Wednesday, September 8, 2010


earth's belly was rumbling
he got angry and threw his plates
and children wondered in innocence how santa would get to them this year

men atop roofs everywhere,
quickly fixing
a power pole collapsed like a toothpick and
the grandmother who spent the last few months of widowhood redecorating her home in modest yet romantic tones, to frame a loving memory of her one and only, sees it sinks into swamp and become full of silt as she struggled to leave through reluctant doors with warped frames, with family jewels and a wedding photo in her arms

concrete has cracked like fissures in vagrants feet, deep and sore
and mounds of mud and sewage spew forth like vomit,
bodies still sway, all day,
spooked in every cell

families lay camped out in lounge rooms, pulling in, keeping low, warm but waiting
disc jockeys voices, coming from a huddled over wireless, are well rehearsed to calm and soothe and play mellow jazz and crooning country
but still the east and west are fighting and they won't let go

a mother lays in bed with one eye open, glad for snores abound but knows all is not over
old brick and mortar turns to dust and motes
historic frontages toppled like dominoes, too old to hold tight
fires when fuses frayed and spat when the power came back on

some of us were running with babies in our arms, carpet burns from when we fell and fought against the agitation in the walls, spinning us in all directions, shaking concrete, to a corner of a room, unable to move forward and desperately clawing with every step

buckets full of broken crockery and a car buried under brick
the house became a ship and we the fearful captains
the road was arching and sparking, it's metal rubbing raw

quick, think, heart racing, terror... do what you can...
still... wait... shake... down... hold... held... hide...
we're alive... keep going... another and another...

coming towards us like a train, when you are only inches from the tracks

the elderly, fragile and calling blindly out for help are thrown from their beds
almost crushed by furniture,
touching forehead, chest, left and right over heart

and afterwards and in between, anonymous neighbours chat for the first time tweaked by adrenalin that makes them cheerful and concerned

everyday a zigzag
we anticipate collapse,
craggy cliffs of volcanic rock snap and roll down the valley, scaring it for life
and we are wearing clothes to bed, again
afflicted by the imprint of fear, the cold and acidic kind

a lampshade was liberated, swaying side to side by metres
white noise deafens too quiet children sitting on pillows, a favourite toy in hand,
cannot-comprehending why parents can't make it stop

fire walls are falling, parapets toppling down, missing heads all the way
sirens constant calling, warning, helicopters searching
and Pakistan and Haiti a little closer to home

intestines in knots and hearts nearly beating right out of their chests,
frightened new born baby mice, sensitive and still,
another round of aftershocks coming... calling...
a gradual goodbye but not soon enough

a cinema seat sits lonely,
perched on the open edge of its former grandeur,
fallen and never replaced

the shaky isles are shaking
and we are looking the devil in between the eyes
half asleep children clinging luckily to life with a parent praying
bones shaking, nerves rattled, teeth gurn, stomachs churn
living with a tech tonic monster beast

the taste of worry is like blood and bone and bile
and when darkness surrounds, our babies are snoring and shaking without knowing it
and later still, when the fridge stops complaining, making noises of its own,
I can hear a magpie calling, laughing "fools, you have no feathers!"

lines and shapes are forced out everywhere like shattered walnut shell
and we are trying to find our breath again, a resting place for the mind,
hoping all that can be done, has been done.