Sport 27: Spring 2001
It begins every morning—
I'm sitting at my desk trying to tap into inspiration
but really I'm just waiting for the tyre shop man to show up—
when he rolls a cigarette I might just roll one too
I notice like me that before anything else he drinks coffee
we're neighbours I guess you could say
when he winds up the roller doors it's like the first act of a play.
On the pavement on each side of him
the tyres are stacked up like black donuts
but when they spin in the wheel-alignment machine
they become the dark rings of invisible planets.
Does he know how intrigued I've become with these mysteries.
The tyre shop man bear-like in blue overalls
lumbers about in front of the tyre shop's cavernous dark.
One day I'll tell him that I too have struggled
to get words to align. To work out their balance
their weight. The true measure of their rhyme.
But later I watch as the sun subsides
through the gum trees in the park at the back of my flat—
all of a sudden so big that not even they can keep it held up.
A wild orb of redness tearing itself apart
ripped from its axle breaking open the branches.
A little while later like a wheel cut from crystal
the moon will lift out over the great emptiness and silence
of Eden Park's huge stadiums. The other poem may or may not ever
be written but this is one for the tyre shop man—oh
stranger and neighbour. My accomplice
and my muse.
At midday on K. Rd outside of ‘Little India’
I pause by rice sacks stamped with elephants—
at midday on K. Rd as the Indian shopkeeper
suddenly splits open the equator of a watermelon
I'm lost in a reverie of sunlight and traffic fumes.
K. Rd becomes an open vein…K. Rd becomes the River Ganges
where funeral pyres float burning through a blue and smoky heat haze.
As if in a dream two Buddhist monks stand in front of a money machine.
In the Regent Fish Shop window a snapper peers aghast through gold
In the Salvation Army Thrift Shop old shoes unwanted and forlorn
pine once again to walk the streets of the city.
Old coats voluminous with other life
dream that someone one more time might fill their sweat-stained linings.
In a room upstairs at the Rising Sun
a guy with no work hears a fridge through the wall
shudder to a halt as if it were his own heart
that had suddenly murmured. He looks out the one window
to a block of apartments shaped like a harmonica.
Through the half-opened door of The South Pacific Sauna
faded purple curtains move about in the wind
like the first act of a play
that is uncertain of how or when to begin.
In the tattoo parlour a girl who sold her body for a few scraps of paper
at midday discovers a rose tattoo on her shoulder.
At midday I find myself still outside of ‘Little India’—
the shopkeeper's machete is wet with watermelon
an elephant surrounded by white butterflies
walks slowly through red traffic lights.
On the dusty parchment of its skin I begin to read this poem.