'You Only Queue Twice' by Steve Brock | States of Poetry SA - Series Two

standing on the Puente Romano
in Cordoba
watching the rio Guadalquivir
run beneath
like time itself
I do the math
2,000 divided by 44=45
history is nothing more than this
45 times a life of error and uncertainty
the main lesson of monuments in Europe
for which you only queue twice
unless you want the audio guide too
but mostly we take the negative capability option
in the face of poor signage or poor French
and let our consciousness run freely
against the object
sounding it out
although sometimes I feel a need
for an audio-guide to life
an authoritative-sounding voice
with a haughty accent
telling us how magnificent it all is
and not to expect too much
from the vaguely unsatisfactory present
I guess that’s what literature is
one never-ending guidebook
with tips from those
who’ve done it all before
and our own collisions
with objects and texts
which give us something to say uniquely
and one might call poetry
while I won’t be leaving
any monuments
and have conquered little
beyond a 700 square metre block
in an outer suburb
I hope these notes
help the next person.

Steve Brock

Steve Brock

Steve Brock published his first collection of poetry The Night is a Dying Dog (Wakefield Press) in 2007, and received a grant from Arts South Australia for the completion of Double Glaze, published by Five Islands Press in 2013. He is the co-translator with Sergio Holas and Juan Garrido-Salgado of Poetry of the Earth: Mapuche trilingual anthology (Interactive Press, 2014). Steve completed a PhD in Australian literature at Flinders University in 2003. His work has featured in the Best Australian Poems (Black Inc.) and has been published in journals in Australia and overseas. His most recent collection is the chapbook Jardin du Luxembourg (Garron Publishing, 2016).