Monday, June 30, 2014

Tuesday Poem - 'Midday Gavotte' by Alex Skovron

a duet in which the other instrument is silent’  
                                                       — Henry Miller
His fiddle burns in the sun
as the shoppers crowd around to listen,
looking for the hat. He has come

out of nowhere, his teeth are missing
and his oversize jacket
wriggles with the music, and he glistens

with sweat. His violin is lacquered
a brilliant ochre, the bow
dances, and the eyes bestow a regular rapid

smile (not the lips though),
and the little stool that he perches upon
is almost comically too low,

and a second almost identical one
stands empty a foot away.
Just then he nods at the invisible companion,

sniffs, and ceases to play –
but continues tapping out the colourful beat
with his bow; he nods again

and smiles surprisingly, his absent teeth
gaping, as if in pride
at so adept a partner, steals a fleet

inspection of the financial side
of the performance but continues conducting.
All at once he nuzzles high

into his instrument, slyly whispers something
to the second fiddle: with a poetic
toss he resumes his own song, disrupting

the loud silence of traffic,
all the unseen migrations, the mall’s frenzy;
the audience is clapping

as if in appreciation of the tacit cadenza
just concluded – then sever
slowly, diplomatically from the climaxing dancer
to go about their day. Weather
is turning: he stops, collects his disconsolate chum
and they walk off the stage together.

Alex Skovron

I finally caught up with Alex Skovron's 2003 book The Man and the Map (Five 
Islands Press). I googled and you can still pick up copies here and there, or if you
bump into Alex around the Melbourne traps you might be able to score one off him,
like I did. That was a great night the Melbourne Poets Union put on at The Architect's
Basement, and I came away with an excellent book. I mean, I knew Alex was a fine 
poet, just I had never got round to sitting down to a book of his. You know how it
is. And now I want more, and I want to hear Alex read his work. I just haven't heard
him read as much as I would like. I often bump into him, like he bought me a coffee
at a reading at Fed Square (I owe you a coffee, Alex, must remember for next time
we meet) but he is not up on his hind legs in front of the microphone as much as one
would wish.

1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating poem. He's not a poet I've come across before, I wonder if there are copies around here in Enzed.