Up and Down the River

Up and Down the River


Tides of clandestine force drag the great brown ribbon

In a diurnal dance over a rolling world

Water hyacinth embroider the surface as if a woman

Squinting in the sultry sunlight had stabbed her needle in and out, in and out

Clumping green nonsense along the moving weft and weave of the wide band.

Morning moves it left evening moves it right, a conveyor belt of water

Pushed and pulled by the calm circulation of moon and tides

Divides the diners on one bank from the workers on the other.

On the river’s edge we eat and drink

A sample of human tribes under the flame trees

With ardent red candles held up to the monsoon sky

Here clouds stack impossibly high

peaking white with light somewhere near God

Dragonflies zizz and zap above the bank their eyes seeing us in millions,

Like human dong, the ridiculous currency of this place.


On the next table four people sit.

She hovers over one, lithe and young against his livered skin.

He impresses her with Snapchat and laughs hoarse as a gander,

A Don Corleone to this little skimmer, oohing over his talk of casinos

And sailing on Sydney Harbour in his yacht.

She has dived and scooped up a golden future with her wide young mouth

And sits like a gannet on his fortune

With a snort another guy gets going, hips locked, tendons tight

From too many years thrusting and lying afterwards

A balding chimpy man, his nads swing in his shorts as he rolls away

Under the flame tree whose candles burn not for him

down to the pontoon of cast aways

where desires rock in the soft caress of the water hyacinths

drifting in verdant islands towed by a force greater than any man’s dreams.




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