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