Misinterpretations /or The Dark Grey Outline

I move through a slanting,
footpaths erupting roots through bricks
near the mad old bus stop.
I used to know what I was thinking,
now it’s a field, inside,
is it green, or grey water, horsing,
heavens bent
through the fleck.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m drinking the wrong water,
the other day I read
I had a sort of degree, but I ain’t, no way Hose-Bloody-Zay.
Please, I-am-not-a-doctor,
I’m too unfashionable for that.

Even in Sydney when days get cuter
than cop cars, as the city train smells of its electricity
and cut-up vinyl,
makes you want to chisel rocks with letters,
makes you think, placing As while breathing
Hawkesbury sandstone,
oh gritty gritty something,
don’t let go.

But from Greenhill Road I can see a Dark Grey Outline,
gums on the Toorak Gardens horizon
after rain pins on Portrush,
juggle juggle,
that’s the bus tyres.
Tickets are eaten,
baskets savaged, cars dinking in line.
It seems average but sounds pushy
out the window,
my eyes scram down choosing the wet leaf
blown onto a white roundabout.
Something I learned when I was young,
shape is serious matter.
I am not what I’m supposed to be.
Light is spring silver
and escapes my language,
in the next lane
‘fragile goods’.

Outside a North Terrace carpark
is the The Ha-Ha Arrow,
pointing white blue charge grips,
tinker tinker bus blows money,
odd jangles of student housing,
arrivals not quite fusion (Go Backwards).

The second lift won’t stop
at the fifth floor,
‘it’s worth reporting’. What, corridors?
In here, it’s ice white as carpet,
closing time.
If you don’t approve,
or burn, ‘therefore’.
Perhaps I am Missing Pages Out Of My Life.
I’ve always been flaky, lost and shaky,
but never ‘ponderous’ over my territory,
that takes planning.
It’s always been weather not
geosophy (that’s so fashionable! yeah?).
I’m delicate, sandy,
unknown, please, or ‘to not know’,
falling without finding.

But what am I thinking, of giving up the desk,
going off-road, gravelling, dirt thrash?
Why not, given the green’s mixed up,
weather rattled, promises running off
leaves as prediction pouring through vents.

The creeks are high,
snake tongues, feathers,
water calls, absolutely
and briefly,
tomorrow forks
but for now
full cold moon
and wrestling night.

I have dreamed green tiles,
walls, gaps, dirty grassy
penalty signs,
curves, yes, finally,
pink ankle
and all this air, all this.

If I’m not what I’m supposed to be
then why all this certainty,
how do I escape its cackling old Sprache?

Night in Frome Road
is there at its hour,
cold erupting through asphalt,
sight and feeling mashed with
my flaking alphabets.

Jill Jones’ most recent book is Dark Bright Doors (Wakefield Press). She also co-edited with Michael Farrell Out of the Box: Contemporary Australian Gay and Lesbian Poets. Her work features in The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry and Macquarie Pen Anthology of Australian Literature.
© Jill Jones
Overland 204−spring 2011, pp. 116−118

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Jill Jones

Jill Jones lives and works on unceded Kaurna land. Her latest book is Wild Curious Air, winner of the 2021 Wesley Michel Wright Prize. In 2015 she won the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Poetry for The Beautiful Anxiety. Her work is widely published in Australia, Canada, Ireland, NZ, Singapore, Sweden, UK, and USA and has been translated into a number of languages. She has worked as an academic, arts administrator, journalist, and book editor.

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