Monday, September 1, 2008

John Tranter


The boat sprawls on the vast waste of heat.
He drops into the water, slow and heavy.
It is easy, he thinks, as though falling
from a sky brimming with rain, high above
a dark landscape. The wreck
crusts across the yellow floor
under the hollow gong of the sea.
A fish drifts up to a window, pauses,
decides to turn back into the room full of boredom.

His head is locked in a glass cage.
He can hear the lonely chatter of crockery
through the pipe. A smile breaks into his face,
he is floating like a burning angel
across the cold, glowing valley of sand.

-first published in Poetry Australia


she wakes into the peach-glow bedroom
like a jet / the orange lips
writhing on the taste of bitter light
the flood-green eyes / exploding hair
(the avalanche of morning from the curtains
sluices white across the sheets)

and, gathering the strength of brightness like a shroud
the burning body rises, limbs depart,
the golden flesh / savaged in the dark / assaults the air!

-first published in Poetry Magazine

On Reading an Electrical Meter

At the House of the Rising Sun
In the twenty-fifth year of my age
I find myself a Ford at Bomaderry
the tank dry, starved between
one collision and the next garage.
Adelaide flames and howls under the horizon
lighting up a petty testament of waste.
Apart from the moment of accidental vision
the dull grey trees stand about
inclined to olive, drab, cold, gathering in trembling clumps
under the lowering field of cloud.

You are not alone in this Southern desert;
love, like a wounded elephant, terrible and pathetic
storms the deadly streets to hunt us down.

-first published in Transit Magazine

Small Animal Poem

Okay, there’s room for one
more small animal in my life,
behind the bad future, as long as he
doesn’t complain. His fate will be secret;
I am not to blame.

If you imagine you are not so
lucky today, rehearses the other,
the guilty animal, look at tomorrow —
the good days are gone, in future everything
you do goes wrong,

you will be broken down. But
the new arrival, the blameless
animal, I warn him, is not to know
that his future’s just begun, nor how soon
the damage will be done.

-first published Overland

Two Poems For Mr. Stevens


I was of two minds,
like a hotel room
in which there are two people.


I do not know which I prefer,
the beauty of inflections
or the beauty of innuendoes,
her brief glance through the crowd,
or her looking-away.

-first published in Southerly

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