Long form poetry from an ongoing series from Matthew da Silva: Lavish soil sports a rich humus for fruit trees

kumquat plant
photo by John Fornander (unsplash)
Lavish soil sports a rich humus for fruit trees
Light comes from the bulky cheeks and heavy nose of a face, the distant sky floored with grey-and-white clouds as, perched on a handy skyscraper wearing a neat dark suit – it might be black but surely it’s more likely to be grey or brown –, an unemployed  angel accompanies the eclipsed metropolis its people, each enclosed in an obdurate solitude, seated in carriages of a crackling commuter train
      the camera tracking
in the aisles between rows of fabric-clad benches supporting soft backsides. Patient as animals long domesticated, the men and women volunteer for return
      borne back
to their destiny in a homeland where the soil – littered by guinea fowl and pigmy  possum, eucalyptus bark and mallee leaf – sports a rich humus for trees and bushes with wild explosions of fruit diverse as the news. They listen to other people make both incredible and fascinating claims
      the counterclaims
no more sober and necessitating judgement; no wonder they slouch, it’s taxing  to digest an over-rich diet of facts each put out by whichever more or less credible or sympathetic proponent of the art of information – a politician, a journalist, a university lecturer, a union factotum, a peak body head, a church leader, a coroner, a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant, a farmer, a meteorologist, a bus driver, an undertaker – who prompts them like actors who might otherwise fluff their lines 
      to pay attention
with their cool consent fixing cash on a Netflix subscription, the private health cover, the Wi-Fi tariff, and any number of other essential – automatic! – debits made every month against their bank balance. They give and they give again a second and a third time. 
      Asked to believe a new fact 
that’s lobbed into the public conversation like an iceberg waiting for an ocean liner right away they hit reverse because it’s all just an incoherent jumble – with one sort of story stacked like a set of old chairs next to quite a different one in a pile each time 
      taller than the last
and the only thing that permits them to retain self-esteem is the drama of its stasis, like a tide of dominoes threatening to fall off a cliff, that keeps them glued to the computer or to the television, the splendid rectilinear screens true lifesavers.
      Some new inquest

about some historical fire – it was right there in Brisbane or it was right here in Sydney the reporter fresh from court and full of details like a cat that’s just consumed a mouse you can almost see her licking her nose
      not the mic
that grinding noise you heard a car on the carriageway in the road outside the building
      and hardly a time machine.
But if you choose to move the camera and turn it to point up, you can just glimpse, near  the parapet’s corniced finality, that solemn angel still facing down but now listening for traces – buried in this respiring city’s sonic plasma – of the cries of ten thousand butchered, their bodies hastily interred or hung from the branches of trees to rot. 
      A mirror 
masks the lifeguard, and though nearby, well acquainted with our history and full  of compassion for our unique brand of suffering, he can’t manage to capture our imagination though it’s words he’d use
      that we yearn to hear.
            In the war millions taken
it changed us by changing the country’s makeup because it opened the door to other humans, all content to use public transport, rush to the office or the building site, put down coins for newspapers, participate in strikes for higher wages or better working conditions, eat a balanced diet and retire respectably
      without animosity.
Their children are of the demos, the old deference otherwise shrugged off but along with it disappeared a promising hunger for justice; just as the share index at high tide erases our memory of market lows, success immunises us against shifts as we go out in the car to the big-box store to get one more enormous gadget designed to either create or to soak up precious hours – though planted in a topsoil of prose drawn from lists made by august publishing houses, even so public debate 
      seems to carry on without me
and, driving home in the RAV4, thinking with distaste about what I currently keep open on the couch where I normally sit, the book’s lettered spine sharp as a whisper I resent an appeal to my better nature uncompensated by acknowledgement of ideas I nurture. What to do
      with the feelings 
reading whips up inside me like some sort of benign, latter-day sorcery, stoking memories stroking loves, prodding hatreds, mapping out my future, exposing my past to my own regard as, in the presence of the author’s juddering presence wrapped in convention but with a hyena’s ripe cackle, I generate a new man with new futures, new pasts. The plump and tender dumplings
      of the zeitgeist 
to maintain health should be consumed in moderation, though it can be hard to find time to locate a nourishing alternative, and anyway they’re quite simply everywhere you can even watch them come into being, in the afternoons, at a time when only children or the sick or housekeepers are at liberty before the news gets to flash blue like a dentist’s bleaching wand. 
      I stew, remembering

how George Street between Bathurst Street and Central Station used to offer a different – a seedy and, comparatively, run-down
      – face to the world
abandoned as it was then in favour of coin-slot porn arcades, second-hand bookshops, pubs and churches, the kind of establishment that could draw the load off commuters coming from work in the stench of the subway before they arrive in paradise
      to eat a meal
            watch a game
that is all variety and change and made comprehensible like a poem, its passages of swift movement like a glissando cached beside one dull
      grinding set of six
after another. You sit through the ads or go to the loo in the breaks and if the competition goes over time they delay the news, but on it comes. A circus and you’re the ringmaster. 
      Where’re the parents?
The man with the daquiri wonders what the idiotic-looking politician did to earn another fuddled moment of his time with his predictable reconstituted ideas and flawed grammar taxing his patience like a teenage riot the cops were called out to. Some boofhead sergeant in front of the camera now stonily requesting
      community cooperation
like the Speaker of the House who names vocalists then summarily evicts them from the chamber. Who listens? 
      No party cares
either way as, crucially, divisions aren’t held during the glamorously rubricked site of factional branding we know in this country as Question Time. Not only does he ignore most stray notions he encounters, the deflated man is staunch – he worked out long-ago having been in different company departments each with an original pecking order and 
      rightful heirs
that duplicity is the accepted currency for all, loyalty is the end game for most and selfishness is the only way to secure the guarded respect that’ll get you to your goal – “Just watch what happens next election,” he thinks to himself serenely. “They’ll cop it.” Take out a man with a dummy pass and shoot it to that star winger, the one with a face like a ripe melon, legs as trim as a guitar solo
      though the ref’s blind.

Poetry/Sonnet by Matthew da Silva : On my Way to New England

Bio: Matthew da Silva was born in Brighton, Victoria, and grew up in Sydney. He has Bachelor of Arts and Master of Media Practice degrees from the University of Sydney and lived for just under a decade in Tokyo. He has two adult children and lives in Sydney.

URL: matthewdasilva.com

Blog: happyantipodean.blogspot.com.au

Twitter – Main: @mattdasilva Writing: @bookchatoz Agriculture: @winningthefield

Instagram: matthewddasilva

LinkedIn: matthewdasilva

By davidlonan1

David writes poetry, short stories, and writings that'll make you think or laugh, provoking you to examine images in your mind. To submit poetry, photography, art, please send to feversofthemind@gmail.com. Twitter: @davidLOnan1 + @feversof Facebook: DavidLONan1

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