Academic journal article Antipodes

Guest-House

Academic journal article Antipodes

Guest-House

Article excerpt

I've rented this room for a night and day. Come in:

an 1880's terrace house in a lace fichu; across the street,

her counterpart looks back through half-closed lids,

and behind that guarded gaze is the double of this room-

the same fireplace right opposite the door,

perhaps an identical wardrobe, late Victorian,

and, on the other side of the bed, this same mirror, Art Deco.

Through the high arched windows,

Boyce Street is a double spread evenly ruled by Venetian blinds.

Alone at last. In an airy space seeded with yesterday

-it's the Heisenberg escape,

so still in a random place that who becomes where.

Sit down in this Raj cane chair, be no-one for a while

since later we'll both go home to some fake claim,

the absurd sent on from an old address

-some bank statement, say, from a closed account:

Monte dei Paschi di Siena (Banca dal 1472):

100,000 Euros moving monthly in and out,

an exactitude of what. But where to, from whom, why?

Mafia payments, money-laundering, terrorist funds?

For now, the only transfer is the scent

of seagrass matting, lilies and cedarwood;

you can almost smell the tannin in this teacup crack

remembering high plantations in Assam.

The large white globe that hangs from the ceiling rose

is a kindly prophecy, a century of arrested fall.

Can you believe this huge existence trembles on and off

so only memory holds us here

at the interval edge by random sparks-dragonflies, ferns,

candle flames, nectarines, cats; San Gimignano in winter sun,

five old men sitting along a wall; Jacob's smile through sadness,

sweet as a river in a landscape; the belly muscles

of young boys, ladder rungs from pubis to heart? …

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