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Two poems by Donald Parenzee

Sleep (for Megan}

In the dream Megan and I were sleeping
on the stoep of a shop on the main road
under one grey woollen blanket. It was morning
not cold, comfortable. I thought let’s go into
the house upstairs, but she said no Dad
I’m warm here. She was right of course
even without the mattress. Those days
we could be comfortable anywhere.

No public opinion, maybe. Warm on the inside.
We could easily slip the time zones.
One other time we went to thornton rd
to watch the crowds. Spectacular siege
of Sinton students one morning the police
teargassed every one, and we ran but
she was always safe in time and space
never too distant. There were days, even weeks
we wouldn’t see each other. They
were like unbroken music; for a long time.

Then came the dark period, call it night
call it memory, or a journey, a birthing and again one,
years of packing and unpacking; multi-coloured
clothing, the growth of many houses, huge
maturation of cities and satellite populations.
In sleep now there’s often a man, always clothed
and we argue. Two nights ago we fought.
I strangled him. The songs are coming back.


Beach (for Leiga)


The pull of the wash, the wind at your head, the sea calls
in a sheer voice that tips Big Bay like a blue glass plate,
twirls everything for one moment, lovely
plate on a fingertip, spinning the day,
the long mountain with its urban scratchings,
the whole edge of this place,
even these major commercial developments
behind the dunes, come blurring past my right ear

at gentle speed; this power
I can concede, this
shameless kind of life.

Only the boats, tankers, vacant cargo carriers,
blocky liners and little sails, accents, rests,
keep to their lines out there, I could probably write
a lightweight piece for guitar in that space
if I had the music.

We walk back
against the wind, the hard sandgrains

like grease on the skin,
must be some oil
in the air, but then again

perhaps just
sunblock number 3
for you,
Vaseline Intensive Care
for Men, for me.

All dogs look like Snoopy (the Red Baron)
in this wind. We weave along
avoiding the edge, bow to the sand,

there’s a graded order here,
such an easy transition from ultrafine to raw
as they dry and stiffen when the wave retreats
and these smooth dark pearly grey
stones inviting desire, yearn to be chosen,
carried home to the garden, perfect
for the human hand.