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Jacket 15 — December 2001   |   # 15  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

Peter Boyle

To the memory of John Forbes

It was a part of the city I had never been before. High above me on the upper floor of a tall narrow-domed building a bell ringer was perfecting his art. I thought to myself, I could never hope to reach that height and almost opposite I found Forbes’ address. A big white clapboard house with long verandah and a wide backyard the size of a baseball field. So, I thought, he’s finally made it — a house straight out of the childhood of Frank O’Hara and, from every kitchen window along the street, radios carried the sounds of the American nineteen fifties.

We shook hands in the backyard and he beamed having just struck a home run. Several familiar guys were there: Mark O’Connor, Neil Thomas, John Roberts and more. There was also what must be his best kept secret — a new girlfriend, a kind of Britt Eckland, Kim Novak blonde bombshell only just slightly overweight. But as I turned to speak to her she lay down in the arms of four of the men who took her across to what I thought was the garage but was in fact a barn. They began to fold straw around her, wrapping her in a deep fragrant warmth. “She’s sleeping more now,” Forbes said, “She’s starting to get used to being dead.”

Peter Boyleis a Sydney poet with two published books: Coming home from the world(1994) and The Blue Cloud of Crying(1997). A third book, What the painter saw in our faces, is due out from Five Islands Press in August 2001.

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