REPLACING FUSES IN THE HOUSE OF CARDS
MARK OF THE DAY - AUSTRALIAN RULES FOOTBALL
Watching him go up the sky, as if he
held some secret toe-holds in the crowd-rung
air. Long fingers, stretching into all the
grey and difficult distance - glistening,
robed with rings of rain and silver
light. He knows his own degrees. Less than a
go-between for gods, nevertheless - were
this the very Port of Mars, this warrior
rises, risking all our soft Saturday
fears of losing; more than a match. He flies
for all of us, clutching at the sun - way
out of reach. But catching any piece of sky
isn't enough, what counts is still the worth
of what he does with it, back here on earth.
An early morning rower dips his oars
in gold but the ripples spread
and slap in small black hollows
along the green fringed tidy bank.
The river is dammed -
the old worn profile of a lie
where children fish for their faces
in the green weir's silence
Tended parklands are a carved ornate
frame that fixes a pretty canvas:
in the gallery - a chamber of horrors
and city walls hang more than pictures.
Lovers in the strip shade of palms
in smooth curve and dips of clover
lie on flat files of unsolved crime -
buried bits of bone between their lips.
There is a tattoo on the parade ground.
the overblown exercise of toy soldiers
strutting into children's eyes
who afterwards ask to touch the guns.
The Union Jack waves Government House:
beneath the fallen leaves dead drunk
a young man drinks its blended colours
from a long brown paper bag.
The cold cramped floor of the Cathedral
crawls down postcard steps and slips
into the sunbaked street where a woman
scans newspaper 'Births and Deaths'.
Behind her rustic garden seat. Plane
trees are keeping something back - death
lurks beneath a blade of grass and
tonight's top TV news - about to happen.