hobart logo

February 7, 2020 Poetry

Two Poems

Alex Gallagher

Two Poems photo

take a lemon

the world feels less and less familiar most days
sometimes it is difficult to identify where i truly am
sometimes it is a challenge not to let the ugly parts
infiltrate the joyous & horrific task
of choosing to stay alive
again & again & again

when you figure out what it is you cherish
you ought to protect it with claw and beak and bone
you ought to protect it more than you do yourself
every morning say i value love”
and pretty soon you will be an unstoppable force

i am learning how to stay alive slowly and with intent
take a lemon off the tree and eat it like an orange
plant your feet in the soil and give yourself to it

unsubscribe from the chaos machine for a minute
and refuse to let the circular speak of tyrants
erode your belief in what is unflinchingly good

when you figure out what it is you cherish
you ought to let it wash over you without fear
this is the worst possible time to be a coward
when there’s so very much at stake

every morning say “i value love”
and pretty soon
you will

disaster tourism

i am desperate to be absolved
of this crime i cannot remember
yet have been paying for my whole life
with each apology i have since recanted

closely observe your own disappearance
draw one sharp circle in the centre of your skin
and watch itself project through an infinite tunnel
a familiar image on a disintegration loop

my body is a soft machine
i am always sifting through for evidence
to find some cosmic documentation
amongst this conjectural galaxy i’ve built

it’s a mysterious and decadent town
with a terrible and sexy secret
a grand palatial estate
in the dead centre of the bermuda triangle

it’s an abandoned fairground
where every ferris wheel blazes in glory forever
while still offering the best views imaginable
archival footage of ruined buildings
that maintain a powerful elegance nonetheless

and there’s something to be said
about a paradise paved in hell
but given the choice i’d rather take the crash site
one carefully builds from the ground up

the well-functioning city one meticulously plans
only to submerge leagues below the sea
this place is made for disaster tourism
and business is simply thriving


image: Aaron Burch