Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rob Walker

Ode To An Elevator

Oh steely cage, Oh stainless vault
I understand it's not your fault
That you reflect vicissitudes,
(It's really quite a pisser, dudes.)

While escalators climb obliquely
You move erratically and meekly
In fits and starts on cable sinuous
While Ed perambulates continuous

Your cargo views the Shopping Mall
While mine stares blankly at the wall.
While shoppers set their own sweet pace,
Office workers keep their place.
The escalated reach new heights
The lift ones stare at numbered lights.
A Power failure prompts 'Farewell'-
My Heart prefers the old stairwell

A forty nine year old child sees his first bumblebee

kew gardens, march 2003)
surely this is nature's joke?
aerodynamic enigma

fat tumbling furball of
black mohair mumbling

sotto lobby
of delegates

it disappears into a
crocus (there! suck i!)

soundz the hazard
buzzer, reversez

is this for real?!
MMMMM... it repliezzz

waddling off through air in
its woollen tigers Guernsey

Bob Fox

at the Victor Harbor Folk Festival, Sept 30, 2001)
inside a night
in a humid
september marquee

Bob Fox his name was
if ever there was
an anglo name

who took a disparate pile
middle aged ingenues
and youthful ferals

a story
of miners,
he told

the Tine,
and greek lightning

eloquently his sausage
fingers spoke
with crisp new strings

a hatred mutual
of economic

Bob made a community
in 30 minutes
inside a marquee

on a humid night
in september
as we waited for the next world war

Collateral Language

i've seen them start.
a conflict
taking sides
demonising the Others
who become The Enemy
moderates become
Enemy Sympathisers
i've seen the posturing
testosterone drowning reason
military buildup .
inevitability .
the small incident trigger.
the tension..

when it starts, the release
the Worship of Technology
control of information
the quick war
that gets longer
the occupation
bodies coming home in bags
killed babies renamed "collateral damage"
the mire
a turning tide called public opinion
the cry of

The Dream of Wearing Shorts Hardly Ever

Kingdom of Flaunt this ain't.
Only Westerners flash corpulent carnal thighs
Even in this muggy clime

Our river bends are paved
Drinking water snakes in a steel
pipe across the causeway

Birds twik twik in virtual
changi forests

We tolerate the sarong, dhoti, sari
but our real National Costume is a long white shirt,
tie and long black pants.

there's always the airconditioner

we're more Western than Westerners
who stand out on Orchard Road,
sore thumbs and dogs' balls

nothing says Aussie tourist
more than a loud rowwll voice
louder shirt
shorts and a hat

you can keep your green timber
we want glass and concrete,
the quality of sprawl
towards the calm sea

to look across newly reclaimed land

our great island moving
further out into the tropics

1 comment:

  1. Maurice - You may be interested to know that two of these were written in response to other poets' work. US writer and academic Ed Allen and I used to comment on each other's poems through Poetry Down Under. Once Ed wrote a poem about an escalator, so I responded with one about an elevator super-titled 'Schindler's Lift.' So that explans the enigmatic 'Ed' in the poem. Here's Ed's original:

    Oh you band of steel and rubber
    Carrying countless tons of blubber
    Everyday you move your load
    Along the same old weary road
    The sign reads up and up you go
    Sometimes I bet you're wishing though
    That through some strange mysterious force
    You could change your passive course
    Perhaps go down or maybe sideways
    And leave behind your hampering guideways
    To you my sympathy I extend
    And hope you find a means to end
    This tyranny that stifles breath
    I too could profit from its death.

    Copyright © Ed Allen 1996

    'The Dream of Wearing Shorts Hardly Ever' was a pale imitation of 'The Dream of Wearing Shorts Forever' by a much more famous and talented Australian poet Les Murray.

    I hope this makes my poems more intelligible!

    Thanks for publishing my work,

    rob walker