Indifference

Gradations of grey
and shadows
stretch into twilight
when darkness intervenes.

The mind matures
like grapes
manipulated and squeezed
to bleed internally.

Silent evocations
come to mind
of parental indifference
and brotherly animosity.

My father
a stranger to me
laughed uproariously
at Charlie Chaplin.

Obscure days
of Sunday ways
tacitly prejudiced
and pretentiously pious.

My lunch inside
a brown-paper bag
creamed honey sandwiches
and a hard-boiled egg.

Then the desolation
of adolescence
carnally captured
shamed and enraptured.

The conformity
of respectability
induced a wistful yearning
to be disrespectful.

Cold Turkey

One winter
I was sent to stay
with my grandpa
who played bowls
and my grandma
who didn’t care.

An interloper
I was left alone
to wander
the cliff tops
frowned upon
by towering pines.

Grey wavelets
slopped
against enigmatic rocks
and a fishing boat
dipped laboriously
in the swell.

I trod
the slippery boards
of a distended pier
as waves sprayed
slapping against
calloused piles.

Charcoal clouds
in the sky
moped above me
melancholy
in their indifference.

Dolly

Aged five or six
a city child
I was driven
to the countryside
for a holiday
on a dairy farm.

Looking back
at bits and pieces
of faded images
blurred and indistinct
like squashed insects
on a windscreen.

Flattened paddocks
rushing by
pale diffused washes
of warm evening colours
satiated
by the summer heat.

My father left behind
squawking fowls
pecking industriously
some quacking ducks
and exotic
farmyard smells.

I hunted for eggs
amidst heaps of straw
and crossed a log bridge
over a creek
where shy, wild turkeys
sometimes hid.

We bounced over paddocks
in an ancient car
stopping
while the radiator cooled
and eventually arrived
at a picnic site.

In the yard one day
Mr Mason
the farmer
invited ne to ride
a huge draught horse
but I timorously declined.

I was fed
vast quantities
of cauliflower
a tasteless vegetable
in the kitchen
at each monotonous meal.

A pony patiently waited
while a farmhand
hoisted me into the saddle
and adjusted the stirrups
while I sat like a king
blissfully happy.

She knew where to go
leisurely plodding
towards a paddock
where cows were moving
through a gap
towards the milking shed.

We ambled along a dirt track
on our last ride together
to meet a distant vehicle
spewing clouds of dust
driven by my father
to return me to the city.