new zealand electronic poetry centre
 

D A V I D E   T R A M E


 

Sneeze

 
Your old country home, the huge moths bumping
against the lamp on the lintel with its yellow light,
the straw mattress where you slept as a child,
and that itch in your nose before going to bed,
your sneezing in the corners, then your waking up
in the dead of night, breathing with the mouth,
fumbling among silent moths for a handkerchief
stepping barefoot on the screeching floorboards.
In the day your clogged nose as you played
and panted in the field by the hedge’s dusty gold
under the widespread silvery eye of the mountain
by the wrinkled cornstalks among shafts of dusty sunlight,
the rustling, stinging, slightly burnished bounty.
It was a god or a ghost that wished to make you burst,
to shoot maybe into the eagle’s staring hush,
as it is now here while you are on the verge of a sneeze,
eyes watering, closing, sunrise sky flashing,
stubble like a scattered debris of arrows
and rows of vines with red leaves in the haze,
scythes of God’s relentless gaze.
 
 
 


 
L’s Bar, a memory


Sparkling evenings.
Our publican always ready with our pastas
as he sees us entering, welcoming us
with his usual “Hey folks, how is it going?”
Glitter of glasses. Prosecco to the masses.
It landed on our table, delivered
by unknown hands, prompt and godly.
Then the master publican and his friends
disappeared through a door on one side
and came back one by one dancing by the beer pumps
with a glossy, starry light in their eyes.
 
And one by one we remember
all the people we met there, in the drunken hours,
smoking hand-made cigarettes after desserts of crepe suzettes,
heaps of coats piled on the lean, black chairs.
 
We stare at our glasses nearly empty,
at the thin bottom circle of red wine,
while we linger at the table after lunch
and gaze at the window, at the roofs outside,
weighing up time.
 
The fridge and the heater buzz,
our voices are fulfilled, thread after thread
the memory is woven and binds us
to what we might well only be, words glowing,
filling one of space’s infinite vacancies.
 
 


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Last updated 27 April, 2006