THE ARTIST
8 July 2017

Nostalgia will be
our downfall,
he said, eyeliner dripping
from his ruby-red eyes,
then he jumped
from the pallet-stage
     into the writhing crowd;
he had hair like Keith Richards
     and a manic smile,
and he was baying
            this is the sound
            of my anaemia
the sound
my mother made as she drowned
dragged to the silty
bottom of the mudfish
river,
by the weights tethered
to her ankles, a fragment
of her mother’s love
before her.

the crowd began to laugh
     to snort
they cheered
     his sport
with gratified fervour
   as he sunk to
   the child’s position
of murder
missing
the mangrove
    memory
of love

my father was a taker
he muttered
a smoker
a failure
an empty
maker
my mother
was never
ever
nor ever
and I am the kindred
     spirit
     of
    both

he was
drinking a bottle
of his favourite drink
     (it was the drink
     in which
     she died)
and he made
his lonesome way
toward me
     his hands were slipping
the crowd was wild
his lips like Mick Jagger
a reddening face
a tearing jacket
and the sound of

the sound of
bass
and the beautiful

and the
      and the shame

and sounds
dragging
     along
     behind
     him