Sunday, September 8, 2013

Tuesday Poem - Concrete Tuesday by David Musgrave

Concrete Tuesday

happens only in winter, beginning in a narrow street
in orphaning light
where cars shrink into their parking spaces,
nosing each other like dogs,
under a sky without colour, damp and clear. From dirty holes
in the bitumen, bare veins thrust into the sky,
devoid of leaves. Up and down the street the sound of doors
snapping shut, the sounds of hunkering down, of rattling blinds,
the shiver of keys, terraces diminishing into themselves,
and I realise this is the kind of day where I know
what it's like to be part of a species,
a day that doesn't belong to me, but to animals and their ignorant thrall
to DNA, ours and theirs, to the fear in rustling leaves
as my shadow passes them, to cancer and IVF,
to fucking in the cold weltering moon
of a bedside lamp and finding in shadows
the face of a lost or forgotten loved one,
to bronchioles opening and choking, to the fug of sleep
and the gritty, uncovering dawn, to the plucking of dew
and the slow gather of fog, and the gutters of fast trickling,
to a bole with its half-moons of amputation,
to a statue of father, mother and child, moss-stained
and faceless, to the fluorescent burrows
in which we excel and word, to running and to the flight
of cat’s eyes as the lane changers hone their art,
to cigarettes, to the minarets of absolute capital.
On this day, people are like cars, on high beam
and nudging each other and passing, ragefully,
low clouds dwarfing the personal,
clouds low in the sky’s brow creased in conversation,
all the colours of the day chosen from a palette
of reticent tones and shades.
It’s a day I negotiate. As one does a hillside
or a contract, each as slippery as the other,
and dealt with as with a minor catastrophe,
not the sort that leaves knuckles red from wringing
or memory cauterised, but is like the slow collapse
of habitual happiness into something more provisional,
into a set of ideas which can’t be classified
or extraordinary states of mind unshared
except in retrospect, in the way that each generation
finds the music of its successors alien,
a set of special horizons in which we zoom about,
bucking against the statistics and confirming them.
The gutters peeping rain seem almost spontaneous.
On such a day as this I wish I were following someone,
a man or a woman, it doesn’t matter which,
and he or she is wearing a suit
of mirrors which throw off prodigiously the details of the day:
the city and its incisions, barbaric and cultured,
no choice but no choice, only consequent actions,
walking with gusto and throwing the world back at itself,
the world cut up into parts, becoming the ultimate fashion accessory,
drawing a crowd who would follow the mirrors
up the rancid lane where next to the butts and syringes,
a sign is chalked on a piece of plywood
that looks like a ripped out heart, saying
‘Concrete Tuesday’ and an arrow which,
as it happens, is pointing straight at me.

While I was in Sydney recently I hopped into the reading at Mr Falcon’s Bar in Glebe. What an excellent reading run by Micah Horton Hallett on the last Wednesday of the month, or is it the fourth Wednesday? Oh dear, I wish I could remember. I discussed it with people, about how it clashes most of the time but not all the time with the reading at Don Bank. Anyway it is a raffishly charming venue and the night I was there it had two excellent featured poets – Andy Quan and David Musgrave. I was in a Sydney frame of mind, remembering Sydney, and then David Musgrave read Concrete Tuesday – it really hit the spot. So I invested in his eponymous book.
Some astonishing work in this book. It had me on the edge of my bus seat as I headed down to Canberra the next day.

No comments:

Post a Comment