You Kick the Grasshopper

Walking Goals on the Pingerup Plains

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