Ken Bolton

(1949 - / Sydney / Australia)

Double Troubles - Poem by Ken Bolton

' . . . this dog's life . . . ' Verlaine

&
'We must observe the amenities
even if we are going nuts.'

'we hear, misinterpret, then depart' - Manhire

exult , exultant


'Friend or foe,' says the cook
in this establishment

he is
a 'joker'

an establishment I had my lunch in today
or, anyway, coffee

Now,
big swigs of resin

the joint kicks in -
there goes my handwriting

I look at the drawing again

Archie Shepp, Lou Reed, Fats Waller

'Some Day My Thoughts Will Come'

time to do another version?
it is a shitty drawing

The Towle quote
'August and then December will close the century
O air of your dreams descending on my day off'

now why is that
so great?

Well it is

has something of the feel
of this drawing I'm copying
(I copy)

I attempt to replicate

distracted slightly as
Anna fights with Cath about not wanting
her hair trimmed
tho she agreed
moments before
I expect I am
taking her still
to WINSTON COIFFURE,
Winston Avenue
in about 15 minutes

photography poetry & jazz
- this poem's 'ambit claim'


I've been spelling
'minuscule' wrongly for ages - luckily I never use it

'leaves the tenor drifting like smoke over the
rhythm section'
Greil Marcus

for me it doesn't
tho I'm glad he wrote that way about it

a song I love
is more esteemed
(is 'esteemed more')

Later, I sing
'Downhearted' for a moment,
the Australian Crawl song

Why were they
so intellectually unrespectable?

Because I
liked them?


Gabe gets up
& goes
banging about the house -

too
tired to chew, he says,
of some crusts
he carries in his hand
to the bin
5 a.m.
At six he goes out
to go rowing
no doubt waking John
the corrugated iron gate
drags explosively. He peddles off
into the dawn
a good kid
Cath sleeps
I hope, in our
front room
I sit up
awake '& ready to squabble'

to quote the poem
at any rate 'awake',
make
tea for Gabe,
make
small conversation, in hushed
tones,
finish Anna's homework
endless variations
on 3 times tables
they all come back!
joke.
& read the wonderful Dinah Hawken poem,
Writing Home
Tom might ring tonight
Cath's brother
& come over
he & John
separately
are here for the Festival (Writers Week)

'together separately'
- well that is how it is 'in these
divided times' (which I think is a line of John's

more or less -
overpunctuated by me)

in the bathroom I look at a
spider on the wall, little balls of dust, gathered where the wall
meets the floor
walls & floors -
& where they meet

I remember a wall in Redfern

ceilings & walls bits of rooms I have stared at
in the houses I've lived : a series of them
very clear memories, stored, & never recalled

the birthmark on the back of the hand
small & pale & barely noticeable that I love
almost independently of who it is on I forgot
I knew it I must once have stared at it
so often from out of time where the hand meets
the wrist as we buy a bottle for old times' sake
our hands together on the counter & I see it

I did a drawing of the room in Redfern

A mistake : no one visited there
Sal did & Dad (Sal moved in!)

memories like these of bits of rooms like passages from
Virginia Woolf - the reflections bouncing steadily &
always in that one place, tho that 'one place'
varies from room to room, the hairline crack
in the ceiling, the characteristic noise - of traffic
going past


where another friend
,disturbingly,
went mad.

I moved
soon after.


He would
break in
steal mixed nuts
from a big jar I had.

I didn't
notice.
Weeks before I had told him
'to go easy on them'

He was
sane then

He frightened Sal
- strangers to each other

when she met him in the kitchen -

no one was home,

he backed silently out the room
out the back &
out to the alley.
She thought she saw him
once or twice more
near the house. Clearly he had been.

I didn't guess it was Larry

Weeks later he was in
the bin.
His girlfriend called.


another article by McKenzie Wark in the papers
to the tune basically of

'Tomorrow belongs
to my Department'

It probably does, too.
Nothing belongs to me

I'm just having
'Double Trouble'


Having, really, a good time

more or less sane

together again with John

with Cath

& getting
tomorrow
a haircut myself!


'Julie,' I rang,
'I'm looking pretty unkempt.'

Her answering machine.
She rang back.
I make
an appointment
put 'the Banana' on my bike

& peddle down -
to WINSTON COIFFUREMENT

Double Trouble I say,
as we come
thru the hairdresser's door


ride back, get vegetables on the way - dinner
for the household
Cath, John, Gabe, & me, Anna -
maybe Tom


if he keeps his appointment


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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012



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