Damen O'Brien πŸ”ˆ

Wynnum North Foreshore

This is a bacon day, a cutlery morning,
clattering through the bitter aromas of coffee.
Cars circle, growling for the only car park,
and the ibises acquisitively eye the remains of brunch.

Out on the climbing frame, burnished with sun cream,
the spider monkeys chatter and play at being children.
Pastel happiness, scootering and pramming, shifts
ice cream and soft drinks from one pier to another.

The sea flattens out to the cramping, gasping distance
of dim immensities, scattered whitecaps and
the shark-toothed and fey sails of whimsical sailboats
penciling in the horizon and getting it wrong.

This is a quicksand heaven. Where are we all
promenading to, with our grinning dogs, our
kitted out hybrid bikes, our 5km public exercise trails?
Generating first world problems and service industries.

The council man with his huge blood-handled bolt cutters
prevaricating over the blown jaundice of tinnitus
public toilet bulbs. The clever slogans draped
over bikinis: read them sidelong but do not get caught.

There is a woman crying in the car next to mine.
I see her sob into her hands, like someone in a movie,
then read her phone and sob, staring at this chocolate wrapper day.
Does she see the same gory wonderful through her windscreen?

The migrating mangroves, the swelling shoreline,
the great place to kiss, crack a tinny, crack your
knee open doing jumps off the public benches,
scratching WOT CRAP R YUZ with the screen door keys.

This is the slaughterhouse lands zipped together, the bomb
shrapnel machined back into the whole, the Vitamin D
deficiency padding up to an in-swinger in the park day.
O flay me here with the seagull’s picked paper cup chips.

From Wynnum North foreshore, I can watch
the end of days come rolling in with the jostling clouds,
I can see Ragnarok blazing like the afternoon sun, and
the soft-serve clouds, and the Mr. Whippy Van apocalypse.

All of the scrappy dog-turd beaches, flashing in the last light,
and angel choirs lugging sloshes of crabs and undersized snappers,
this sluiced and scaled coastline, and all coastlines ending,
and tomorrow, and tomorrow, the world ends just as today.

Author Reading

About the Author

Damen O’Brien is a multi-award-winning Australian poet, including the Moth Poetry Prize and the Peter Porter Poetry Prize. Damen has been published in journals around the world including Skylight 47, Poetry Wales, Touchstone Literary Review and Rabbit. Damen’s first book of poetry, Animals With Human Voices, was published in 2021 through Recent Work Press.