Green Rose In The Night

Somewhere out there in the marathon of night

With gum branches rattling an occasional offload of rain

I cracked the code

Like splitting the DNA of the green rose

In the middle of the night:

She’s the only woman I’ve known who doesn’t want

To be somebody else

If that sounds hard and sooty, like a blackened iron slab

Like a barbecue plate left out in the rain

Then so it is, as I recall the others who always had a friend

Whom they wanted to be:

A taller, louder girl who would buy up the merlot red wine

The endless takeaway Thai curries

And all taxis charged to a work account

Some gutsy girl in slightly oversized high heels

Maybe with a nice glass table and a flabby beta male

The so-called intelligentsia boyfriend

(Though from a working class background, therefore

As the girl was always rapidly reminding everyone:

Charmingly self-doubting)

With a decent little career of his own in academia or

The union movement, or the academic union movement

Wearing the hip black specs

Nice enough bloke

Nice like biscuits from a supermarket

Getting taxis everywhere – they never seemed to walk anywhere

By contrast, I was the drunken Leopard Boy

From some long-forgotten circus

And I walked everywhere, in cheap sneakers

Often with green bottle

For the life of me, I don’t know why those others bothered

Confused escapism, or faith in something normative, I don’t know

But boy did they get it wrong

Anyway, they were alright, those friends of theirs

Generous with the wine and curries

But they were like wooden boats too big for mantelpieces

I’d reckon they might have dimmed somewhat now, and for the better

Cockiness is exhausting


Short of furtively wanting the lives of their friends, then others were

Loaded up with EXPECTATIONS like arrows of many-coloured feathers

I know something about that sort of thing myself

And Expectations MEAN wanting to be someone else

. . . . .


That’s not you

You have no heroes

(Not counting those cheerful sweet dwarves we met

Or that homeless rambler with the shining eyes

Or those wicked old gals who are always waving at you)


Will Swan


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