Thursday, July 13, 2017

Kit Kelen #558 - when you're ten

when you're ten

you could be anyone
sell figs in a market in Fez
you could be concubine with Cleopatra
not knowing what it means

be king – like Lugalzagzi
(watch out for Sargon of Akkad!)
row trireme, hoist on own petard
it's all stout Cortez, gazing out
you'll settle some other planet one day

this is progress!

when you're ten
you walk over the Harbour Bridge
you take the lift up Australia Square Tower
proof that the old world is gone

your first watch
wind and it ticks
now you listen to the wireless
now you set the time
and that's a regular thing
minutes are lost every day!

by ten
you no longer want to be fireman or cop
(never knowing when such ambitions return
keeps parents ever-frowning)

start soccer
learn to play ping pong

there's always the prospect that you'll be someone
books, after all, are full of the famous
likewise banknotes
you can't be queen but you could be Caroline Chisolm

later take the watch apart
it never works again
you lose the innids
quartz will come

and now you're told the time
bells ring
you're presented with career
get there by way of subjects
it's not enough to spell, add up
now there are negative numbers
it's like you have stepped through the mirror

all this space around is future
no wonder one feels cramped
you have to through pimples
wear a tie, tuck shirt in

when you're 16
bottle and weed
heart breaks a little later on
not everyone survives this
swim through the liquor cabinet
that decade of uncles' unwanted scotch

this is the age of boy as erection
which ten year old imagined that?

some of them want me to be a lawyer
but radio suits my broken voice

when one first learns the planet is bung
and atoms everywhere

I go to the book for refuge
I recite the heart
I discover the kama sutra

so poetry's where words have led
a lifetime you had wondered
so wise in words
as never again

all in the deeps
now you look right through the world

so much activity
in the service of misery
it's what I always do

you're 18, you wake up
see the human binge for what it is
almost everyone else has been eaten
but I'm alright Jack
we're on track

consider how we have been with the forest
shall we while away the idyll?

the oyster world, so once-various
becomes a shell your toothpick stands
any big breeze slams

but we must face the day
get a job licking postage stamps
and then you're on the dole
then they abolish that

back of the supermarket
I crush the boxes
by jumping up and down
they let me go
I'm having too much fun

there's nothing but to teach a way
hope you might learn yourself

and dream beyond these narrow bounds
day all arranged
wonder whose biography I'm in

and can I hold your attention?

when breakfast calls
drop from the dream

your parents want you to outlive them
it's best to comply with that

now you travel as unaccompanied baggage
loneliest way to go
so much of me not required on the voyage
though love comes
you keep up the drinking though
dissolve in smoke sometimes

come back and you're an adult now

children must imagine you
one of us will be the ghost
let's guess

there's still the leech on your wrist
it's an age of the alarm clock
(crime against humanity)

you dream beyond these narrow bounds
and yet they've set you up

others stop in their tracks right there
world or they have had enough

weekends the bouts diminish
till a good book beds you down in the plot

you'll notice the vehicle's lack of brakes

so long it seemed your skins were shedding
but already you're becoming a pile
later on will need a cabinet
and some kind of system

fill the drawers with soil
grow dope
but the tail was lost long ago
and it's too late for tatts
stick it out in the garden

you're still a young man of course
young poet, young pup
but the idiots elected now
are younger than you
once again you see through

this old world's fact diaphanous, tatty
it's all to ash with us
Earth the cinder sent

and still no one to thank
to beg, apologize

at the point of 'retirement'
let's say shaking off the dust of the world

limbs creak a little
like one door shuts
and another must be jemmied
you're wearing glasses
and you take the pills prescribed as well

nothing leads inexorably
which is simply to say
conclusions are not logical

the thing of which I'm sure
is that
we are here to invent purpose

how are you going with that?

we hit the wall singing, we do

when you're ten
you live in steampunk time
there's another century in you

you hold that first watch up to your ear
it only ticks if you wind

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