TCR Holiday Special 1998
||John is the editor of
the online magazine, Jacket. He tells the story of what Christmas
is like in his homeland of Australia, where the holidays come during the hot season.
This poem is from his latest book, Late
The God of Smoke listens idly in the heat
to the barbecue sausages
speaking the language of rain deceitfully
as their fat dances.
Azure, hazed, the huge drifting sky shelters
its threatening weather.
A screen door slams, and the kids come tumbling
out of their arguments,
and the barrage of shouting begins, concerning
young Sandra and Scott
and the broken badminton racquet and net
and the burning meat.
Is that a fifties home movie, or the real
thing? Heavens, how
a child and a beach ball in natural colour
can break your heart.
And the brown dog worries the khaki grass
to stop it from growing
in place of his worship, the burying bone.
The bone that stinks.
Turn now to the God of this tattered arena
watching over the rites of passage -
marriage, separation; adolescence
and troubled maturity:
having served under that bright sky you may look up
but don't ask too much:
some cold beer, a few old friends in the afternoon,
a Southerly Buster at dusk.
The Cortland Review