Levers and Pulleys
It was uncorking a bottle of wine
At the end of a difficult day,
inching those levering arms at just the right pitch
that gave me
How much are we for each other then
just levers and pulleys – I for you all it seems
setting in motion some timed swing and arc some trajectory of which
the need I
Nurture and patience, some small
intrusions of impatience and neglect no doubt,
some sharp words
of wisdom or irritation.
Considering in plain truth the only constant
is imbalance, unrest
spiralling to uncontrollable dimensions in some version and
in others something to look back on, which turned out right.
I look forward to looking back
and realising it was all necessary.
It all panned out.
the balances are skewed
lack energy and force.
Equipoise is possible only when suspended
in the night sky high above continents
darkness and Qantas and the movies.
Here and in the timeless zone of change I can imagine and reclaim my
sense of when
not hurled into disequilibrium of wrong turns and
disaster after disaster after mundane disaster which places
Shock waves off the Richter scale.
Banal though it is in the record.
That marvellous wine stopper which retains the fizz just splutters and
fridge and floor.
The motorways are jammed.
The burned out cars and jackknifed juggernauts
litter my return home prior to my return back
down the same road.
These life levers and pulleys suffer some gravitational pull.
The necessary turn of time perhaps.
No peace or stasis.
And no resolution.
We are the sandwich generation caught
Ageing, with frail parents dependent
or trailing ‘children’ – all about work.
Our money flowing out still
into the younger ones who seem
unable to leave, ceaselessly
expecting food and clearing up
taller than our tallest parents in their prime
handfuls of cash.
And in between,
prisoners in our own age,
providers and labourers,
clumsy at such preservation
never an option of our parents
who watched theirs pass still lively
decades and decades before this
terrible stumbling this slipping from
clarity and familiarity into headlong head down
slippage and bruise.
My mother looks like a war victim
bruised and buffeted from three days
of Christmas in my
each step and seat lethal
each turn too sharp
doorway too narrow
foothold too precarious.
And in this daylight bright
racing white clouds filling the sky lighter
than the afternoon on this
Deep dark shortest day
On the silent frozen lawn I look back
– at her lighted window as she slumbers
wondering will she scream tonight
to be taken to the toilet
or because she has fallen?
– and at his lighted window wondering
why so taciturn and downright rude?
I bought them both chocolate cake, I
fed, nourished, listened,
injected I hope
some faint cynicism for reality’s sake.
So what have I here?
between stumbling and shrieking
And I no nurturer
What are we but transient figures
caught in a paperweight snowstorm held in
momentary action shaken
rested and put away.
Reaching out at night
it is a rare moment to find
another – you or me –
there – and not to be invested in this
promise of the things we know
we can do for each other
since time and travel take
them all away again into
the realms of the faint and promised the
electronic communication and lapse
Small figures, momentarily held aloft in the light.
Shaken into action.
Functional sometimes, mostly little more
than carnival or Christmas.
Stolen festivals of the personal.
Not a lot to ask maybe but
more than this liminality and stasis this
pause between violent shaking.
Cocoon of domesticity.
And null vacuity.
A still white scene.