Jal Nicholl

The Grassware Cabinet

"Politics is just a game" says Lynette, a secondary teacher randomly selected to observe her nation's political processes up close. But some must go through a stage of commitment or at least a series of flirtations gradually diminishing in seriousness, the adulterer's guilty nightsweats interrupting the normal run of events and posing a problem. Be it the mirror-image, the tree-image, the machine image or the three-in-one chimaera, "the human drama leading up to the opening of the square": it's more a display home than one for living in; and while Pygmalion's buffing up his Aphrodite, there are some who exist a block of prematurely decrepit sandstone, unfit to excite the senses or make money (with). These will always "owe [their] life to diamonds".


She plucks the nasturtium flowers from
her salad, correctly identifying
the odd-man-out in the entry test
for the accelerated program
                                                             a bouquet
of death-lilies refused
as a birthday present; a stone's affinity
for earth acknowledged an argument
for reincarnation: no less illegitimate,
verisimilitude posing as merit
disrupts your best attempt at seeming
drunk or dazed, so no one will think
of asking you for directions
                                                             or the way
it's automatically assumed that when
a miracle occurs, the outcome
must be acceptable to everyone; no,
the conclusive proof of the theory
of the trinity is found
in the whimsical response of the pagan deity
overhearing your post-Christian confession:
he repeats the formula for absolution
then runs off, sniggering,
to tell the other gods, one of whom
will use the information to drive you crazy.

Jal Nicholl's poems have appeared in various places online and in print, and are forthcoming in Arena and The Age. He is currently on a linguistic embassy to the Far East.

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