and cheap books were spreadacross them

All in a jumbled pile.

She picked up a book on actors of the 20th century

And took it to the old man at the cash register and bought it.

At nights, she would read the book to me

Telling me the life stories of these actors and the movies they were in.

These people were so far removed from our lives

But they seemed so glamorous.

She would tell me one day she’d go to Hollywood and see where these people live,

See their mansions.

Sometimes…

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City sleep

David G O'Sullivan

Once, when I lived in that city,

I had gone up a street I’d never been up before.

There was a stone building that looked like an old stable.

A beautiful building; a date on the front said ‘1857’.

I looked inside the open door; there were piles of cloth, paper, and metal on the floor.

All scraps pulled from the rubbish and then sorted into piles.

The ceiling had partially fallen in, and dusty light streamed in

Revealing a mirror that hung on the water-stained walls.

On a pile of cloth, lay an old man

Dead.

His old-fashioned tweed cap firmly on his head,

But something had been eating him, and his shirt had been torn away

A yellow grease had come out of him and stained the cloth he lay on.

Later that night, I sat outside and watched the lights of the city.

One of the hottest…

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Bleak ripples

David G O'Sullivan

Broken on the hard timber floor,

Like the moonlight,

The glass takes a different look when it’s broken.

It becomes cold and dangerous.

The wind through a broken window is so much colder.

He had been dead three months

When I dreamed he was sending me emails.

In them he asked, pleaded

That I send him food.

If the dead returned from the grave

They would head home,

And you would find them sitting in their chairs,

With the television on,

Tears pooling and dropping from their empty eyes.

The dead long for one more day.

So it was over just like that

And the lies that came were black, hollow lies,

Lies that keep you awake at night.

The disappointment feels like cold rocks

Under your bare feet

On a midnight walk.

I had not looked at the moon for a long time,

So tonight I spent a…

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Kitchen

David G O'Sullivan

The small kitchen only had room for a fridge and a bench,

But it had a window that overlooked the city.

I remember visiting her for the first time, finding her

cutting vegetables next to the stove. She grinned when she saw me and

opened the fridge door,

it banged against the cupboard.

The radio was on, a song she remembered from high school played,

She sang along.

The next time I came to see her she had a guitar in the kitchen

She played it and sang a sad tune.

We watched the lights come up in the city and the old clock chime eleven.

All the other windows in the place faced onto brick walls.

She would have friends over and they would all sing

Their voices melting into one another until it got late

And they started to sound like tomcats, howling at the moon.

The place…

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