Mark Tredinnick Poem #2

East Brunswick Blues

For Sarah

 

The early January night is drowsy from the heat of day,

The summer just returned to work from Christmas

 

Up Adaminiby way, and I stand by the streetlamp at a quarter

After ten and smoke a final cigarette at the curb. My mind wanders

 

Back upstairs to you at your desk, your textbook good

Looks trained on the neuroscience of the ghost in the machine,

 

While on the street I give my heart back to the process

Of letting night run its overdue repairs and watching

 

The half-moon come unstuck in western freeway sky. Grief

Has had the run of me, turned the blood to mud in me,

 

Since morning died. But now the Spanish boys are playing

Sweet Louisiana Blues across the way, and I catch myself,

 

As if I were a fish, rising to the bait of it, as if I were

A log washed upon the bank of it, swaying to the sad-

 

Sack swagger of it, to the well-meaning make your bed

And lay in it counsel of its melancholic chords, and I smile.

 

Midnight is a swamp I’ve been drunk and drowning in

All day, but midnight is hungover now and done with the gloom

 

That runs away from me down this straight East Brunswick

Street, into the end of this midsummer heat, inside this

 

Brackish backwater beat, in which these catfish feet

Make fools of me and paddle me back upstream to bed.

 

Music fleshes out the hollows, it hallows all the sorrows

Grief wakes in me, (it) makes a man of this ghost of me

 

And sings me back to all the healing nights to come in me and carries me

To your tired and studious, your gorgeous, lugubrious side. Where,

 

Once it’s played me out and slaked our spirits in each other’s forms

Again, I think you’ll find it holds you in these tired arms all night.