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     |    C O N T E N T S    |    H O M E P A G E    |    J A C K E T   #   N I N E    |    O C T O B E R   1 9 9 9


Pam Brown : three poems


what's in a name
      you wonder
as the train interrupts
                  Valley Heights.
mega bass interrupts
    some slower throb
  & peps it up

roused by finger-clicking
  at the end of Satellite of Love
dozy cuckoos cuddle up
          in another arcadia
                              the city's
out through the glass doors
115 kilometres south-east
    beyond a short horizon
where the weather

the fog-they-call-a-mist
    encloses the house,
  temperatures plummet,
you've tromped off
    to sit in the car
            to keep warm,
staying civilized, although
    no one's around, or expected.

the metal letterbox
  blown up
        in the traditional manner -
  a double bunger
on the night
    of the national holiday.

raindrops don't splash
    onto asbestos corrugations,
  but plop dully,
big dark splotches
  the perfect char-grey
              pay-tv dish
attached to the porch
              over the road

linking you to
  the loneliness
of the art-and-craft-and-flower-show
    dahlia in a milk bottle -
the milk bottle
  being more interesting an object
in its obsolescence
        than the living thing.

&, not far away,
  a heritage town
Thai Chicken Pizza -
    another utopian snack.


      In the flat
Returning downtown,
railway tunnels -
"Lard -
    the power of lard,"
  the graffiti -
to something like
  humidity's summer haze,
          (really smog),
checking oz lotto
      one day early -
  always thinking
it's Wednesday on Tuesday
& everything is
      out of service,
the nearest
in the next suburb -  so,
  a quiet retiree 
I raid some envelopes
    of cash
  stashed in the books
    in the hallway.
Here, in the flat,
a syntheses of chores
      takes place
          in the one room -
        processes -
    radio on,
Minh's mother's gift -
    a small wooden vase
& its glowing
  inlaid scene, a lake,
          on the window sill -
ah . . . . .
  this blur
in corporatism's chaos
and everyone there, in Hanoi,
    Minh's mother,
  & particularly
          Hanoi mothers,
would want
      some small luxury


A faded aquamarine apron
      stalks the kitchen
in the parallel flat
            as I stalk mine,
I'm waiting for Paul
    for sunset drinks -
on the horizon
    Sydney Tower
    becomes a backlit stick,
the bats
  are already
beginning to cross
overhead & sideways
    from Cooper Park
Jane beats Paul
  to it -  arriving early,
then he's here,
we play Richard Tauber
    "Don't Be Cross"
for Jane . . .
  a 50 cent LP record
from a Mountains'
      garage sale -
a gem - lined up
next to a box set
    of Kamahl
and some egg cups.


          Sunset drinks -
a few plans
  for travel or health
or entertainment -
        details mostly left
    wide open -
an evening stroll
  past the shops -
the hairdresser's
empty cash-register drawer
  placed, in full view,
in the centre
  of the salon floor
        to deter robbery.

  In the middle of the night
a gusty change
    the smallest paintings
      off the wall,
the building shudders -
    the last bus
        hurtles past
      From a Daihatsu

for Ken Bolton

drat !
forced to change tack
at the intersection -
every landmark's
been demolished.
drizzling melbourne-style
and the big man's
just collected
a medal -
service to literature
poetry or writing)
(can it really
be served ?)
(I know you'll have
an answer).
switch from
digital dashboard
radio to cassette -
globular bass notes
as Irma sings
"I'm tired of working,
paying all the bills.
you are the dog,
but I've got to do
the barking
all by myself"
I'm tired of working
as I've walked
from library to library
I've become
that fuzzy figure
in the background
of at least a hundred
graduation snapshots.
now I'm zooming
up the M4,
the sax is phenomenal
"Wish Someone Would Care".
a glimpse
of early morning sun
on the flat horizon -
a translucent patch
of butcher's-window-
what's for breakfast
on this freeway -
a line of smooth
from Charlie Parker ?
nup -
James Brown, Joe Turner ?
but it's your birthday
all day -
&, Ken, I reckon
it's hairdos,
that distinguish


Pam Brown
Pam Brown's twelfth collection of poems, «50-50», was published by Little Esther Books in 1997. Folio/Salt produced a pamphlet of her recent work titled «My Lightweight Intentions» in the U.K in 1998. She is the current poetry editor for «Overland» magazine.

But wait — there’s more! ...from Pam Brown’s author notes page here on the Jacket site, you can link to a recent biographical note, and also to dozen or so Jacket pages where her work features or where she is reviewed or interviewed.


J A C K E T  # 9 
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