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States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'C.O.U.N.T.R.Y' by Michael Farrell

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One

States of Poetry 2016 - Victoria | 'C.O.U.N.T.R.Y' by Michael Farrell

States of Poetry Victoria - Series One

You feel this way, kind of free when you lie down


    I've seen it, the cocking head, the dipping branch, but now
I'm thinking of something else. The long drawn
Out day. The novelty of peaches in
A new form. Savour the bird's body language, you may need
It to recognise yourself later. Like water, your head empties slowly
Of melody (though not music) and you find yourself alone – but
In a kind of love. The cow stretches her neck as
If to scratch it on the rough air


   You become milder, watching her, finally letting the march fly bite
& then crushing it with a hand. 'What did I cook?


   Chops a la Brisbane.' I heard, but looked at you like
You're a jackass. To run as if your brain's an egg
In the heat. The grass deep and delicately iced with petals


The woman identified the noodles. She was
A grandmother now, cooking them for her plastic surgeon grandson. The
True way to do it, she said, was
Under the blue light of the sky till
You could see the moon
In them. But her grandson would never be home
In the daytime so she compromised. The bookshop next door caught
Fire and the poets ran for their lives. They won't rebuild
In a hurry she thought. Unlikely. Her grandson put
On his red shirt that made him look like
A detail from Caravaggio or
A hundred kangaroo paws. The law differs. You see the plane
Appear to pause. You bring it across the sky with
Your mind. Two planes on the ground like insects without appetites


    Behind the border, the look of things meant judgment was unstable


    You could only report, and remember that
Others were doing the same
On the land that took horse's bones bigger than anything
It remembered for thousands of years. A jay is tougher than
A magpie. A maggie does the rounds
Of the bus stops where the crows don't go. They sound
Sweeter but are equally daggy in their daily activities with only
A beak and no bag to put
Over their wing. The leaves crackle like Christmas beetles
& someone runs past in a cloak. Your body changes as
Your mouth forms new words. You use a milk carton to
Explain about the university you went to. Your great love was
A Perth smoothie who rode a dugite. In their eyes
A wall of surf. It made you social, like conceptual


   There were so many waves. Our eyes are globby archives
& seeing a man on a train blow gently on an
Ant's just dust on the table. Come to me like
A cat. Clay dries. Wood blackens. Hens dart in for company


Michael Farrell


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