Patrick O'Donohue

Patrick O’Donohue was born in Brisbane on November 7, 1951. He lives in Adelaide in a little Housing Trust duplex with his dog, Lulu (see photo). Sometime soon, he will marry Clare, his sweetheart. Due to health problems, he doesn’t have a job and subsists courtesy of Centrelink. Except for the Friendly Street Readers, he remains widely unpublished. Like
many poets, he’s managed to fail beautifully.

Beating Time in a Gothic Space

The violence of the world
misses a pulse
in the apprehended silence
of a candle going, going out
in this high place of smoke and stone
lifted from space-time’s blown shout
brittling bones and corrupting brains
until death’s long pause from thought
or short, because it’s the point of nought.
In this night hour past bird talk
the sleeping pigeons
lay silled against leadlight
sure of dawn’s storm of light
which will blast the glass
of stilled heroic forms
tooled for an age
when stories were told on flat eyes
gorgeous in their vent of air
in their sun-jewelled mime
in their fish rills of dreamed skies.
In a nanosecond, long enough for this poem,
I feel terribly awake
like the time before I was born.
A child in her Easter best
lights another candle
above the massed wax of prayer
as the darkness shrinks
before the impossible logic
of our one great boast.

From Friendly Street No. 23

Sky High

Floating in a deep sun
of octopus pollen
with my right foot
stuck in my throat
I drifted past the spent bricks
of Japan’s wired tourists
vocalising ideograms
in a wave of hot talk
from the invisible rays
of a red dot sun
stark in war’s lost arms.
Adelaide’s jacarandas
(those sanctuaries of purple air)
were disappearing into a sky
someone had written upon.
In disassociation or art bliss
I felt the blue’s invading hue
dissolving my sense of who
seeping into my veins of empire
giving me a taste of silence
and a yen for end of questions
but for an answer to WHY.

From Friendly Street No. 23

Sleep Precepts

(diving to Deep City’s precincts)

The second law of thermodynamics doesn’t always
                                                have the last say –
be that as it may,
it’s time to fall to reefs of coral stinging night,
to fish yak and ghosts who boo to leprosy,
to the trenches of octopus jokes,
to the sandweed singing below currents’ whoosh,
to organised chaos, where small things
                                                have big repercussions,
to the place where electricity is an idea with no
                                                reference point,
to the dark where a squid is an archangel,
to the place of art weightlessness
                                                where language fails,
to the place of mines and sailors’ skull-wails,
to the place of pieces-of-eight and oyster caresses,
to the kisses of pearls and blessed ashes,
to Judy’s ashes salting the sea breeze,
to Judy’s prayer of heroin tuna,
                                                where the moon
is your pillow, and stars are your eyes,
where every scheme is dreamt past its power,
where lies are impossible –
where all the mirrors are smashed,
and smoke is a thought formed
only in the eye-waked light of named essences,
formed in the day of an arbitrary concept.
From Friendly Street No. 25