gladstone bag

i’ve picked up a bag of words i packed a long time ago
     i introduce them     listen to long conversations
foil-pink trance suspends     into the filmy mint-green ephemeral
as my own mole or platypus bolt hole
it’s a charismatic bubble i don’t want burst
   a buffer of sorts
but reflection glares a soundless babble that won’t let up
it’s got a hide with its dumb mimicking   and mine
its a cappella abrades sending wearisome pangs
   should i wish my skin thicker?
my own silent clamour
turns light fragments sufficient to cosy burnt sienna suede interior
but this other repetition   well
it takes the shine off imitation crocodile and wears thin
   it won’t stop   till someone pulls the blinds down

meanwhile   each pang is a tic that jerks at the eyebrow
   like a dog barking at the door for the twentieth time to be let in
i can scream at him without a sound   but no one will hear me
except for you
   but will you see it’s just exasperation talking?
do you wonder at history’s unrolling of cliché?
babel links decade upon decade into glib automaton
   leaving only despair for the chain gang curbed of freedom and vitality
but more than the numbing imprint like bite marks of teeth
   gritting at the sight of yet another pitifully sequestered crew
more sinisterly   the word-botherers responsible have stamped the links
   as certified 9 carat   never to be apprised of again
it’s not till down the track the glaring fraud becomes apparent
just as that wrought by the unblinking ‘blue-eyed’ suits
   after freedom of information curfews have lapsed
could i but bolt-cut subliminal synapses and set them free
   their dry-clean convenience makes it nigh impossible

   kept openly as slaves they’re bound to arouse indignation
but casually infiltrated into any congregation of club members
   virtual or real
arbitrariness is cock-a-hoop proof positive of dark matter’s presence
necks confined by dog collar and tie confer halo
   subject the animal thus restrained to a ‘higher order
heads kept under the thumb of burqa’d incarnation adore their bars
penes disgarbed of sheath play out their days in heavenly limbo
   thus it is ordained
meekly is individual word scalped allowing ingress to the juice
   happenstance damage judiciously used to advantage
tossed in white pith wash   left to give birth in the rising sludge of its bitter taste
are its innocent children rounded up   conscripted and defiled
   laid on the surgeon’s table for insertion of the cyborg chip
take dell   familial loveliness expatriated by incorporation
glade and glen?   the practice begins to look like genocide
   or at the very least
geneva convention civilian protocol abused with hand-grenade

   a prism of coloured shirts on african dictator masquerades as rainbow warrior
whose only agenda is to end the tyranny imposed over his fellow word
axis of evil   food bowl modernisation   intelligent design   scientific mission
   pristine purity is cajoled till ship-shape and shape-shifted   born again
with the kiss of death
hunted down in the ethernet today and deleted
   just as libraries were once burnt at the stake
will dissenting words be cyber-lassoed and renditioned in outer space too?
don’t touch wood that it won’t and let another dogma steal autonomy

fingerprint   iris identification   voice recognition
   all re-calibrate individual worth
bolster honour   require difference   invite abuse
the few words that won’t bend to accommodate   emit soft glows
   unmade pathways away from the lounge-rooms
hounding with their inviting easy chairs
too late recognised as niagara falls’ barrel bursting you open at tea-time with hitler
   folded over with laughter at guantanamo bay

   unrequited illumination or repetitious glare
both a silent unceasing static become less easily tolerated   more self-evident
more evident in the self
can you hear
degas’ brush softly rubbing rosy pink-green luminance
   the fragile wrapper encapsulating   cherishing innocent life-forms
in the sacrosanct moment   all the better to corner the predator’s dark drilling eye
arkley’s reply   arcing rainbow reinvention enshrining every man   however ‘humble’
   care   becoming more light sensitive as we age
as time ages?

this is a bag    that refuses to be put down

Judy Durrant is a co-runner-up in the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize this year. Her poetry publications include poems in Blue Dog and the Age. She lives in Benalla and has a first poetry book, Arsey Triage, in the works.
© Judy Durrant
Overland 204−spring 2011, pp. 120−21

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Judy Durrant

Judy Durrant is a runner-up in the 2010 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets, sponsored by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. She has a BA from Monash University and lives in Benalla. Recent publications include poems in Blue Dog and The Age. Her first poetry book, Arsey Triage, is on the cusp of completion.

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