Ashes

Owen Bullock

your Ashes to Ashes
clown costume said
this one human
can be many
 
but we learnt the catechism:
go to Uni, get a job
 
   oh you look strange in that
 
   men don’t usually wear colour
 
   you’re all the same you alternative types
   play music, act and juggle
 
   have you made up your mind yet
   whether you’re a poet or a musician?
 
instructions kept coming:
 
   can you tone it down a bit?
 
   could you please not write so much?
 
   you can’t try on her fur coat
 
till we accepted too many compromises
(innovation like a sweaty costume)
 
but some days
when we slice a few minutes off the clock
open another tab, flash up a track:
   ‘Putting out Fire with Gasoline’
   ‘Life on Mars’
   ‘Fly’
tears come streaming back
(the tears someone stole)
with the absolute knowledge
   this one human
   can be many

Owen Bullock has published poetry, haiku, tanka and fiction; most recently, Uma rocha enorme que anda à roda (A big rock that turns around), translations of tanka into Portuguese by Francisco Carvalho (Temas Originais, 2021); Summer Haiku (Recent Work Press, 2019) and Work & Play (Recent Work Press, 2017). He teaches Creative Writing at the University of Canberra. He has a website for his research: https://poetry-in-process.com/ @OwenTrail @ProcessPoetry 

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