'The Madness of the Day' by Dominic Symes | States of Poetry SA - Series Two

after ‘Dug and Digging With’ – AEAF, July/August 2016

Looking forward to seeing you all day
& arriving at the crowded gallery steps

I say   ‘this gallery is full of the same people
desperate to see something different’

but I don’t really believe this      I mean   I am
only here to see you    & like this room

is lit just to accentuate your
best features     the more I look at you

the more I find myself lost inside a mirrored
box     the kind that disappears into itself

it’s called ‘smoke and mirrors’      I’ve played it
before      a mis-en-abyme      a play

within a play    (‘played’
& ‘playing with’)    it doesn’t

make any more sense this time around
yet      the writing is on the wall

I have to squint to read it    but it’s there
the writing is on the ceiling too & it says

‘BLENDED RUBBER TRUMPETS
UNDER A CAR SEAT’

during the performance piece    I let you buy
me a beer      it goes straight to my head

like black helium balloons    I get high
on this darkened ellipsis ...

everyone is being silent/polite   there is
a Foley track      a throbbing? my own heart?

a pulsation like the pattern of light
from a lighthouse penetrating your porthole

should we run aground
it’s turtles all the way down

turns out it’s only three pedestal fans    microphones
we see what we want to see      I guess

‘it’s the bubbles’   you whisper & we all clap
very loudly at exactly the right time

for the first time    there’s a line for
the bathrooms at the AEAF

the companion text says this is not a ‘problem’
but a ‘secret geometry’       an inside joke

& when I come back out you are talking to
someone       you always seem to know

more people than I do   regardless of
where we are together     you are

looking over some featureless shoulder
kneeling beside a box of books (as art)

I say to whoever is listening   ‘if galleries are
the new cathedrals    I’m glad we’ve

worked out how to get people
genuflecting’      & upright by the exit sign

I am overcome by the fresh paint on the walls (not
paintings)      this is new (nauseating?) over

powering    yes    the crowd spills out onto the steps
for cigarettes        I open my stick of gum

that says: BEWARE THE ARTWORKS. SOME ARE
FRAGILE & you wave to me    start walking over

when Aida grabs your arm   & says:
‘I’m supposed to stop you running into it

see    this sculpture is made
of glass’

 

Dominic Symes

Dominic Symes

Dominic Symes has had poetry published in Voiceworks, Award Winning Australian Writing (2016), Coldnoon (India), and Broadsheet (New Zealand). His reviews and criticism have appeared in Cordite Poetry Review. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide and curator of ‘NO WAVE’, a reading series commencing in mid-2018.

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