Echoes Of Faces, Deported Watercolours Of Sound - Poem by Patrick White
Echoes of faces, deported watercolours of sound
in the humid air tonight. Everybody gone.
Silence pending in a morgue of cars. The band
dismantled. The fire hydrants waiting
to be donated like heart transplants flatlining
like hot radiators in low rent tropical apartments
too greasy to make love in as the enamel buttercups
melt into pools of rancid butter the flies lap from.
Eerie Martian light of the tungsten lamp posts
dulling the more authoritative greens
of the leaves cloying the view from upstairs windows,
soiled by looking upon the world,
than the innocence that toyed with the eyes of the wise
in the spring before the flowers began
to take themselves for granted and the violet petunias
starting running like imperious blood down the sides
of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
that once bloomed for love but now
are muncipally maintained for the tourists.
You can feel the plants ripening like muscles
in the broth of the swamps, brooding in the cauldrons
of a witching hour demanding the blood sacrifice
of the King of the Waxing Year. The apportioning
of his flesh to the exotic fertility of the fields.
The woods an abattoir of cattle-prodding mosquitoes,
better to sit immobile inside and explore
the coma of July like a missing link in the foodchain,
thinking in heat just a way of grouting in the chinks
between the bricks of starmud that have been
baking all day in the kilns of the sun
like the front steps of a temple to the hymen
of the new moon in Virgo pole dancing in the dark.
The light of the stars as viscous as the silver trails
of the snails the world sticks to like fridge magnets
and gum, smeared on the lens of an astigmatic atmosphere
letting the mystic details of their foregone
lumens of enlightenment sweat for themselves.
Estranged doorways and a diffident malevolence
in the air that flows like lava and volcanic spume
over the Pompey of people sleeping in this small town
as if some mass murder had been committed
and nobody was surprised enough to care, hell
closer to their bodies than heaven to their hearts.
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