Friday, August 27, 2010

28 thoughts

Coffee, rain, umbrellas, grass damp as the sea,

shells washed in wind,

trees sad as limbs we befriend.

The white car, small as acceptance.

The ocean, grey as a breathing, flurried, stone.

It stands up to kill you,

You who stand,

ready to snap in the wind.

Wotya gonna do?

Put Moses and his curses into your hands?

Yeah. Plant wood in the dirt,

ask for water to be turned into sky?

It won't save you.

Inside, glass and radio are gawking.

A question rises.

It's gargled,

on the letter "G"

like "geeeeeeesss-uuuss".


I state the argument:

This stem, what is it, paraffin-laced, on my throat,

made of words and burning uses?


Nah, this is tidal, lapping, cool as lake-water on a


It laces me with a green-blue wanting sinewed into


But I splash for freedom, kill a friend for the rush.

Sail away, casual, like a cheap fisherman, handreeling

the slick.

I know behind me, a light, blood-thick, muddy fear

is keeping me to the knotted whisper.

Yes. Yes.

Crocodiles bark amid my reaching limbs.

But back here on the coast, deadstone leaves sing

from my touch.

The sky blows down, wet as a winter glass, milk as

wire, even pulse.

Yes. Yes.

I am. I said.

I and I. I and I. Babylon.


I am dancing, fine as lemon, crazy as a gin, to the


Yes. I answer the snow-want.

Yes. I answer the burnt bitter autumn.

Yes. I touched your leg. I hurt flesh with want.

Yes. I beg sleep, I live the late morning.

Yes, I poison apples.


Water and vinegar, thief of clocks.

I will tell time by your demise.

I will tell time.

Look upon this.

Reflect. There are no eyes.

I will tell time.

- Mark Mordue

First published April 2001 in Quadrant, thanks to Les Murray, Poetry Editor.

* Photo sourced from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,
I was a student in your non-fiction class at UTS a few years ago. Just wanted to say ahoy and thank you for making us go out and talk to random strangers. It was good practice for me given my current project. I'm surveying 1000Sydney men to create a guidebook to Sydney for single women.
Hope all's well,