there’s beauty in…

I

THE DESERT

I see the stripped flesh, dark as the
Tar freshly poured destroyed
By laws and
Civilisations that refused them
A dictionary for translation
Sloping through
The streets, jaguars without a jungle
Searching for breakfast the golden
Arches with
Nurses bikers and teenagers crashing
Around their money frittered
Away on
Pretend food housed out in red brick
Buildings sprung up from the
Desert that
Hides behind the moraine where
Lead miners pass by the
Thin legs of
Malnutrition without a glance hard to see
Past sunglasses and coveralls who wear their
Earnings like
A second layer keeping them
Away from those they don’t see
Holding their
Plastic milk bottles with dredges
Diesel within obliterating the
Confusion
Of tribe on tribe no direction except
Signs leading the way into the
Mines and out
Of the mines back to desert beyond
Hills and slagheaps that
Shadow the
Woolhaired figures, occupying
Pavement little dog in tow
Escorted
From the hospital
Long after he should
Have left, long after he
Might have died,
No more dreamtime in a land
Belongs to a different people,
Home is
Where the law
Can remove civil liberty, grog
Wild dogs that steal the
Remnants of
Welfare cheques left abandoned
River beds, and creek beds
Dry cracked and
Dusty ‘til January comes she’s
Alone, her children are fed
And she works
Cleaning offices cleaning
Her home and her car and
She wants more
To be a role model huh
Everyone is thinking, right,
She might just
Be the one who is tired of
The prescribed way to live
She knows there’s
Something else out there,
Just don’t know to get it right
You get me?

II

BEASTLY STORIES

All things considered,
Abusive parent with contrary advice
Jealous siblings
A father that sells you out to solve his debt
Two lovers, one imprisoned, one doubting
An ancient spell in need of breaking
A hero’s journey of longing and learning in order to break the spell
In order to love
A lesson learned
All things considered

III

DEATH

In the quiet moment of the plan
Does the nurse say a prayer before beginning?
Does he gently offer up a silent thought to the universe or
Simply begin to list in mind
What is needed to prepare the body before viewing

This hallowed action of understanding
This ancient part of life’s tradition
The acknowledgement of death
Should be taught within the curriculum
There should be training opportunities

Each child in school should see and be able to welcome
The twelve pawed monster and learn that it has always
Lived in the house, behind the sofa and patiently waits
To join the room. Patiently waits to make itself known

In the quiet moment of the plan
The nurse glances at the twelve pawed monster who
Sits on the chest of the cadaver on bed
And gently lifts it to clean away the coffee grinds
Replacing it just as carefully inside the plastic shroud the State provides.

IV

UGLINESS

Aye me. What kind of fierce monster is this God
Who leaves me arms instead of fins
Legs instead of a tail with which to beat the surf?
So tainted am I in this slimy curse land bound
Each breath I issue, brings forth the oily reminder of
Fish heads and no sweet prayers can I offer

In gale force winds of my master’s command
Unsuited for this sport, clinging at edges of identity
Not human not animal just a monsterous pretence
A lie of another’s making what mother could bear
Even in sadness and remorse of devlish pacts
To gaze upon my hideous face, my twisted form?

In dreams sheltering under the ferns and leaves
Sheltering from tropical storms that rage overhead
I see that I am sweet smelling, gently formed
Like others, my face its own passport to Eden
My body an invitation to lovers who in their canoes
And sailboats ride through the winds to tame me

Aye me. What kind of fierce monster have I been fashioned
Left to be of novel attentions from visitors abroad
A Caliban I have been grown, made to weep
and when I dream of beauty, of mermaids, coral isles
the dances of shoals around this, I am spared,
until I catch my reflection, on waters both turbulent and calm

V

THE WEIGHT OF GARNETS

From the red dirt and dust
Hours end with the satisfactory
Feel of handfuls of little rocks,
cold and dense

Text: © J. L. Nash, 2010
Images: © Guy Archard

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