Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In the Garden


“A man who doesn’t have a rice field should
strive to cultive the land within himself”
– Ida Pedanda Made Sideman, ‘Salampah Laku’

We lived like kings and queens
in a spoiled garden
our homes built of stone
while the locals lived on grass
their feet pasted with mud and rice
serving our smiles

away to the west a cloud rose
a sort of incense finishing the day
we drank beer
watched frangipani fall into a pool
ducks and dogs and flags
moving in the padi fields

the rest of the world
was made out of t-shirt slogans
motorbikes, kites and wi-fi connections
children played football in the dust
the sun was the sun but it was green

voices talking, a séance of the globe,
jewelry on a wrist
beside the road men sat caressing roosters
children stared through a window screen
men like tiger-things – teeth + smile –
Sprite, fries, sorrow: the entrepreneurs,
while the musicians turned echoes into bells

outside at night the dogs barked
at the already dead, hepatitis moons
shone in the eyes of the mosquitoes,
a boy holding a used plastic bag
walked down the road seemingly happy,
horns tooted and a thin trail of smoke
ghosted the darkness as a motorcyclist
took another drag of Djarum Blck
and rode on

everywhere else the strewn offerings
for the dead
were kicked and trodden on, or avoided,
a climate of flowers and pizza
breathed in the shadows and dirt,
masks and dancing, cobras, transgenic rice, cobwebs
they dug up the dead chanting a new litany and burned them
while the roosters killed each other with knives
and the crumpled notes unfolded in dry bloom.

- Mark Mordue

* Written on the eve of the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival in Bali. 
First published at Meanjin online October 7th, 2011. 'Djarum Black' is a 
local cigarette that uses a triangle instead of an 'A' for its branding.


donovan said...

This piece much more eloquently captures what I was trying to say with this drawing:

Your line, "the sun was the sun but it was green" was almost eerie in it's familiarity.

I've been really enjoying reading your blog. Thanks for the great work.

Mark Mordue said...

Hey Donovan,

I love your drawing. And I love all your work. Funny you should drop me a note as I have been thinking for some time about compiling a collection of poems n prose, but with some type of illustration / images that parallels the work. We should try and stay in touch! Are you on Facebook at all? Problem with leaving email here is you suddenly get flooded by every spammer under the sun.

donovan said...

Oh wow, thanks! I would definitely like to stay in touch. I'll search you on Facebook...