from Tales of the Weird and the Grotesque

1.

 

Where kids fold their eyelids

and tics are ‘learning’

 

and cars are towed up the big hill

by begrudging farmers

 

who don’t have lots of land

remaining

having sold off pockets

to lifestylers

 

to see property prices drop

(having made their fortunes)

and the lifestylers

bolt

 

and a ‘different quality

of folk move in’:

 

domestic violence

roo shoots in the reserve

fly-in fly-out speed freaks

 

to cover

the crimes that came

with ‘settling’, its inequalities

 

absentee landlords,

parole boards,

eyes of the State.

 

 

2.

 

Live and let live

the highest point

to survey in arcs,

vistas, ‘the view’:

crescents

 

where dance floors are built

on the ‘disco burial ground’:

 

and that’s the selling point

before the architects

 

get out and split their sides

laughing.

 

Speculators study

derivations of family names,

clusters.

 

 

3.

 

It’s fifteen years since

I got straight: lying low

where the drugs

prompt a worship

of bushrangers.

 

 

4.

 

Out in the earthquake

zone they are planting

acres and acres

of gm canola

 

it brings rainbows

and ejaculations

of company

seed.

 

 

 

5.

 

It’s the ‘witchy look’.

A warning.

Long black hair, tatts,

Jack Daniel’s

and bare midriff

no matter the weather.

 

You’re all fair game.

Watch out.

Crystals just

get a look in.

And herbs

you smoke.

 

Gender is simple and complex

but gender is never

absent.

 

 

6.

 

Parallels: diet

income

notions of pleasure (bush walks, scramble bikes, electronic games,

ligatures, bush-bashing, meditation, movies {by Rob Zombie or The Bridges

of Madison County}, gardening {mull or vegetables or natives or rose gardens}, sex, drinking, handicrafts, tattoos, spells: parallels,

hierarchies. Property: renting. Bailiffs. Landlords.

ac/dc: everyone, or nearly.

 

 

7.

 

Some of the girls in our son’s Year Two class refer to the Nyungar

boys as ‘little black boys’. These are their exact words.

And these girls are often, if not exclusively, blonde.

Some of the Nyungar boys have blond

hair as well. But it doesn’t count.

And the blonde girls’ parents

don’t think so either. Some have dragon tattoos,

some own posh businesses in the district. Or both?

The twain. The twain. The twain.

 

 

8.

 

And who lives off the back of:

 

painters

musos

poets

 

look in, squint, overhear, eavesdrop,

vast quantities of Panadeine Extra

sold at the pharmacy

 

commute to the city,

not long: lots of crosses

on roadside.

 

 

9.

 

Gasmask man loves leather girl

in the mainstreet—every

day; gi-normous cock and balls

on the ramps at the skate park.

Underworld.

Kiss kiss.

Sample.

 

 

10.

 

Historic cars.

Historic towns.

Historic hotels.

Historic licensees.

Holding the table

historically. ‘Legends

in their own lunchtime’.

But legends.

Historically.

 

 

11.

 

Bullies

and bull terriers.

Dogs die for dogs,

and some people

as well.

 

 

12.

 

Divide: horse whisperers/

worshippers of the horse’s

penis. Seriously, a topic

of discussion. A few

too many jokes

at the expense of.

 

And the horses divided by a fence,

standing next to each other. Exact

alignment, looking out, ahead.

Not frolicking.

 

 

 

13.

 

The valley bike route.

Out in the air. The slick

Euro-bikes. Japanese bikes.

Old Indians. Harleys.

Touring. Riding the loop.

The leaves don’t fall

as they rush past,

but whole trees

have died over summer.

 

 

 

14.

 

The number of bones you find strewn round.

Sharp bones, like deadwood whittled

by hot winds.

 

And the red. It’s red and blue. So often.

When the grey comes or black nights,

the bones whisper. True.

 

And you can’t detect

their species, their voices

a blur.

 

But it’s the bones you might

dig up that worry you,

the bones.

 

 

15.

 

You’ve heard of chicken pox

parties? Well here, it’s said,

there are venereal disease

parties. Orgies to maximise

the spread. A pox on you,

and you and you. A great

equaliser is the caveat.

Who am I living out of this?

Stereotypes. The soulful?

About John Kinsella:
John Kinsella’s most recent volumes of poetry are Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems (W. W. Norton, 2003), Doppler Effect: Collected Experimental Poems (Salt, 2004), and The New Arcadia (W. W. Norton, 2005).