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Manoa 18.2 (2006) 40-42

Three Poems
Kevin Hart


A trip to the corner shop will take all day
But what the fuck: you need a can of Coke.
You see the air is wrinkled like your shirt
            And feet at home

With those young blokes all lounging round with beer
And a tv just chirping with the cricket,
Then there's the guy who teaches something French
            Hosing his car,

And the youngish wife outside with her long legs
And her big husband off in Singapore
For what must be his second month up there
            Doing software:

There's more to say, you know, about the booze,
The crying in the backyard late at night,
About the smell of thunder in the dark
            And that walk back.


In a bare room where light pours in from the ocean
You are still sleeping
You are still here

And nothing more happens except the sound
Of a page turning
While you sleep on [End Page 40]

The sound of a story turning and the ocean stirring
Near our thin room
With you asleep

Perhaps with the thought of a storm much later on
When you awake
In this bruised room

Two people still here perhaps with ocean light
Fragile and turning
Dark as your voice

That lives in the air and mirrors here. But look,
You are awake;
I am still here.

Lightning Words

Old almond moonlight
This summer evening:

Burnt almonds
For the tongue

Thin moonlight
For the hungry pupil

A summer
For those who want rich days

And a long, deep evening
For the soul


That terrible, strange thing

A soul
Unclenching something fierce to play

Or taking the first step, again, [End Page 41]

Into a boat without oars
With evening falling fast,

Or leaping
From a cliff, no one around,

And hoping to be gripped
Halfway down


Father of the tall bruised days of summer
And lightning words

Of the child's first step
And smack just entering her vein

Of moonlight
Over the half-stoned girl raped in the park,

His hands clamped on her wrists,
His face a fist—

Ah, the game is over, Father, so come on out
And sit awhile

And tell her something soft and slow.
I have some faith in you,

And need far more. See, there it is,
A speck that glitters in the lamp's thin light

Kevin Hart is the author of several volumes of poetry, the most recent being Flame Tree: Selected Poems (Bloodaxe, 2004). An internationally recognized critic and philosopher, he teaches philosophy at the University of Notre Dame while continuing to be part of Australia's intellectual and literary life.