Stu Hatton


a dented sun rises late,
knits a dim music,
knocks off

& you are slipping,
the over-fed letterbox attests

while in your punctured arm
turns some other cosmos,
conflict-averse … ‘a dead rubber’

(until the room wears off)

through a crack in the realm,
the luxury disinformation, though,
you begin to see
you could lose everything that chirps within your orbit

or for the sake of mild embarrassment
a swarm of vendors
may crown you customer of the hour,
perk you into a sneezing fit

& just as the newly-dead shove 
towards the gaze of the cameras

the netted trees
will still abscond
to claw what’s left of the sky

the uncontested

‘Presumably our bed—our loyal bed—
did not blacken itself … ?’

& we find ourselves
‘barely a step ahead of 
being a step behind’ …


But we still have Saturday
to set ourselves
the sweetest of traps

& ‘the issue’s not
money,’ says money—


‘Though a mind is never
entirely occupied, is it?
Until it submits to propping up 
a flaccid tent of lies …’


In the dream, they are making water
but again it clots & over-sweetens

They must squander their pleasure
& start again


To overstay a welcome:

Ambushed by ‘something almost true’
that slipped out of us

& then to seek any oblivion—


See what speaking
has bought:

‘Tomorrow will name
its guilty reward’


‘As if we’d ever hide a thing 
from you, stubborn old clock!’


But latecomers may be convinced

by sips of daylight that blag their way
through a window

as I wade out of the bed 
to let you wake

a severed head

Muter than ever,
you watch from your mask,

knowing little of the law,
                                               let alone 
the wiles of a dubious moon.


‘You’d best not upset them,’ Mother had said—
the praising men engrossed 
                                                     in their deep-held game.

‘And be wary of those who, with a stammer, 
say they want nothing to do with desire.’


But even as thousands jumped the turnstiles,
the creaking vision backed away,

& again, amongst the throng’s telling eyes, you failed 
to recognise your own gaze.


That the future-teller’s yurt 
had worn a wreath of fairy lights
seemed unremarkable enough.

But the fact you’d chosen ‘The Explainer’?— 
                                                                           the card 
showed hands spread in a didactic gesture.


And yet ‘there is nothing to explain’
when, in the grip of the game,
the darkness holds its shape.

Observe, for example, the schoolkids 
pointing, sniggering 
                                      at the head
that bobs in the brown, foamy creek.

Stu Hatton is a writer/editor who lives on unceded Dja Dja Wurrung country in Victoria, Australia. He's currently preparing his third poetry collection, entitled In the Not-too-distant Present.
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