Unsaved  SJ Finn


She ran through the swinging doors
blood bruising her nightgown
The policewoman's eye
catching, squaring with duty.
: he's coming, the halved woman shouted
: no, the uncapped officer replied
soliloquy sweet, asylum sanguine,
: this is a police station
Yet they turned to see the doors
clapping his arrival
his hair un-muffed
his pie-face nuggetty and sure
as if the world had wronged
the wrong man and
the smile on the minds
in blue smiled as the woman
shrank and wrapped a shroud
of obdurate endurance around her
as he, her pernicious foe, was taken,
locked behind paper walls
for a moment's moment.

(The Age Newspaper - 2008)

Treading SJ Finn

Through the city with its melt-orange plume of
morning on the rise you walk the pavements until
they hum. Footsteps of others caution you into exile
as soon as a decimal moment is surpassed and the
day begins to ingratiate itself. There are many turns
you would have taken, many excavations and
librations you could have meted and catalogued
with your interest in polemics but there is the
problem of your wafer-thin skins and you have
been down too many roads already, too many
insubstantial and unaffordable enlightenments that
only crowd the head that has too little space for
anything other than the treading anymore. What
you want, what you crave, is warmth and care and
nurture to soften the staccato of your senses, to
offer a bay for your jumping-fish senses, to lull you
into a pall, into long daydreams - since daydreams
never happen anymore even though you wish them,
wish that they would take you carefully away,
lowering your ballast, your Atlas weight, the world
bearing down with impossible force, its mountains
sharp, its gulches deep (in the land of opposites it's
impossible to make a flat & undoubtable pilgrimage
anywhere except around your flat, a one room
runway indented with the pounding of your feet
and the potency of your thoughts until it too, that
nice flat parquetry floor - fake though it may be - is
curved and warped like the round of the earth and
the undulations of the mind) so that you can't know
what it is that you're supposed to do, supposed to say
so that you wind yourself into a fixed position and
move through an un-observing city until the
morning orange has drifted into a vision, a
stratospheric compendium of your existence.

(The Green Fuse, Picaro Press, 2010)

Crave  SJ Finn

on the lee side of perambulator
she's curling in her straight stick body
for what she staves off like mother's milk
as she sees a deal going down
as her eyes writhe
and there's another shock
another dark opinion of mirror
in which a girl is posturing
kicking up one hip
chuckling over nothing but a dream
the drift of spreading thoughts
and even her own baby
soundless and calm does
not tug like a want she's
clawed her way out of once already
sawn off brutally, unhooded
so that nothing is planted in her
so she's circling emancipation
weghing everything up

(The Age Newspaper - 2009)

No Returns  SJ Finn

At the checkout I stand free-associating. The suburbs
have stretched north along the stitched river matted now
with large goldfish that look as if they're lounging about
but are actually stirring up muck. Nothing so sticky but
the swath of bitumen snaking around city-standard
houses, garnished with accessories (jet-skies, tinnies, trail-
bikes) -- it's all a two-lane highway of alliances.

But something catches, Seen from an outsourced eye, her
plastered fingers, the bandage that skirts her wrist and winds
back over her knuckles, my vision travelling like a darting
skink: her face, the lush mahogany spike of hair, her thin gold
jewellery, hometown slump. Not like my kind: upright,
alternate, the tag undeniable, even after all these years.

-Hurt your hand?
(It's almost a plea having
pruned her and her life away.)
-Hurt for me.
(Voice like fire crackling. Eyes determined,
scoping and seeking, passing through the wane of
a meandering frowning forest of shoppers, her
anger straying, aimed as it is on someone other.)
-Crushed me knuckles. After
all I gave the bastard. Fifteen
years down the drain.

I swivel, someone listening, some other hybrid citizen,
denizen of reproach, arching her back, disdainful, reproofing
things and yet somehow righting them. The shuffler of my
groceries going hard, relegating items here and there in
the noisy plastic: an organising punctuated with ire.

-Hope I haven't upset you.
-I'm sporting for court. He won't
know what hit him. But then,
every doggy has their day.

Outside, strictures of sunlight vivisect the town's small town-
square. Hollowed out I walk to my car wondering about privacy,
the fact people can be shucked open, hoicked from their husk,
paraded and pirouetted, struck from the safest place. In the parking
spot I wait for a burbling family, mum and four agitating kids.
Then, knowing that balancing my mood is a highwire act - like
flame above fuel - I drift along the road, uncertain of
recriminations and even less of redemptions. I am ascending
sooner than I imagined, climbing into the foothills of The Great Divide.

(The Green Fuse, Picaro Press, 2010)