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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Heaviest downpour in fifty years
floods the dry gutters, brittle leaves
block the down pipes
and rain backs up to flow down
inside glass of sliding doors
and kitchen windows. Once, only
the wealthiest of homeowners
had water sculptures
like these – my humour
proves water soluble
as towels prove no levee
and we walk barefoot
as beachcombers, room to
room, turning off
fridge, fans, computers, TV,
lamps, safety switched now
from light to dark. We’re lucky.
The coastline was hit worst,
universities and hospitals
pitted and torn, traffic beached
on its own islands, libraries
swimming in mud
and knee deep waters.

the morning after …

Excited news on social networks
of vehicles pitted like golfballs,
mudslides into luxury city apartments,
Premier declaring the storm
a Natural Disaster – keeping his shoes
clean by walking the driest paths –
TV news reporting the reportage
of Facebook users, folded in
narrative PoMo style,
furry footage and hysterical audio.

Not so much excitement in this town
since last footy season. Men climbing
walls onto rooftops, sealing skylights,
ants at their nest; schools mopping up,
preparing doorstop lessons on
Climate Change and Nature’s Fury.


The Bassendean Shopping Centre –
Proudly Hawaiian – copped
a bucketing. Coles supermarket
ceiling fell in; the Vietnamese
fruit and veg shop, Australia Post
and The Centre Café all
flooded to kneehigh level.
Yellow jacketed workmen swarm
the roof, wasps at their nest,
and the Indian trolley man compares
disaster stories with the woman
with a fag in her mouth and
a gallery of tats on
every exposed surface.
‘Fuckin' hell, what’d you do then?!’
Magic Happens yesterday
replaced by Shit Happens
today. That’s the way it is.
Spare a thought for those who
sleep in doorways and under bridges
as state emergency volunteers race by
to plug up damaged domiciles
and insurance assessors take snaps
and key in their findings.


Barbara Temperton said...

Lovely poem, Andrew! I love it. Says it all. Can I just query the doubled punctuation on "Fuckin' hell, what’d you do then?!" I've never seen that before. Before I get all excited about the potential of amalgamated question/exclamation marks, please tell me whether or not it was deliberate.

Andrew said...

Deliberate, yes. Some questions are exclamatory, aren't they.

But the poem needs a super tightening methinks ... I'll have to let it sit for a couple of days then attack it.

Thanks for your interest.

Kerry Leves said...

I like this as it is, the textures and the hand-held camera flow of it. Gave me fuller, sharper sense of this now-famous storm than any news report has. So... thanks, Andrew.

Andrew said...

Hmm, thanks, Kerry. Maybe I over-edit my work. I remember when Vincent Buckley died, Chris Wallace-Crabbe edited a collection of his poems taken from various computers, etc. The book was called 'Last Poems' and it was definitely the best Buckley book ever because it wasn't shaved back to the high literary standard Buckley once placed upon his own work: it was alive with humanity.