Joanne Burns

(5 December 1945 - / Sydney / Australia)

Watchdog - Poem by Joanne Burns

under the house in the soft
brown soil you lean
against bleached wash
tubs wringing parrot
bright holiday clothes,
the cold water on your fingers
delicious as an Italian beer
in a long heat wave, and the
outside ferns obscure
the strength of the sun’s fierce
blaze through lattices of shade;
in this cool private world
the intimacy
of the moment seems
immense as you turn
with your full buckets deep
piles of packing cases
removalists’ boxes in storage,
murmur like totems from travellers’
secret trails

the sweet silence of
this under-the-house shadows
you pegging out
your clothes, a residue
of water trickles up your
arms as you offer
your tipsy face like a brazen
bride to the fiery sun
glazing the lawn the
mango tree chthonic
green you swoon into
greek no universal
myth thoughts of ultra
violet rays are obscene
at a time like this —
the flowery end of your sarong
lifts, a kite in a sudden
breeze, and a grasshopper
lands on your wrist

the watchdog, oshi, short for
ocean, rushes round the deck, he
hasn’t seen a cane toad,
it’s the beep of the new computer
game sending him into a spin —
mandalay towers, a sixty floor
hotel, where fifty mini-robo tourists,
programmed for cyber-shark fishing
and promptness, pulse crimson —
their ten second elevator’s failing
to come, while dion and cora evans,
couple forty three
in the honeymooner suites, require
urgent help with a new condom

disoriented, dazed
inside upstairs you rush to
be of service just like a
mighty mouse, and trip
on the dog’s ball, the
cordless phone then slam
your elbow virtually
through the screen, you hear
the rumble of an earthquake
hundreds of tiny graphics
tumble hurtle megametres of inches
to the ground the ceiling
fans the hills hoist still
spin so languidly round and
round is this paradise
lost or paradise found

Comments about Watchdog by Joanne Burns

  • (5/22/2012 9:58:00 AM)

    A vertigo of words and connotations... (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012

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