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Sport 25: Spring 2000

James Norcliffe

James Norcliffe

page 104

the kids are smoking

beyond the balcony
the bush in the breeze
their clumpy round heads
are moving clouds of green

olearia paniculata smoky
olive yellow and crinkly
hiding the paths and follies

down there
the kids are whistling
taking the piss out of the birds

they're cutting across the diagonals
leaving treadmarks scars and blazes
stripping lacebark petticoats
from the ribbonwoods

they squat on the rocks
squint up through
dusty shafts through the sway
to the vapour trails

down there the kids are smoking
small clouds of white
and they are proud
of their brown fingers

page 105

the kids are digging
beneath the road
it is their one hope
to see a car vertical

its back wheels spinning
like chocolate wheels
like rubber mandalas
like a movie

the kids lift their hands
in supplication
small white birds
fly from their fingers

Albeniz from a window

behind her locked door
she strums at the piano
as if it were an eighty
two string guitar

the rippling notes fall from
the window like yellow leaves
gust about the stone courtyard
lift and fall delicately again

page 106

the faces on the gallery wall
had been stern with wire-framed
spectacles blotched anonymous stares
and they had frightened her

she plays this music now
to mock their rigidity
outside sparrows peck rice
from a white plastic spoon

they darken in the varnish
of the late afternoon sun
then frightened rise like leaves
through fingers of shadows

she closes her eyes against
the faded jugglers in their frame
the frozen skittles
then rests
her hands in the safety of her lap

the silence settles like hope
soon her first pupils will arrive
they will call their names
before she unlocks the door