States of Poetry 2016 - South Australia | 'Secondary' by Aidan Coleman


Angling over star-fields,
the pitches lit like billiard tables.
Those lengths you were shouted up and back,
lungs scoured by brillo air.
The lazier concord of close mown grass
and low hanging fruit
of the short boundary. A tang of primitive
electronics: the circuit board's braille labyrinth,
the slab type of Amstrad.
This callow path, you
cannot take, curves around and through,
the way a perfect river might. You find
a little gate unlatched,
and the light tangles, as you step
into the ferment: into the heady reek of itch.


The aubergine, by the window, glossy
as an eight ball: lavender,
the road, a torn-open
mountain pouring cloud. Noble erosions
from sceptre to cushions,
from mitre to trademark. A lavish
glut of adjectives, dissolving
in a merlot hour – flabby as any
soft landing among
the rubber bells of foxgloves.
The heart as wound
or badge, a tattoo, smudged
like junk-mail wet. A fading haze from clubs
like grates where fires have been –
signs hung out as dirty washing.


Easier to paint
than rhyme, this volatility. A poet-envy
of the art-fluke, or ripeness
cut in segments sucked to the pith.
A plaintive case deflating
on a snack bar counter
where citrus men
swash fizz through lunch
and later repair the voltage of night
in the out-of-sync bounce
of signal and blinker.
You take a little kindling, the light
of a cupped match,
to hazard across deciduous campuses;
the vast, blue continent of theory. Go, softly on.


Aidan Coleman


Aidan Coleman

Aidan Coleman

Aidan Coleman, besides poetry, writes reviews, speeches, and Shakespeare textbooks. His most recent book, Asymmetry  (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2012), was shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards.