Starter for Ten – 02/07/19

Your socks were shiny at the heel.
Your briefcase was important to you.
Your whiteboard was imprinted with previously deleted thoughts.
Your beard was patchy.
Your stomach was paunchy.
Your holidays were hard work.
Your ability to draw a duck was important to you.
Your sweat was familiar.
Your car was overly warm.
Your barbecues were excessive.
Your eyes urged comprehension.
Your relevance ebbed.

One thought on “Starter for Ten – 02/07/19”

  1. Now you’ve read that awful dreck, treat yourself to reading this by Les Murray – The Last Hellos.

    Don’t die, Dad —
    but they die.
    This last year he was wandery:
    took off a new chainsaw blade
    and cobbled a spare from bits.
    Perhaps if I lay down
    my head’ll come better again.
    His left shoulder kept rising
    higher in his cardigan.
    He could see death in a face.
    Family used to call him in
    to look at sick ones and say.
    At his own time, he was told.
    The knob found in his head
    was duck-egg size. Never hurt.
    Two to six months, Cecil.
    I’ll be right, he boomed
    to his poor sister on the phone
    I’ll do that when I finish dyin.

    Don’t die, Cecil.
    But they do.
    Going for last drives
    in the bush, odd massive
    board-slotted stumps bony white
    in whipstick second growth.
    I could chop all day.
    I could always cash
    a cheque, in Sydney or anywhere.
    Any of the shops.
    Eating, still at the head
    of the table, he now missed
    food on his knife side.
    Sorry, Dad, but like
    have you forgiven your enemies?
    Your father and all of them?
    All his lifetime of hurt.
    I must have (grin). I don’t
    think about that now.

    People can’t say goodbye
    any more. They say last hellos.
    Going fast, over Christmas,
    he’d still stumble out
    of his room, where his photos
    hang over the other furniture,
    and play host to his mourners.
    The courage of his bluster
    firm big voice of his confusion.
    Two last days in the hospital:
    his long forearms were still
    red mahogany. His hands
    gripped steel frame. I’m dyin.
    On the second day:
    You’re bustin to talk but
    I’m too busy dyin.

    Grief ended when he died,
    the widower like soldiers who
    won’t live life their mates missed.
    Good boy Cecil! No more Bluey dog.
    No more cowtime. No more stories.
    We’re still using your imagination,
    it was stronger than all ours.
    Your grave’s got littler
    somehow, in the three months.
    More pointy as the clay’s shrivelled,
    like a stuck zip in a coat.
    Your cricket boots are in
    the State museum! Odd letters
    still come. Two more’s died since you:
    Annie, and Stewart. Old Stewart.
    On your day there was a good crowd,
    family, and people from away.
    But of course a lot had gone
    to their own funerals first.
    Snobs mind us off religion
    nowadays, if they can.
    Fuck thém. I wish you God.

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