Mark Garnett: On reading Ken Bolton's Three Poems for John Forbes Or, Poem for Betty

28 November 2006

After meeting someone i kind of knew in the city
for coffee at Pellegrini's
i came home to my messy room.
On the tram i was reading
Ken Bolton's Three Poems for John Forbes
and they have made me a little low,
tho maybe mellow
or sad, or whatever…

Maybe i'm a little low
because i have not known such sadness
nor such greatness neither,
tho maybe i have
                    but we were not friends,
and
          while they're speaking to me
                                                                he isn't…

or maybe it's the coffee wearing off
(he was in the coffee shop again).

On my wall is a picture
a friend took in Spain
of a doorway
covered in graffiti,
which cannot be used,
and a sign i can't read
because it's in spanish
(i'd like to be in there somewhere).

Bianca was
                              or rather is
          or could be
                                                 or whatever,
a great artist,
                                i think
though we're not friends.

When i walked from the tram today,
back to my house and this room
where i look out over the rusty roof
at (can you believe it?)
ivy growing over the wall, i saw
“Betty”
stencilled in pink on the footpath
and thought of her.

 

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