The NZEPC Home & Away conference was on in September 2010. It was a great meeting of the tribes of poets of New Zealand & Australia. & I got to read one night.
Other readings on the NZEPC site.
The carnies carried me thus far round the state
hustling the rural shows with tests of strength,
and aim, the bejeweled and ropey rides loaded
on custom pan-techs. I was caught up in their wheeling
arcs, the sighing hydraulic rams, the fairy lights
and grease. “Just not bred to it, I guess,” I’d said
when they bought me in.
I came to in the ward
with the surgeon testing sutures on my hand.
He talks to himself, makes notes. Young,
neat, exact; he thinks he’s seen me before.
I roll over and crush the line, so the nurse comes in,
bustles about — “finding veins is hardly a hobby here”
she quips. “I was tuning pianos before this,” I say,
and she affects an interest, “before that I was in a band.”
In the afternoon a cardiac arrest, the dinner trolley,
the chaplain mumbles with his newfound amputee,
in the light through the blinds. In the morning
the florist’s toll of cut stems, visitors without end.
First published in Snorkel #9, April 2009.
A new poem 'The Astronaut's Lovesong' appears in the latest Meanjin, issue #69/2. Here are the first five lines.
The Astronaut’s Lovesong
Love, I sing you a song of the seas. I fly
a hundred miles high like the pleiades
through the story of your boyhood skies,
but honestly, love, I want you totally
like a heat shield, an antidote, a splashdown.
Read the rest of the poem on p234 of Meanjin #69/2 (available in good bookstores and by subscription).
Although it doesn't follow the facts accurately the piece is inspired by the many news items from 2007 on fallen astronaut Lisa Nowak and her tawdry love triangle with a fellow astronaut.
Cream premium-grain hide
interiors matched to wood
detailing compliment a high-style
body finished to concourse quality
in fire-engine red with more chrome
than the sun can shine on.
Under the bonnet we’ve got a
rebored Chevy big block fitted-out
with Mallory ignition, Holley twin-carbs,
Genie extractors, high-stall converters,
a port-matched Edelbrock manifold on
heads running lumpy cams, roller rockers,
MT covers and cooled through a
five-row baffled cross-flow radiator with an
electric water-pump, braided hose and
twin thermo fans
(and it still runs pretty hot).
It'll red-line at
4800 revs delivering
250 brake horse-power through a
Turbo 400 transmission with a
B&M shifter, belting down
the drive train to a
1:3.36 ratio rear diff with
fat Firestones on
14-by-8 deep-dish rims.
At the arse-end it's high
cleared, at the front-end,
low. Mate, this one
can smoke it up, laying down
a quarter mile in 15.9
at 108 miles an hour.
First published, in slightly different form, in Cordite 17: Driver, April 2004.
I have a new poem 'The Carnies' in the #9 issue of online journal Snorkel. Check it out.
Adam Aitken’s new collection of poetry Eighth Habitation (published by Giramondo) will be launched by Marcelle Freiman at Gleebooks in Sydney at 4pm on Sunday 5th April.
‘a lucid and finally lyrical voice… wholly original on the Australian scene’ – michael brennan
Via Pam Brown's blog the deletions.
Photo of Adam by Juno Gemes.