new zealand electronic poetry centre


Martin Edmond

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


West-bound Train

The dawn wind clacks the palms. Crows on carved ledges of the sandstock spire of the church scream Faaarrrkkk! Faaarrrkkk! Vapour trails in the pale sky beyond. A white rabbit noses among the purple dahlias across the road then hops slowly back up the drive of the apartment block. It’s too early for the commuters to be going to the station, though the trains are running. This time of day, they always sound as if they’re coming here from my childhood before rattling away west towards old age and death. I only ever seem to hear the west-bound trains, probably because they go through on this side of the tracks. It’s always quiet for a bit after one passes. The spire looks white and bony this morning. Last night when I was sitting out here watching Orion settling towards the horizon, it was black, somehow admonitory, a summoning finger pointing skyward. I can’t recall what denomination worships there. Anglican, perhaps. I’ve heard them singing. Churches are locked these days when there isn’t a service in progress. Tough if you’re seeking sanctuary. Not that I am. One of the pomegranates has burst. The bird of paradise is flowering. That pink hibiscus bloom will not last the day. Quiet street for stories … that was JB. He’s gone west now. Lud and Blackspot too. Funny how I still hear their voices in my head. Even talk back to them sometimes. Another train goes through. Out east there are thunderheads, flotillas of them, but there’ll be no miracle rain today. JB would have had the street telling the story. He made everything sing: streets, lamp posts, taxis, even Luna Park. That guy in the cab the other night called three or four times on his mobile within ten minutes. Each time he said, so softly: Where are you? And then gave his location, in detail. Perhaps they were two lovers on convergent vectors, heading for an assignation; but I thought he was talking to god, checking their relative positions vis-a-vis each other. He was a Christian, no doubt, they have a way of thanking you so sincerely. What is the story? Or should I ask, is there a story? The trains go west with their complements of souls. The wind blows from the sun. The crows leave the steeple and flap this way, croaking to each other. Vapour trails dissipate, turning into long thin clouds lumpy like intestines. Now the skinny bronze wasps come to hover over the jade trees or settle on the ripening fruit of the palms. Now is forever. And a day.


Last updated 17 October, 2006