At the Meringo Hotel
There’s nothing to leave at the door.
There is no door.
No writing on the wall.
Where are the walls?
No need to raise the roof.
The lack of roof proves the sun and moon,
and the cliff edge of a continent
is not so steep you can’t head your horse down it.
There’s no closing time at the Meringo Hotel.
If you want me you can always find me there.
I’m there in every weather, foam at the lip,
high pressure, low pressure, on a heavy swell,
spying through waves turning like old green glass.
There’s a rough hand, and a beer, and a dog
you can depend on at the Meringo Hotel.
Thoughts come in waves and every wave
kicks up sand it settles somewhere else
and you don’t feel the same
because of course you’re not.
Wind lifts the brim of your hat.
The clock is a length of shadow on a wet rock.
There goes your serenity, the mountain bikers yell.
Strangers raise their arms and wave. A whale
bursts the air open at the Meringo Hotel
and you wouldn’t change places
with anyone who had a face to save.
At the Meringo Hotel a white sail behaves
as if a minute were an hour, and you can’t look away.
The publican is a pelican.
A smudge of smoke drifts across.
Someone down the coast a bit is burning off.
The bush can take a singeing. That’s how you stop
the whole lot from going up, and it looks as if
the cirrus cloud has put on orange lippy,
and the sand soaked up the colours of an abalone shell.
Everything’s a mirror, and all the talk is tall as water.
The kangaroos come in around dark, and there’s a riot
when rainbow lorikeets raise hell up in the flame tree.
Cold nights, the bush TV will crackle,
and the only point to make is the next point
and the one beyond that, then the Pointers and the Cross
and distance is a stretch of sand and nothing between friends,
and things can drift a long way off so it’s just as well
this poem is the property of the Meringo Hotel.
Cally Conan-Davies lives by the Southern Ocean on the island of Tasmania. Her poems have appeared in periodicals such as The Hudson Review, Subtropics, Poetry, Quadrant, The New Criterion, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sewanee Review, Southwest Review, The Dark Horse, Harvard Review, as well as a variety of online journals.
The mummy unwound her bandages, inserted her organs, false eyes, and went out for a bite. They make lovely spinach gnocchi at Jimmy’s, she thought, and headed toward the river.
The sky was porcine, fat and pink. She wore a cardigan, sandals, and scratchy socks. She passed Monsieur Phot’s Pho, smelled lemongrass, heard moon lutes, and almost walked in, but no, Jimmy’s, the lovely spinach, the gnocchi.
She stopped to listen to a Cyclops play a tango on a cello. Her face was reflected in his wrap-around shade. She wished she had brought a sharp pair of scissors, to trim her sutures. I’m not getting any older, she thought, and tossed a dollar into his porkpie hat.
The park was filled with touch football and picnics. A pigeon was remembering the tall cliffs of east Africa. She took a soft left at the monument to the veterans of the Great Funk Wars.
All cities are translations of other cities. Here, she was still tongue-tied so she hid in the gaps between source and commentary. She liked cowls with ears, magazine subscriptions, and mongrel salukis. She preserved her essence in a Russian doll, not canopic jars.
At Jimmy’s, she sat in the courtyard and sipped a glass of red wine. A couple asked her to take their picture. Conjoined twins played Debussy. When the waiter brought Ossobuco she didn’t complain. She didn’t say a thing.
The moon is full.
The fox is full.
My burrow is half-full.
Peter Jay Shippy is the author of 4 books. The most recent is A spell of songs (Saturnalia Books). About that book, John Yau wrote, “One day, not long ago, Meret Oppenheim walked past Edward Hopper in Paris, and an electric current passed between, and from that current was born Shippy.” Twice his work has appeared in The Best American Poetry series. He teaches at Emerson College.