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Gary Catalano - three prose poems


      The Cupboard

I'd shut myself in the cupboard directly beneath the work-bench in the big shed and made a nest among the torn newsprint and the bits of wood-shaving. I'd been there for over an hour before the grey-haired woman dragged me out by the elbow and cuffed me about the ear. Then she told me I was stupid and shoved me in another cupboard.


      Sacred Site

It's easy to see that this clearing is important to someone, for there are four old armchairs grouped around the remains of a fire at what would be its exact centre. And this is not to ignore the sounds you hear as you near this sacred site: first the screech of the cockatoos, so like the sound of chalk on a blackboard that you flinch at the whish! of the teacher's cane, then the Oh Ah Oh Ah of a kookaburra, and finally the delicate tinkling sound of an unknown bird as you step into the clearing and make your way to what you believe is the heart of the bush.



Those trees in the distance have gone through so many transformations that I hardly know where to begin. I could start with a thought-balloon, for that is what they initially appeared to be when I glimpsed them between the haybales' Maginot Line. Or should I start with a fly-swatter, for that is what they have become as we stretch our legs on the red dirt and brush at our mouths and eyes?
But already I have a better idea. If I can't think of them as parachutes just about to crumple as they touch earth, I'd like to propose that each one of them is a table-tennis bat. Look, if you listen really hard you'll even hear a ball whizz past your ear at a speed as fast as that of thought itself.


Gary Catalano
Gary Catalano has published widely on both art and literature and is the author of 11 books, among them a Selected Poems published by UQP in 1993. Catalano has a special interest in the prose poem. His Fresh Linen (UQP, 1988) contained 60 prose poems written between 1980 and 1986, while 30 new prose poems will be included in Jigsaw: Poems and Prose Poems, his forthcoming book from Paper Bark Press.

The painting in the background is by Lynne Boyd.
Photograph copyright © Alison Lendoudis
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