The Conversation (Risen)

1 November 2012

You were climbing, when I first saw you,
down into the floor of a Fitzroy pub.
Whose grave was it, again? Your father’s?
Our Father’s? Your own? No, your shadow’s.
It was mine too. You could disappear

easily into any crowd of real or typical men,
I thought then. Over ten years on and you’re still
climbing further in, trying to live
up to the poem’s title, Risen. What are we
trying to find? Or escape? Clue – if tradesmen

really should tease us both every day,
it’s not about the obvious thoughtless reflex,
but desire, what leans out of us towards others,
suffering in their various bodies under
the wheel of the world. Forget tradesmen, I mean

anyone. Sure – I know my anyone is not yours,
but perhaps what links my hump to your square jaw
is something about women or men or
poetry’s clichés on feeling. Abstractions.
But I’m assuming when I should ask …

Back then, as you descended, I lost sight of you
behind the crowd of heads. At the time
I thought it was unfortunate – now,
it seems like a scene you keep re-enacting
in order to escape it. Like climbing

onto a stage to become invisible. What we want here
will happen by accident if we try. Because actually
I don’t know you that well, but I do
sniff flowers in Coburg. Who wouldn’t?
By the way, tell me what you mean by “team”.

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