Death, A Sonnet for Josh Wilson

The WA Labor party want to turn Fremantle into a hub for war machines. Both Josh Wilson and Mark McGowan are gung ho.

 

 

In the bathroom or kitchen, the drain, grated in. Water passes 

the sound of a flushing toilet opposite the monument, 

you were in your suit and fedora and ‘The Doctor’ beat back the barber’s cuts

and as if we weren’t merely civilians, servants to whispers, 

or sheep on ships. As if accepting death were beyond 

our years and not knowing that voice was less frightening, the dark less dark. 

In the laundry I accept the pelican’s death because I will die, 

and to not be scared of dying is to say little, and be little, 

and to spin your way into that ancient simile – local jobs 

are like foreign casualties; you never know when the load is ready, 

when the spin cycle is finished, I tell myself, you can channel 

McNamara’s hollow soul, then your bigger slice of death entombs me.

 

You’re willing to build the war machines, and to send the planes

tanks and drones, but I bet you wouldn’t get in the ring with Ali. 

Advertisements

The Day of Dave’s Funeral

On the day of Dave’s funeral I was the sole passenger
on the bus from Fremantle via Coogee and Henderson
to Rockingham. A shotgun splatter of grey-white clouds
floated inland from snake infested Garden Island
And, being a Saturday, not a single engine revved
inside the engineering sheds, or even at the Coastal
MotorCross Club. Smoke pulled upwards and outwards
from the tall stacks which were the only signs of movement.
Having a look around Rockingham? yelled the driver,
looking around the corner in the mirror, through steel mesh.
No, I’m going to Dave’s funeral, I said.

The driver then turned his two-way off.

There must be funerals everyday, I thought, as we crossed
a railway and passed the place that collects grass trees
before they’re demolished for another suburb, they grow
a centimetre a year and some are three metres tall
and have more than four heads forking skyward. I had
taken the wrong address and missed the service,
but I remembered Dave pulling an all-nighter at the Nannup
Rec. centre, chatting away sombrely, always wearing shorts,
as dozens of bikes needed fixing in one way or another.

At the corner of Read and Leghorn I used the toilet
in Hungry Jacks, chatted to Tony on the phone,
then walked across the road to sit in shade and wait
for Alison and Wayne to arrive, so we could go to the wake.
While some people were smoking cigarettes
before going inside for a Whopper, seagulls stalked the huge
cars idling in the drive-thru. To my surprise, on the concrete footpath
between on my feet, a half melted ice block sank
into its own puddle, and was catching broken yellow flowers
from the overhanging gum tree; seed pods shook side-to-side in the breeze.