The houses those suburbs could afford
were roofed with old savings books, and some
seeped gravy at stitches in their walls;
some were clipped as close as fury,
some grimed and corner-bashed by love
and the real estate, as it got more vacant,
grew blady grass and blowfly grass, so called
for the exquisite lanterns of its seed,
and the land sagged subtly to a low point,
it all inclined way out there to a pit
with burnt-looking cheap marble edges
and things and figures flew up from it
like the stones in the crusher Piers had
for making dusts of them for glazes:
flint, pyroclase, slickensides, quartz, schist,
snapping, refusing, and spitting high
till the steel teeth got gritty corners on them
and could grip them craw-chokingly to grind.
It’s their chance, a man with beerglass-cut arms
told me. Those hoppers got to keep filled. A girl,
edging in, bounced out cropped and wrong-coloured
like a chemist’s photo, crying. Who could blame her
among in-depth grabs and Bali flights and phones?
She was true, and got what truth gets.
Les Murray, “Blowfly Grass” from Subhuman Redneck Poems. Copyright © 1997 by Les Murray. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, www.fsgbooks.com. All rights reserved. Caution: Users are warned that this work is protected under copyright laws and downloading is strictly prohibited. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.
Source: Learning Human
(Farrar Straus and Giroux, 1998)