four

 

Dogs Eat The Moon. Lord Marmalade Blames Spain



He flew to investigate
In Spain they shook their heads, said no dogs here
Look! only cats
They put a special viewing box on Lord Marmalade’s head
and he looked through a hole which almost broke his specs

Can a cat be a dog’s shadow?
If Lord Marmalade has never been to Spain, and the Spain
he blames is the Spain of his brain, then the dogs must be
there somewhere
                                  He turned a hair
He looked in the shadows of his mind, behind the bumps
of the rindy landscape
                                          It all seemed too filled in, like they
knew the king was coming
                                                  The sky possessed a faultless
too black moonlessness
                                             There were donkeys dragging ploughs
through the streets and turning up green computers, little
smartphone clods
                                  The cinemas showed big blue women on
golden screens looking for their motorbikes stolen by gang-
sters who turned out to be their own orphan cousins, and
ended in blowing up a factory and inventing a lucrative new
vinyl fashion product
                                         He couldn’t find a trace of moonlight
or phoniness anywhere, and spent the night in a gutter at-
tracting insects
                              At about 4am the wind took the telescope
off the cathedral, knocking it against the bell, waking him
he felt like a dry lemon
                                           Yet through his left eye he saw a
figure
              It was a figure of Talk
Lord Marmalade began to speak to the dogs, asking them to
come out, to own up, to bring back, to spit out the moon

The figure turned
It was the ghost of Lorca, asking the time
Lord Marmalade felt his spine trying to align
He saw, he felt, a rain of fleas falling out the sky
When the fleas stop falling there will be nothing, or the moon
said Lorca
                     Lord Marmalade followed him down a street
under an archway, past an aqueduct, into a white courtyard

Lorca disappeared
Lord Marmalade began to realise how thirsty he was: an an-
cient-looking bubbler like a fire hydrant appeared
                                                                                            His tongue
in the unsweet Spanish water seemed to flap
                                                                                   He was fur-
ther from the truth than ever

 

 

 

Schmeducation



Due to the weather, apparently, their dad
cancelled the skiing holiday in Aspen. He
booked a cabin closer to home and told
them they were in for a time of intense
delight, or instruction. Later, they’d form
a band called In Slight Destruction, but

for now it was four weeks of Dylan
Highway 61 Revisited to be precise
morning and afternoon and at night
they’d karaoke the moon. They put
it down, partly, to their dad being Bob
too – born too early to be a Dylan

Bobby Tulow he was growing up, or
Bobby 2-Love, whatever that meant
but it came from the Queen song, even
the teachers would half-sing can an-
y-body, find me, Bobby 2-Love? No-
body ever could, then. So it seemed

that for them, music and thinking were
fated to be entwined. These songs would
never leave them. They would be at
any kind of sporting fixture, and as soon
as there was a winner, a rising tune
in their heads would preempt the journos

going How Does It Feel? They call
graves Tom-stones. Their dad tells
them songs are not just to listen or
dance to, they have lives and souls
and you have to watch them until
you feel them inside you, like birds

They change the taste of hunger, he
adds. Sit at a table with nothing to eat
and you imagine someone looking in
the alley for a meal. A mum wearing
trackpants is for them a gritty meme
It takes a card to deal, it takes a dream

to fly, or a peach, or a cow. Well now
you know something about the mind
of a Jewish boho genius circa 1965
their mum says. Next time (it takes
a scream) next time it will be Blue!
Blood on the Tracks! The Blueprint!
Blonde on Blonde!
Oh, schmeducation

 

 

 

Pope Pinocchio’s Godmother



Here’s a piece of paper and a piece of coal. Make a
snowman. There were lions on the beach this
morning, as if misplaced. The wardrobe from King
Lear
stood on the nature strip. Poised, as you would
say of a violet in the field. A field of green that
exists for itself, coldly and cleanly, with no memory

of mice or ground birds. That has been swept by
unemployed milkmaids for a cup of oats or an
avocado. It’s good to be here wherever we are, in
the realm of empty stables and hospitals and doctors
roaming loose with dangerous eyes and laughing
complexions. Each one with an emu on a leather

leash that they call their mother and maybe is. Such
comforting, safe wrists they have. Louis Vitton
mascara dripping through the grass. No one will eat
it now, I hope. The whole ensemble rides on a cart
and might collapse if pushed, though probably no
one would think of such a thing; it requires a certain

perspective on the world, that comes with broom
travel or chronic celibacy or sleep deprivation or
inhaling ground opal from soggy woollen backs
Blow your wooden nose, I say. Eat your wooden
milk. Bring a stripe of the sky and a piece of coal
like a brain. They’re playing our poem nearby

 

 

 

There Was A Man La-la La-la



              A man stood on a hill like the
beginning of an alphabet

He had a refrain in his head of red or leaves
              or grief

He was in theory visible to all, but not all
noticed he was there

None – without a telescope or a surveillance
camera – could see his face or speculate on
how he felt; at best they could say how they
felt on seeing him

He resembled a jar, from afar

He resembled a ladder with the spaces filled in

              A bird flew into the man’s head

              It had been flying in that direction for
some time

No one was watching but the surveillance
cameras, and maybe a crow, watching the
swallow

The man said an onomatopoeiac word which
rhymed with the sound the bird made, a bit
like a hello-as-accident

Maybe there was a currawong in a tree
providing backup, and no crow for miles

Just a peewee flying into a man’s head when
there was plenty of space around it

              It was said that he had been on the
phone the whole time, but the bush telegraph
disagreed about whether it was a good or bad
place for a signal

The phone call was being recorded and was
              eventually tweeted, squawks and all
peee-ee

Perhaps it was fake though

Perhaps being on the phone seemed more
normal than what he was actually doing

Maybe he was operating a drone, following
someone

Maybe he wanted to get away from cameras
              and phones: maybe he was a son of
lightning and was saying here I am, hit me

 

Contributor

Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell is from Bombala in New South Wales and lives in Melbourne. He published A Lyrebird: Selected Poems with Blazevox last year.

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