Don’t feel sorry about it, if you remember
blue Darlinghurst nights like particular quilts
a generation of painters saw
before we arrived there, or found ourselves
deciduous as apple trees. Don’t feel sorry
for our poverty, or I’ll report the mirror winks
like a man with bad teeth who has laughed
at all who dislike poetry. Be less than sad
on the day that you hear the news I fell,
they’ll nose you out, the generous, curious ones
then rest assured that I will never tell
who left her pee in glasses overnight.
Don’t be sorry so much ambitious verse
grovelled in the cities where we lived
only say for me I walked an older road
where poetry was rare and hard, and, frankly, good.
That when I had worked it out I laughed and laughed;
what piss-ants, what grovelling pick-thanks
queued like the British to attack my books.
See with what ease I bash the rhythms out,
(go fall on it!) set the metaphor to click
on their tumblers into place. The reason is
I’ve served my bloody indentures: no use
getting set for sad atmospheres. You’ll hear
of my death one day and start to remember
how many times I got you to laugh
from the verbal castles I built you.