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Sonnets for ’58

’58, the year he’d come a thousand miles.
From post Olympic Melbourne
setting new records for broken homes,
babies began to boom.
The beaut Asian wore pink socks, spoke
great English, knew her brandy-lime-and-soda,
read Das Kapital in secret.
Her mentor the opium professor
got himself fired by the embassy of correctness,
qualified as Best Man and wrote a novel.
The year Dad fell in love at the Victory Monument
the Generals burned the pipes,
the year of the bantamweight champ
of nineteen fifty eight.


She dreamt of long journeys, by ship & caravel
to the birthplace of Marco Polo
the chalets of joie de vivre
the mansion of savoir faire.
she woke around sunset, bicycled the black canals
& headed for the fairy lights, Pat Pong.
She became his precious object, a waiting game
when war was cold and recreational.
After the last tête à tête Uncle Ho had said
there was no turning back, when she engaged,
the ship tied up, weighed anchor
in measureless fathoms of mud, from which
the gorgon’s knot of water hyacinth
grew such pink & purple flowers.

3 Golfing News

Who were the other men, & and why should we know?
Father’s Agfachrome plots a mystery,
the bikini dream sipping champagne
from a silver golf trophy.
A dark haired banker with good quads
by her side, not touching the merchandise.
Neither posed, nor casually exact
as the compose, then tilt, then veer away
from text book convention.
Well, I like the way the bikini’s frilled
& Dad’s out of the picture
like an inferred God
taking this, as usual, before I was born.
All that ’fifties Adam & Eve stuff.


Her sister, my aunt, Head Matron
at the anti-venin unit in Wireless Road
took her by the hand.
Remember me, sister.
They stood by the flared throats
of bronze King Cobras
sunbaking in concrete pits
that stank of piss and reptilian self-loathing.
Older Sis was one for pills:
Here, take these, and remember – hygiene.