Andrew Galan is an internationally published poet and co-producer of renowned poetry event BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!. Described by reviewers as ‘riddled with satire’, his poetry is gut, direct, and imagination and reality meeting to eat and fight. Showcased at events including the Woodford, National Folk and Queensland Poetry festivals, and Chicago’s Uptown Poetry Slam, his verse appears in journals such as the Best Australian Poems, Jet Fuel Review and Cordite. That Place of Infested Roads (life during wartime) – KF&S Press, 2013 – is his first book. His latest is For All The Veronicas (The Dog Who Staid) – Bareknuckle Books, 2016.
Responding to Fireflies in the Garden
Frost, your epigram is mistaken with its parenthetical assertion critical of garden Lampyridae. Hydrogen means atomically fireflies always really are
stars at heart.
. . .
‘I will break their guitar.’ – Joan Miró, 1927
The Firefly Assassin
I read a poet writing how a poem is like a firefly trapped in a glass jar and I thought that’s a terrible metaphor you’ve imprisoned, displayed, suffocated for spectacle, interest, boredom. But I know we do it take trophies, torture, kill until many of us grow up, learn not to and my clichés are no better. So this is right, disagreeable –
let’s keep executing poetry.
. . .
The Wheelhouse with Britt Ekland (in Wheeling, West Virginia)
Sometimes Britt Ekland thought she was Catherine Deneuve photographed in underwear during her wedding with Jean-Pierre Honoré. Other times she was Norma Jeane leaning awkwardly on a fence in Hollywood’s hinterland, Andre de Dienes staging that obstinately attractive image. But Britt Ekland is ice in time and space – chill in thin cotton and in cashmere, overbite protruding flesh to make her supple sensual ceaseless pout.
One true sentence, ‘A girl in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, purple house built on crystal foundation tattooed to her right arm, she guns down paper targets lining Spring’s fresh cut lawn’. Since 1974, Britt Ekland has been Hyperborean in string, wool and staring at the past.
Though I hadn’t noticed steering, even when she’d pushed her lower spine hard against it, now I knew she sat in the captain’s chair, soft yellow bikini brief and legs spread for bare chrome supports, her green sweater stretched long passed elbows crossing as she leaned toward me, the wheelhouse was too small for Britt Ekland.
‘Danger’, starts the sign. You could see the Omelette Spot through shielding glass façade. Its owner was a Gemini, like religion that didn’t mean anything passed his pickup line and impatience to be done. With Norma Jeane a probable suicide in Brentwood. Britt Ekland had been staring through reflection, tumbling in space.
To where winter was firm hands on her face and arms, jumper and jeans kept her taut body warm. Linen flapped a cream canvas of the drying line behind. But that was Catherine Deneuve and her Parisian hair was the Grumman Tomcat patrol over every flaming carbon column set for salvage armies across the border. Buckteeth gelid in her mind, Britt Ekland had been shot through lens and framing mirror to 1967.
Ignoring kids lacing roller skates. ‘Thank You’, ends the sign. That night in Wheeling, West Virginia. While the stuffed deer head watched and the neon sign flicked, ‘Closed’- I realise this isn’t Fanelli’s Café in New York, and there’s a burnt wreck in Kuwait’s desert everyone knows and one on the I-70 into Zane interchange no one talks about. The wheelhouse wasn’t big enough for Britt Ekland as she leaned toward me.
. . .
Canberra’s Territory and Municipal Services Directorate
Morning thunders grit from a leaf blower mob of the Territory and Municipal Services sweeping up past Civic talking wall, the Master’s Voice is drowned.
Cracked imported leaves, brown McDonald’s bags, ripped Smiths packets are listed amongst refuse on the u of Ainslie Place then the length of City Walk to Garema.
Machine rumbles through chasing; driven bristles gobble ciggies, paper cups, plastic lids, serviette wings, as hot exhaust rushes tree branches over bronze dogs loping.
This is eight men, one Ute, one truck, one street eating engine, sharp like cold vintage in any season sun where they break beside the flush Canberra Times Fountain to talk and joke.
Fan force bombards tight shut eyes, hand secured ear guards, grasped facemask filters, flowing down coveralls to boots; a 7:25am ritual as by turn two men dry blast each other.
One’s uniform is out of date, he tells me, he misses waste disposal during Multicultural Festival, as it’s all contracted out now, the annual garbage piles grow to go the following day.
The mob makes way, it’ll be two hours before Parking Operations succeed their compatriots to pick over the Canberra City nightlife automobile remains.
. . .
Bruce Schneier cracks lamb leg
Bruce Schneier wants a lamb leg [point one index finger] he wants a lamb leg so bad he’s gunna drive an EM-50 Urban Assault Vehicle into Slovakia’s heartland with just John Candy [stop pointing] Bruce Schneier wants a lamb leg a lamb leg so bad he’s gunna raise John Candy from John Candy’s giant grave [punch one fist to the sky] using six slices of New York-style Manhattan Pizza and on the seventh [lower that fist] before driving into Slovakia [point] Bruce Schneier’s gunna rest [stop pointing] ‘cause Bruce Schneier wants a lamb leg, he wants a lamb leg so bad that Ilona— the leather crackin’, raven on her left shoulder perchin’, black weddin’ dress clad Queen to the last Slavic Tsar —all covered in melting cheese and having sex with her brother who’s wearing a bear suit and they’re lookin’ kind’a cuddly, like that time I saw Jodie Foster have sex with her bear-suited brother when I was ten and afterward they cuddled (at least that’s how I remember it), well [point] Ilona’s not gunna stop Bruce Schneier [wag that index finger twice] ‘cause Bruce Schneier [point] when he wants a lamb leg so bad Bruce Schneier gets a lamb leg [stop pointing] and gets his mum to bake it [sell this] with potato and sweet potato and pumpkin and carrot and onion and she boils the corn on the cob along with the peas and the beans and she makes gravy, real gravy, with the drippings to pour over everything [stop selling] and [point] Bruce Schneier eats it all [stop pointing] ‘cause he’s Bruce Schneier and Bruce Schneier [point] you know Bruce Schneier [stop pointing] and Bruce Schneier [salute and hold that salute] he knows lamb leg[silently count, one, two, and cease saluting].
. . .
© Andrew Galan