What Goes Up

by S. K. Kelen

The frontier spirit hardy enough to
make it through the toughest landscapes, he thinks,
sticking another swastika to the Spitfire’s side.
Circling in and there’s his orange-
headed friend strapping himself to the top
of the city’s tower to get a better view
and sing the frontier spirit.
Look: on the plains the houses are wheel-less
wagon trains & in Broken Hill a couple
happily married for thirty-odd years
quietly crosses the road
while in Wollongong a small black dog races
across the street then scratches its ear.
All over Australia roads are traversed.
Fantastic...the Bodalla apothecary checks his
watch & locks the shop, a woman emerges glowing
from Bondi’s surf as a young man splashes
open a beer can a tennis ball is served.
An electrician’s van pulls out of a sunlit
driveway but jolts to a stop its back door
kicked open from the inside, a huge
white horse gallops out into the park
someone is trying not to dream.
7 o’clock dinner is on the table
getting cold framed by twilight
but we’re in the pub listening to all this
just when a yacht’s spinnaker billows
a tulip girl skates on an irrigation canal
Woof! up go the balloons & the Spitfire
flies out of the sun.

S. K. Kelen's picture

S. K. Kelen is a widely published Australian poet. His most recent books are Goddess of Mercy (Brandl & Schlesinger, 2002), and Earthly Delights (Pandanus Press, 2006)

Last updated July 20, 2011