Monday, March 14, 2016

Tuesday Poem - 'A Romantic Woman' by Michael Farrell

A Romantic Woman

Has sewn a bauble on her dress tonight
She thinks about the relation between
natural and artificial light as
she drives through the evening in a taxi
Doubt becomes her. If she were Catholic she
assumes she would've toyed with bishops …

agnostic it's jackaroos that keep her
reading colonial fiction. Danielle
loves being twenty-nine (the pathos of
it) and dreams of an earlier name like
Muriel or Jean. She smooths the violet
sash her mother would say meant 'die single
The country can be harsh like that. Next year
she might become a novelist, but for
now she's happy with the magazine world
the hair and makeup boys, donuts on Fridays
She met someone online recently who
carves his own chess pieces and has a sandy
fringe, and she'll meet Liam in the flesh tonight
Warm and soft, she says to herself warm …

soft. The night is floating with stuff: maybe
organic, but she thinks wearing a veil's
underrated. I can't wear a taxi
everywhere, she jokes to the driver who
doesn't understand why not. Danielle thinks …

her friends, their brutal ways with men and how
successful such ways are. Men are afraid
she isn't strong: yet she's been known to eat
tuna from a can (to the right music
They don't know what it takes to be her! She
wouldn't be an editor for long …

Magazines were arcades for Danielle, not
stylish training manuals. Cigarettes
or insanity she would quip (before
she quit). Her therapist said she had …

Cinderella complex but Danielle – in
a rare fiery moment – retorted …

you have complexomania! Whereas
she was a deer of the forest …

Harriet Shelley without the river
bit, or the kids. Really, her mind was drifting
into inanity. The Melbourne traffic
wasn't like a forest; she could surely
find better role models if she needed
them. She would never make anything happen
Danielle imagined Liam was probably
one of those soft, toilet-paper roll kinds …

guys with razor blades attached to the last
sheet. They love you until then. I have …

date with a bottle of gin, she thought …

a man on the side: a moment to cherish
cherish, cherish. She noticed the clasp
on her handbag resembled a creature
with an unusual nose. She began
to conceive of a feature …

underrated beauty. She sat in the taxi
outside the foam party, the metre running
scribbling in her notebook while the humming
driver played a samba on the steering-wheel.

Michael Farrell

Cocky's Joy (Giramondo 2015) is my pick of the books I have read this year. Laurie Duggan opines on the back cover – 'You feel there's a language being created here and yet it's your own language.'
It came to my mind that Michael Farrell was a Currency Lad.* One of the first generation of poets to be born in the colony. That isn't strictly true (it can't be true) but it came into my mind.
*(The term 'currency lads and lasses' was used to refer to the first generation of children born in the colony to distinguish them from the free settlers who were born in the British Isles. These people were known as 'sterlings'. )
While I am musing on the old time way of saying things, I just want to iterate how much I like the title. It signals so much doubleness. But I found in a quick vox pop that quite a few people are not aware of what cocky's joy* used to be in all its singleness.
* (Treacle or golden syrup. A cocky is a farmer, originally a small tenant farmer. The word is derived from the earlier term cockatoo farmer, whose origin is the subject of several rival theories.)
Honestly, this book, it is a tour de force. It's a book that has a circus in its pants. It's astounding.
And I am astounded that none of the judges for book awards have, thus far, given it a nod. I can only assume the publisher neglected to submit it. There is no other explanation.