Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Flying Home (Month of Poetry #4)

Going home promised little more than the smell of chops and beans.
We draped like wet socks across the front of our bikes
she blew smoke across my handlebars from her bored mouth.
‘Mum’s flying home to visit this weekend.’
My mouth shaped an aeroplane and nylon stockings,
she breathed in a ripple of sparks and puffed out grey.
‘You be glad to see her?’ Lifted shoulders to her ears
and flopped them down. ‘Course.’
The shrug told much more than the word.

I spun pedals with hot bare feet and juggled words
silently around my lips and teeth.
Jas’ mother had cracked like ice fresh out of the tray
and run off up to the sky. The way Jas told it,
she had smiled her way into a job as the
Head of Concourse Relations at Bremen International Airport,
flying back a whirlwhind, bright hair and heels, hands spilling
out exotic delights: Herbes de Provence and parmesan cheese.
I didn’t know where Bremen or Provence were.

I knew Dad said Jas’ mum served large men small drinks
then snapped on the latex and cleaned their
mile-high shit streaks off dunnies on the plane.
That she was a slapper in company-issue nylons who took
the odd high-altitude appointment scribbled on an airline napkin.
‘Ssh, little pitchers,’ my mother would say.
At nights I struggled to piece the picture.
The note and that appointment seemed to hang together
in pointillism; I stood too close to make out the figures.

Jas’ family; blurred tiny circles pressed up against each other.
Somewhere in all those dots was where love, how love colour feels,
how it is where the Venn diagram of longing
and hate and allowances overlaps into a family, but only just.
Jas picked her nails into wet threads of blood.
‘Mum’s different now.’ I couldn’t find anywhere to look.
‘How?’ I flicked the bell on my bike, she rang hers.
‘Just different.’ Yearly in a haze of perfume and shine and
international accents was how the girl saw her.

Dad driving past in the ute straightened both our backs.
Early. ‘No TV for you tonight.’ The familiar joke unwound
the clamp on our hands and faces. ‘TV is just troubled people.’
‘Being booed these days, you’d think it was a bloody art form.’
‘Bunch of bloody monkeys yelling at sick people.’
For Dad, every show was a Jerry Springer audience.
‘Your TV still kicked in?’ Craning, Jas shaped a silent O
let a mouthful of smoke escape. Bleached faces upward
we scanned the endless sky for planes and came back empty.


Today's poem is based on suggestions from eight people:

@_boobook_ “The note and that appointment seemed to hang together” (Daphne du Maurier, Rebecca)
@timsterne: “TV is just troubled people being booed these days” (Jon Ronson, The Pyschopath Test)
@matchtrick: “where love how love colour feels how it is where” (John Ajvide Lindqvist, Little Star)
@slimejam: “She smiled her way into a job as the Head of Concourse Relations at Bremen International Airport” (Dan Rhodes, Little Hands Clapping)
@ernmalleyscat: “She blew smoke across my handlebars” (Tim Winton, Aquifer)
@KatApel: “The girl saw her dad driving past in the ute” (Kathryn Apel, This is the Mud!)
@Kirsty_I: “Herbes de Provence and parmesan cheese” (Delia Smith, Delia’s Frugal Food)
@marklawrence: “The shrug told much more than the word” (Hornblower and the Hotspur)

Holy crap, it was hard to fit all of today's phrases into a poem! @matchtrick's and @slimejam's suggestions are a case in point. Now I'm going to give my brain a little lie down.

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