The Lord’s My Green Shepherd

      The lord is my problem; an interrupted mission; baroque theorem
    ecstatic cognition. It was a sea place with copper in the air: I lived
there, hanging over the balcony, my honey blonde hair. It was a fish
    place for spearing, a crab and a gull place. We took nothing with us 
     but found things there
                             They had a hospital and a secondhand shop
   The trees were bare, but the walls took messages from the artists 
                           passing through. There were books to be made. He’s
twining with
            ivy and flowers from Turkey (the old country). He brings us to the 
        river; we have a job and no fireplace, I throw the deeds to the acres 
    in the fire. My husband lost a bullock, my cupboards floated out to 
          sea, I thought I would be murdered (there was a madwoman shot 
police; but when the staff ran to her help, there was only a bundle of 
    clothes, harm no one of good will, the bombers say 
                                                                             Curl your hair 
    in the manner of Eve, wear a strawberry beanie like a Russian refugee
    There was no good grass there, ask at the pub, where’s the good grass 
    At the hospital, locked in the secret ward, so no one knows about the 
       disease. Winning cardgames, breaking horses, well that 
      was somewhere 
    else … but reputations follow like an Apollo (a nickname 
                                                                                        Fields of pistachio
        emeralds block the sun. I rang the bell, he didn’t know how
    and the other thinks that heat can be contained like a square of cement 
(I like a flat monument). As velvet as a waistcoat. Why laugh or mock
      The tongue soon grows filaments, that in turn accrue pollen, while 
    overpaid moths ding up and down like a mobile. The lord was cast more 
than decades ago. Divvied up in portions for those with telescopes and misused bell
towers. Below the telescopes the skaters twirl their
         mirrorball stunts, shrieking, ‘How do you like these abs?’ and the
           gulls come in with affection and then realise they don’t understand. A bird’s 
  abs are taken for granted 
                                      A baby was born during the play; all 
         my lost clothes turned up. There was kelp for long stretches, and clematis 
             grew on the beach. How do you rollerblade me now? With prayers
    from the churches and temples, with watermelon that stands in for bread. I
         have a drink with a piece of the building, and wish I could have been
               there when it was still in place. It was later retrieved by the
      architect. But then the
architect became an actor, and the actor became a lawyer, and I narrowly
missed becoming a priest by spilling a white rabbit. There were goldfish
              in the bay today, the ship was taking a rest so the sheep could 
      enjoy the sunshine. Two sheep were saved, two old ewes, mother and
           daughter. As they would tell anyone who would listen
      a lot of slaughter goes on in the background. People began to avoid them, and
they would bleat after them ‘who’s that jolly jumbuck, I’d like to 
       have a beer with old regrets?’, as they pushed their 
           shopping trolley through the sand, nibbling on
              anything half green

A Queer Opening

A woman alleged; a woman in the same 
  hall. They’ve been written the same 
  When two heads are shaped, they’re chic 
They’re not coming towards you. What he’s saying’s 
that, the Women of Europe, Ophelia 
Catherines on Katherines, and Helen, weren’t stand-
ing in the window, waiting for their explor- 
ers to die. ‘I can’t see’, she said; ‘to be fair 
he said, Circular Quay. An emotion, a 
frog, a stick of chewing gum. Lay down under 
a ficus, get up. I waited for the wheel- 
chair. ‘This is the dream.’ We begin to rebe- 
gin. That fossil with a cream handkerchief and 
fragments of a borrowed sandwich. There was a 
hex in the sky; I noticed a severe lump 
of alternate blueness, that looped around 
a welded scrap. To realise that: falling 
down obscures the act of kissing, however 
large. You must combine with Play School to bring that 
scene in; you ask me what’s between these two wo- 
men, one active in wifery, not like the 
other, arrayed in the nonhuman. An ar- 
ray like a sparkling mood, a come-get-me of 
feathers. We’ve travelled far from sympathy: that’s 
the point. Sympathy’s the centre from which one 
self-taught tribe wars with another. Words stand up 
a violin becomes a shed. Eyes play in 
the shed and the flowering plane. Black appa- 
ritions on vertical pillows; obliqueness 
making a blind spot for police with its tongue 
  Its signature’s on my back 


Michael Farrell‘s newest book is open sesame (Giramondo 2012). He has published poems in BriefPoetry NZJacket and others. He lives in Melbourne.