and
Well Tempered

1 August 2014

Prelude: Instructions for Travel

When facing
a veritable quandary
insert hormone pellets

Gather the mob
at the bicycle
assembly point

Wish for a book at Powell’s
locate fancy beasts, a mosquito
cry hallelujah! then blackout

Imagine noir script starring
woman in red trench coat
coming in out of the rain

Take a pre-dawn taxi
to Central. Catch a country
train to Wagga Wagga

Shuffle to the buffet
car like Cliff Young.
Another poet always ahead

Play pool & the pokies
& belt out AC/DC karaoke
at the St. Mary’s leagues club

Search Sorbonne bookstores
for an English translation
of Les Fleurs du Mal

Slip feet into shoes
like a character
in Murray Bail’s Homesickness

Check bags from DFW to PDX
return seats to upright positions
wash hands before everything

Eat pub grub with JJ. Bring
BC coffee. Share the means
of production with AA


Fugue: Second Western

the symmetry of action/inaction means that
a Portland Prius and a Fort Worth pickup
will cancel each other out, but you keep going

west young man, keep tightening the buckle
on your Bible belt ‘cause that thing’s gotta hold
against the breaking drought against the clean

air corridors that threaten to rupture and pour
across this continent. I can’t believe that yours
is the only house in the neighbourhood without

a gun. Here, I’ve added one to your basket
you can bumper sticker this moment later
after you ride the bull/drink the whiskey/

sing a national anthem (choose one). Even
with drilled oil you can’t always get where
you want. In this town there are bus timetables

with holes so large that Lear jets are flying
through them. Lear Jets! Ave, Rex Caeli
And thank you sponsors for making every-

thing possible and also for the freedom
to choose unique flavours. Such as the Iraq.
Such as the Corona in best position i.e. inverted

and pouring itself into a margarita like a
clepsydrian apocalypse. You are personally
welcome, sir, but leave your constitutionally

monarchic ideas back in your own country.
And don’t come crying to me if some
liberal NPR-loving shyster tells you off when

your kids are noisy in a public place. Consider
this your first warning. There are people with
weird beliefs. There are decrees which we all

obey. There is a Segway like Apollo’s chariot
sliding across a white square, reminding you
to wear pants as the fountain shoots skywards.

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