Wednesday, February 20, 2013

the torso of a woman with the tail of a fish...

I sat down on the tram
directly opposite a mermaid.

I only realised that she was one,
(in more recent times)
I have kissed more than the salt
from a mermaid's chest.

(I have also
massaged her perfect back
while she lay spread underneath me
like a beautiful starfish.)

The mermaid across from me on the tram
notices my stare,
sees in my eyes the recognition
of who she is
and where she has come from.

She seems uncomfortable
about her beautiful tail,
attempts to hide it
underneath her beautiful blue coat.

She looks around her longingly
(and with envy)
at all the other women's legs
on the tram...

I (too) in a different kind of longing
want to take her hand in mine,
reassure her.

Tell her
"it's going to be okay".

But I don't,
because I silently sense
everything is not going to be okay.

I do not wish to give her false hope.

The tram passes effortlessly
like a giant fish
through St. Kilda,

and as the doors briefly hiss open & closed,
the smell of the sea
fills my nose.

Glancing upwards again,
I see fishing hooks & nets
of numerous men
in her big, sad
sea-green eyes.

She touches her neck,
shivers, sighs,
glances downwards
at the floor of the tram.

I notice a small puddle of sea-water
appearing at the base of her tail.

In my head,
I hear the ghostly call of fog horns,
shrieking of gulls,
a captain's bell,
creaking hulls.

I close my eyes for a moment,
I am taken back to another time...

I am sitting on a tiny bed.
A woman sits opposite me.
I take her trembling hand in mine,
look her in the eyes and
tell her I love her.
She looks at me,
her eyes filling with tears,
and says:
"I think I love you, too."
All about the bed sea-water rises,
I hold her gently as she cries,
I feel her tears wetting
my neck and shoulder. 
I look around the room,
and see nothing I own
holding great value anymore.
All I need  and want
is right here in my arms.
The water continues to rise around us...

The sudden clang of the tram bell
makes me open my eyes.

I am back in the tram,
and sitting opposite the mermaid.

Our eyes meet silently again.
She glances again down at her tail.

I want to reassure her,
tell her that I won't give up her secret
to the other passengers
on the tram.

I open my mouth,
but the words fail me.

I wonder to myself
whether seahorses too
silently curse their beauty,

their allocated heads & bodies 
and silently wish to be
more like the other sea-life...?

And starfish?
What of starfish??

Do they wish
that they had been blessed
with any other shape

but that of constellations?

I too, at times
(although not many men admit it)
have often cursed this masculine physique.

Why would one choose to be
landlocked in this body of a man?

It is not what I would have chosen...

had I been given the choice
I would have preferred

The wings of an eagle,
the torso of a woman
and the head of a tiger.

Outside the tram,
it has grown dark now.

I am nearing my stop.
I pull the bell.

Looking over at the mermaid once last time,
I can hear my heart
beating in my ears.
She is the most beautiful woman
I have ever seen...

I search for the words to tell her
before I disembark,
but courage fails me.
I quickly fumble in the pocket of my coat
and pull out an old, crumpled envelope.

As my stop gets ever closer,
I quickly write a jumble of words
on the back of the envelope...

"If the stars up in the heavens
had just one desire, this is what they'd silently wish /
They'd ask for the torso of a woman
and the tail of a fish;

I am sorry that I (too) failed you,
I hope that you find a better, braver man than me /
And If these words that I write were waves
I would offer up for you the sea..."

The doors leap open!

I awkwardly manoeuver
my landlocked legs
past the mermaid,
thrust the envelope
into her trembling hands.

She smiles for me
a tiny smile,
more apparent in her sea-green eyes
than in her mouth.

I smile back,
and in that moment
I somehow narrowly avoid
slipping in the tiny pool of sea-water
at the base of her tail...

And for that briefest of moments,
I sense
she loves her tail again.

Our eyes hold onto each other
as I boldly step backwards
down the tram steps into the street below.

Metal doors snap shut.

I get one last look at the mermaid
before she and the tram
disappear into the murky night,

much like a fish disappears
into deeper waters.

I feel an ocean of pride & courage
swell within this fragile
Watersign frame.

And as I lightly step towards home,
thinking of the mermaid,
I feel a tiny shudder

in the eagle's wings on my back...

(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.

"When the mind is at sea, a new word provides a raft." (Goethe)

"Oh, that I could shrink the surface of the world, so that suddenly
  I might find you standing at my side." (Wang Chien)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

for Jupiter & Nicolaus...

And should her moon
enter your room,
take her gently in your arms...
in his eyes you see
and a gentleness that charms.
What is it
that brought them so close?
Was it the threat
of a bushfire reaching outer suburbs?
A meteor collision in Russia?
Or just two souls
seeking connection
and a beautiful, brief union?
Tonight, seeing
the Moon & Jupiter together,
he thinks of her,
and that wonderful tumble from grace;
Her ankles on his shoulders
as he moved inside her cosmic swell,
a gentle hand touching his face.
Hey Red / Jupiter:
You may be the largest
in the Solar System,
and fifth planet from the Sun;
but take comfort
in knowing
that you were
Lunar's favourite!!
(c) Brent M Harpur, 2013.
- For Nicolaus Copernicus,
  Happy 540th Birthday!!

"The Earth together with its surrounding waters must in fact have such a shape as its shadow reveals, for it eclipses the moon with the arc of a perfect circle." (Nicolaus Copernicus)
"More stars in the North are seen not to set, while in the South certain stars are no longer seen to rise." (Nicolaus Copernicus)
"Guess I thought I could never feel the things I feel."
  (Tori Amos, 'Hey Jupiter'.)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

if (indeed) these words were waves...

sits up
and notices you
when you are up on stage,
But I,
I noticed you
way before you hit the stage,
in the half light,
talking affectionately
about your home.
Your gentle smile,
it took me by surprise,
leaving me more than a little
& lost for words.
It meant the world to me
 that you liked my poetry.
And nearing night's end,
if indeed I had found the courage
to stay a while and talk to you...
if (indeed) these words
were waves...
I would have offered you
an ocean.
Long after the sugar has subsided
(from my peanut butter parfait
 with chocolate fudge sauce
 & choc torte)
I still cannot sleep.
I think of your smile,
and the opening chug chug
of your oh so sexy bass guitar.
Let all the other boys line up
after your show
and be your groupies...
It was enough
 (and it really did
  mean the world to me)
  that you liked my poetry.
If (indeed)
one day I find the courage
and if these words
were waves...
I will offer you
an ocean.
Or, at the very least...
A shy smile,
and your very own plate
(all to yourself)
peanut butter parfait
with chocolate fudge sauce
& choc torte.
the best dessert
I have ever had!!
(c) Brent M Harpur, 12th February, 2013.
"Square one, my slate is clear
  Rest your head on me my dear
  It took a world of trouble, it took a world of tears
  It took a long time to get back here."
Tom Petty)
- For P.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

distant sons/suns...

Sometimes I pretend that
all the stars in the night sky
are really everyone's lit cigarettes

and the one closest to the moon,
shining brightest

is you.

One friday afternoon,
I dreamt I held your star
tightly in my hand,

and as I squeezed I could feel its cool burn
on my closed palm.

Later that night,
on closer inspection skyward
I realised something was wrong.
For up in the heavens,
close to the moon

your star had gone.

I looked in my palm again,
but it was empty.

The next morning,
a group of angry astrologers
woke me up, beating on my door.

"Without that one star"
they shouted,
"the skies we rely on,
they don't make no sense no more!!"

Later on that same day
I was visited by a team of NASA scientists too.
They say
"Without that one star by the moon,
our science is completely screwed!!!"

And on the telly tonight,
I saw a group of sailors have
lost their way home.

Here was me (selfishly) thinking
that this was affecting me alone.

With the aid of a telescope,
where you once were I can now see
a tiny hole,

of which I feel a part.

And closing my eyes,
I can still see you burning bright
in a fragile constellation of the heart.

Shine on, Pete!
Death, it  is not the end, my friend...
The journey is never over.

And you burn brighter than ever now,
You crazy supernova!!

Sometimes I pretend
that all the stars in the night sky
are really everyone's lit cigarettes,

and the one closest to the moon
was you.

I must remind myself...

We are the distant sons,
 we are the distant brothers;

And some of us are destined
 to burn out faster than the others...


(c) Brent M Harpur, 2003/2013.

"Stranded starfish have no place to hide,
  Still waiting for the swollen Easter tide.
  There's no point in direction, we cannot even choose a side."
  (Peter Gabriel, 'Here Comes the Flood'.)

- For Pete Dion
(Ten years have passed, my friend. I still miss you, hope you're happier now,
  and that you found some peace.)