Walking Goals on the Pingerup Plains
For twenty five years
I was locked out,
as if I’d snapped the key
off in the lock.
Beside me, my happy self.
Inside me, a monster and the dark room.
Out on the Pingerup Plains
loneliness ate at my feet
and there, as the leaf litter
sprang from the stepped-on twig
I could prove myself to my dark room,
I could fester and requiem.
What was distant was rest.
What was easy was distant.
I judged every thought,
I damned every thought with judgement,
and counted my steps.
My body needed pain to feel
and after mud and heath and brume
the blister puss splattered in my eye
and I pressed outside the slit
to let the wound suppurate.
The gear was fine, my body uninjured
but I had found something missing
I knew the victory I’d wanted would be hollow,
my traffic was gone, my blood
unclogged. My heart beat loud.
A fine mist made an answer;
pointless to ascend to the summit,
the cockatoos stayed put,
kangaroos didn’t stir,
my ears rang as if covered in wool,
the waitress at Two Rubens Cafe
told me: a tradesman is free from obsession, you’re not.
To walk to the highway on my own terms
was the right thing to do
you don’t have to be brave
those reams written, they un-write,
as the woman with MS drives me to Denmark
and she tells me of brain legions
and her broken immune system,
how the knife is so blunt,
the edge grows brighter
where the leaf cutter bee
says goodbye to Broke Inlet,
as I wave at the ocean and have a morning nap.
– J. P. Quinton
Hello. Please see attached The Dingo Poem. This poem is one of the longest poems I’ve written and took the longest to write — about two months, and then a few revisions in the preceding months. The notes were written while hiking the Larapinta Trail in 2016.
The length is not conducive to posting as an image so you’ll have to read as pdf. Hope that’s cool. Thanks
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.
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.