S. K. Kelen


1996: watching the news on a TV at the airport
(worse than the dark days of Febuary and libary)
Even air changed, felt soggy, people spoke a new tongue,
dropping r from words. On TV the newly-minted
opposition leader said he was 'bought up' with values
and the newsreader crossed to a live 'boadcast' of Pine 
Minister 'beefed' by his department.'  The airport food 
tasted like tyre burnouts and everyone mumbled 
as if the letter r never existed, people were friendly
but their eyes were harder than they had been.
Things were bright-coloured, shiny with swagger
the daytime sky was darker blue you sat still, the 
universe was shifting, speech abbeviated. Today,
smiley emoji augur a new world, its decline begun
when 'r' vanished from the tongue.  


Dear ______, thank you, life is spinning out of control
the cat tore the voodoo doll you sent to pieces —
no fear of toys or superstition here! 
and then vicious emails arrived like stalkers 
started to get nasty. The private detective 
you had follow me came in handy and
took care of (punched out) the roaring psycho
haranguing the shoppers and school kids 
at the shopping centre after he screamed at me
about my dog sitting with me at the cafe.
The afternoon descended into action comedy
but at sunset the red Belconnen sky
was numinous and, full of hope,
embraced the busy surface of the earth.

Master of War

Master Sun Tzu, say something before
it is too late and you are punished for 
beheading two concubines favoured by Helu 
the King of Wu, as proof in practice of your theories.
No wise saying. Hold the monarch with your stare, reading 
from your treatise will cleanse his mind and disperse 
his anger like a confused enemy. Shaken and sickened Helu 
is impressed nevertheless. Purity of purpose won 
you the job, the King of Wu will take up his ink and paper 
calm his soul sketching snow, leaf, a flight of cranes, 
red magnet spear, fish, dragon, cricket, tiger, a card 
is thrown and turned over: Sun Tzu the writer is a General.
Two new favourite courtesans are anointed
and lessons have been taught and learned.

S. K. Kelen is an Australian poet who has been writing longer than he cares to 
remember. He lives in a city where the reserves and parklands are inhabited by kangaroos, 
wallaroos, echidnas and many kinds of beautiful parrots and other wonderful animals. 
His most recent books are A Happening in Hades (Waratah, NSW: Puncher & Wattmann 
2020), and Love’s Philosophy (Summer Hill, NSW: Gazebo Books 2020)
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Blogger Greg Bell said...

Deft, dry, & enjoyable.

4:12 AM  

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