The Rings, Ending With a Line by Martin Johnston
Three rows of equidistant, west-facing flats,
melted into ripe mudslide.
Much like the allergies of spirit fermenting in pens,
encompassed by pine lattices,
a grand scheme into light metrically restrained
to the administrative quadrant.
Extraction terrace of value glimpse.
A preference for Euclid, to evince school’s quince.
One bullfrog bleats a static forecast, fetid as a foot.
Watermelon thunders as it splits, icicles crackle open.
Tsunami or typhoon aside, the splintering
data demon protrudes from the sieve of your face
as mine snakes, winds, and coils, the mukade death throes
of service and attention, the intorsions
of a super-sparkler in wetting summer.
The Olympics, yes, are thick with long Covid fog,
blurring your run and my throw,
delaying their starting gun,
raising a filmy red semaphore haloed like some heathen
aura, whose sourceless lamp emanates
like a Bandcamp sanctuary from this deliberate
but instrumentally invisible mesh.
From the fires of failure,
some hobbled self-mirage of Col Joye’s relevance
where I see five airplane fuselages
adopted as telescopes into the better Australia they sold,
through which to see you looking through me at a Honda,
at the mirror in which a whole city teeters at the rim
of an underground Persepolis. Athens’ rings like irises.
Resting on a Greek lozenge, package crumpled but
somehow inflated, buoyed by uncommonly staccato Aegean
imitating the Bay of Naples!
The cruise ships, the cruise ships, what would you know
of the cruise ships.
Elephantine retirement floating on a sky city salt afloat,
the cruise ships, drunk by eleven, after all.
Though he would deploy the word “appalled”
that generosity meant he still would have
extracted the bohemian from a stone or a flake of shell,
or, better, fragment of Hydran stoneware,
jewel from all this white translucent sparkle of their heatstroke.
So much of that skin white-shimmers at distance
just as well as the foam of a fatal inland sea.
What counts is the lute’s premature retirement,
piano at the bridge, synth in the escape, wood percussion
on a backtrack to the graves. At least a big head sits there.
The money and his accidental septicaemia,
the friends who ran off, but of course the faceplant on cottony snow.
Mirages all for a tunnel vision, sunglasses on camera,
better than a heart attack when out for a swim,
or vestiges of song unstuck from oceanic shipping lines.
Martin Johnston would have said
– yes, they are all asking me! –
– this visiting medium –
“they live for a voyeur at a broken mirror”.