ferry man calls

My father has this annoying habit
of putting on a song to listen to and then
and while my emotions are wrestled
tortured and dragged kicking and swearing
through the mire of all the world’s darkest caves
a part of me says hi,
says thanks for explaining how now and then are inextricably bound
he’s dead
And the dead give up their right to a voice the minute they pay
the ferry man
since I first saw you
I have been
aware of his existence
cheroot, cap, and torn clothes
his purse, an open box on
the floor
each step I take closer to you
he comes more clearly into view
you brought me back into the river
and some days
I’m swimming upstream
can’t work out whether you’re the riptide
that’ll pull me down
the current which will pull me along
there’s no such thing as a life jacket
to save me from these waters
when I’m swimming I turn the music up
no more sounds to drown out
just got to find a reef shelf to help my stability
to stop me drifting out
hear me shout
I’m here
Sweet baby
I’m here

Text: © JL Nash, 3013
Images: Sydney Police Vintage Mugshots [1920's-1940's]


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