from Deadly Pollen

If streets had cobblestones
blood would flow in tatters – torn
flags to a revolution lost. Streets
smoothly ease to drains. The cut deep,
and blood wakes from its blackness,
crushed as berries in the runnels
of a wagon, oozes its oil from
the body¹s casket – til flesh becomes
porcelain, perfect surface for moon,
ice, the glass-edged sky to play upon;
in silences deep as birch in the
bayoneting dark – and leaves finally
resemble paper money piled up
under the turbined lamplight.

A Public Works draughtsman
spent thirty years designing the City
Sewerage Reticulation System
he eventually hoped to escape through –
a masterpiece! A prairie dog would
have been proud of it. Complex of
accented runs, angles, drops, sluices,
pumps, ditches, endless unbowed
archways, treatment ponds breaking into
sunlight – the architects of Athens
would have been proud of it.
Only on paper – not one trowel lifted!
miles and miles and miles of it.

Stephen Oliver is the author of six major collections of poetry. His recent collection, Night of Warehouses: Poems 1978-2000, covers five volumes of poems and spans two decades. A poetry chapbook, "Deadly Pollen", is to be published by Word Riot Press in 2003. Recent work taken for Alba, Catalyser Journal, Comet, Snow Monkey, Failbetter, San Francisco Salvo, Kitchen Sink, Pemmican, Get Underground, Comrades, Can We Have Our Ball Back? Illuminations, Omega, Orbis, Peshekee River Poetry, Prague TV, storySouth, etc. Forthcoming: a CD of poems titled, "King Hit" Selected Readings— written and read by Stephen Oliver to original music composed by Matt Ottley, for international release. Stephen is a transtasman poet and writer who lives in Sydney.