Mark and Lars
Wind and rain, and sometimes pigeonshit in your eyes
when Sydney's trains had doors you could wrench open,
with guards taking your false name and telling you
to pull your head in.
Going over the harbour,
you had to watch the pylons — they made a whip
of air as they came at you, but Mark slapped one,
tagging grey steel, and left his finger
like a white finch perched on a rivet.. At least
that's how I imagined it, walking back with him
over the bridge next morning, a red blur of absence
seeping through the end of his bandage,
but no finger, not even a smear on the pylon
to tell what had happened.
And years later,
older but still reckless, imagination packed it in
when my sad mate Lars lost his head
on the Western Suburbs line, misjudging the space
between two speeding trains — a sound like
a deflated football being booted, and Lars
falling back through the door, the original punk
graffitist, spraying the inside of the carriage.
And drunk, we assisted him, throwing up our guts
and hearts, crying for help and Jesus, spinning
the brake-wheel like we'd always promised,
the sparks and guards leaping out into the dark.
On Toongabbie station I looked through a crowd
of emergency people — Lars was laid out weirdly
in his black duffel-coat, the collar turned up hugely;
mad Lars, who'd have said Whoever finds nay noggin
they'd better take care of the bastard.
From The Darkwood Aquarium (Penguin, 1993), © Anthony Lawrence, used by permission of the author. The recording is taken from Flying Low in the Minor Key (River Road Press, 2011) © Anthony Lawrence/River Road Press, 2011